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Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

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Happy 45th to Wilderness Act

August 27, 2009

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - On Sept. 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed groundbreaking legislation that guaranteed future generations would be able to use and enjoy the nation's wilderness areas. Forty-five years later, more than 109 million acres have been designated and preserved under the Wilderness Act.

Jeff Hunter with the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition says while logging, road building and motorized recreation are not permitted in wilderness areas, plenty of activities are allowed, including hunting, fishing, backpacking and hiking. He says Tennesseans need to speak up if they want additional land designated as wilderness in the state, since the decisions are in the hands of Congress.

"There is one simple thing people can do, and that's express to their elected federal officials their concern and their desire to see wilderness expand."

The U.S. Forest Service is recommending another wilderness area for Tennessee, Hunter says, in addition to land in the Cherokee National Forest and the Big Frog Wilderness area.

"In the southern districts of the Cherokee Forest, south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they have actually recommended a stand-alone wilderness area that is nearly 10,000 acres: the Upper Bald River Wilderness."

Hunter points out that the 100 million acres preserved nationwide as wilderness only account for five percent of America's land mass. He adds that the U.S. loses roughly 6,000 acres of open space every day to development.



Dick Layman, Public News Service - TN