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Virginians Have Their Say on "Public Lands Day"

September 26, 2008

Richmond, VA - Tomorrow is "Public Lands Day" across the country, and in Virginia there are plenty of events planned to enjoy the Commonwealth's natural treasures. One of them is also a rare opportunity to be involved in the future of a major Virginia national forest.

Nathan Lott, with the Virginia Conservation Network, says right now the USDA Forest Service is revising its 15-year management plan for George Washington National Forest. He suggests that tomorrow would be a very good opportunity to see the forest's wild areas first-hand and then tell the fed that they're worth protecting.

"This plan is the public's opportunity to speak up and say that we should have just a few places, just a few ridgetops in Virginia, that don't have any roads, that don't have any logging, that don't have any cell phone towers on them--that are true wilderness areas."

Lott says public lands are important, and what happens on those lands shapes life for many communities in Virginia.

"Public lands affect their economic well-being; what happens on those lands may affect their environment and their quality of life. To simply make people aware of these resources is important."

A complete list of the more than 30 events planned around Virginia on Public Lands Day is at http://publiclandsday.org.

Comments may be submitted to the forest service online right now. A formal public comment period will begin when a draft of the plan is released. More information on the forest plan revision can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us.

Eric Mack/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - VA