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Allegheny Wilderness Support Tops 400,000

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 By Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Contact
September 2, 2008

Pittsburgh, PA – Popularity just keeps growing for an Allegheny wilderness proposal. More than 400,000 Americans are represented in signing on to the "Citizens' Wilderness Proposal," which would designate nearly 55,000 acres of the Allegheny National Forest as wilderness. Two groups recently joined more than 35 other organizations in favor of the plan.

The Susquehanna Trail Club is one of the latest. Club president Wil Ahn says, "I have supported wilderness areas for years. I just would like to see more wilderness set aside, for our generation and future generations."

Hugh Rogers, president of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, says his group - also a new supporter - is reaching across the state line to help.

"It's close by, similar habitat to what we're used to and similar terrain - all the good things about leaving some part of the National Forest alone."

Kirk Johnson with Friends of Allegheny Wilderness says more support is pouring in every week, especially since Congress has passed several wilderness bills this year.

"The momentum of this campaign, and the commitment of our supporters, is building so rapidly that it has virtually taken on a life of its own at this point."

It will be up to Congress to approve the federal wilderness designation, and a legislative proposal is in the works. Those against such a move are concerned about the impact on the forest products industry.

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