Ground Truth: Briefly

Agency Agrees to Reduce Virginia Logging Plans

The Forest Service has scaled back a proposed logging project in a scenic area of the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, earning praise from conservationists.

Clinch River.

Agency officials initially proposed logging nearly 1,500 acres around High Knob and Pickem Mountain, in a popular recreation area. Last year, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed an objection to the plans on behalf of another group, The Clinch Coalition. They pointed to the area’s high biodiversity and said the project would threaten water quality in the nearby Clinch River.

After a series of negotiations, the Forest Service agreed to downsize the project, including abandoning the initial plans to log around High Knob and Pickem Mountain. The new plan would scale back the logging to 577 acres west of that area.

“The Forest Service’s agreements to move off of High Knob and Pickem Mountain were critical to protecting these incredibly special areas and the Clinch River,” said Kristin Davis, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “In the end, the Forest Service listened to public concerns and worked with us to resolve them. I appreciate how committed everyone was to getting this right.”