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Call of the Wild: Allegheny Wilderness Plan Scrutinized

April 11, 2008

Parker Dam State Park, PA – The call of the wild is bi-partisan, but it takes hard work and perseverance to make it heard where it counts. Those who want to see the Citizens' Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest become law will review the history of successful wilderness plans during a conference this weekend at Parker Dam State Park.

Doug Scott with the Campaign for America's Wilderness will be a speaker at the Allegheny Wilderness Conference. He has helped shepherd dozens of wilderness plans through Congress since he worked on passage of the original Wilderness Act in 1964. He says it's not only the "usual suspects" who are interested in seeing land preserved.

"We are seeing lots of wilderness proposals being put forward by chambers of commerce, county commissioners, business leaders."

The Allegheny National Forest wilderness proposal would set aside about 54,000 acres, including current roadless areas. Areas designated as wilderness remain open to the public for hunting, fishing and recreation. However, the designation does limit tree harvesting and other types of resource extraction--limitations that critics of wilderness status see as harmful.

Scott says setting land aside always has been a bi-partisan idea.

"There were Republicans and Democrats championing that bill right from the first--in 1956, when it was first put before Congress, and all through the eight years it took to pass through Congress."

More information about the conference, which ends Sunday, is available at

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - PA