Action AlertMay 29th, 2014
Georgia ForestWatch Needs
Your Help!
Comment on the Cooper Creek Watershed Project Today!

The Forest Service has proposed an enormous timber sale in and around the Cooper Creek watershed in the Blue Ridge Ranger District of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Much of this so-called "Cooper Creek Watershed Project" is really a disguised timber project that targets some of the oldest oak stands in the watershed and doesn't promote forest health.


Please comment on the Cooper Creek Watershed Project and make your concerns known to the Forest Service. Specific concerns on this aggressive project include:

  • Of the approximately 3,500 acres proposed to be cut or heavily "thinned", over 1,500 acres include stands dominated by 100+ year-old healthy oaks. The Forest Service is proposing to cut some of the best examples of mature, healthy oak forests on rich sites.
  • Acorns produced by these mature oaks are some of the most important food sources for wildlife.
  • Some of the oldest stands may include rare patches of old growth forests (or are likely candidates), and these should be protected. The Forest Service has proposed to essentially clear-cut 205 acres of some of the oldest, healthiest oak stands (average age = 112 years old) that possibly meet the Forest Service's definition of old growth, all in the name of creating early successional habitat for wildlife. While some wildlife species benefit from early successional habitat, there are more appropriate (younger) stands available for creation of this habitat, rather than cutting forests that have taken over a century to develop. Proper, thorough field surveys for old growth should be done, and all existing growth should be protected.
  • Some of the areas to be cut harbor rare spring ephemerals such as yellow lady slippers, blue cohosh and trilliums. These lush, sensitive sites must be protected.
  • Much of the proposed heavy "thinning" - logging up to half the existing forest cover - is proposed on steep slopes that are highly inappropriate for commercial timber harvest.
  • Over 1,900 acres of logging is proposed in the watershed of Cooper Creek and several tributaries. These waters support native Southern Appalachian brook trout that depend on clear, cool water.
  • The Forest Service should avoid negative impacts to scenic beauty and hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor recreation in this rugged area, which is located between the Cooper Creek Scenic Area and the Coosa Bald National Scenic Areas. Over 2,300 acres of commercial logging are proposed on both sides of Duncan Ridge and around the Duncan Ridge Trail.

Georgia ForestWatch will submit substantive comments on the project, but the Forest Service needs to hear your voice, too. We need your help in saving these old, majestic forests. The scoping can be found on the Forest Service's project website here.


Please send written comments by June 6, 2014, to:


District Ranger Andrew L. Baker

2042 Highway 515 West

Blairsville, GA 30512


or submit electronic comments in an email message or plain text, rich text, or Word format to

Please state "Cooper Creek Watershed Project" in the subject line, when providing electronic comments, or on the envelope when replying by mail.

As always, you can contact Georgia ForestWatch at, or 706-867-0051 if you have any questions.

Thanks for your commitment to protecting the forest lands & rivers of North Georgia!
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