Alexander, Corker Introduce Bill to Designate Tennessee Wilderness

Legislation Would Preserve 6 areas totaling 19,556 Acres in Cherokee National Forest

Posted on June 9, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today introduced the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 that would designate six different areas totaling 19,556 acres as wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest.  These areas were recommended for wilderness status by the U.S. Forest Service in the development of its comprehensive 2004 forest plan and have been managed as Wilderness Study Areas since that time (a map of the proposed wilderness areas within the Cherokee National Forest can be found below).

“I grew up hiking in the mountains of East Tennessee and know firsthand that these beautiful landscapes should be preserved for generations to come,” Alexander said.  “The bill we are introducing today is an important step in conserving some of the most pristine areas in Tennessee and will strengthen the legacy of Tennessee’s natural heritage.”

“We are blessed in East Tennessee with God-given amenities and an unparalleled natural environment, and the Cherokee National Forest is a prime example,” Corker said. “I thank Senator Alexander for his lifelong commitment to protecting scenic wilderness areas and am proud to join him in this effort to preserve Cherokee National Forest for future generations of Tennesseans and Americans to enjoy.”

Congress began protecting wilderness areas in the Cherokee National Forest in 1975, with additional wilderness areas being established by the Tennessee Wilderness Acts of 1984 and 1986. 

The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 specifically creates one new wilderness area and expands the boundaries of five separate existing wilderness areas already within the Cherokee National Forest. Since these areas are owned entirely by the U.S. Forest Service and are being managed as Wilderness Study Areas currently, this bill will have no effect on privately owned lands and will cause no change in access for the public.

The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010:

  • Creates the 9,038 acre Upper Bald River Wilderness (Monroe County)
  • Adds 348 acres to the Big Frog Wilderness (Polk County)
  • Adds 966 acres to the Little Frog Wilderness (Polk County)
  • Adds 2,922 acres to the Sampson Mountain Wilderness (Washington and Unicoi County)
  • Adds 4,446 acres to the Big Laurel Branch Wilderness (Carter and Johnson County)
  • Adds 1,836 acres to the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness (Monroe County)

A map of the Cherokee National Forest, including the new proposed wilderness areas, can be found below. 

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