Nearly 19,556 acres in the Cherokee National Forest in East Tennessee would be designated as wilderness under legislation introduced yesterday by Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
The areas were recommended for wilderness status by the U.S. Forest Service in its 2004 comprehensive plan for the forest and have been managed as Wilderness Study Areas since then.
The wilderness designation provides a higher level of protection for public lands and prevents most human intrusion.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 creates one new wilderness area and expands the boundaries of five existing areas.
The areas in the legislation include:
• 9,038 acres in the newly created Upper Bald River Wilderness in Monroe County.
• 348 acres added to Big Frog Wilderness in Polk County.
• 966 acres added to Little Frog Wilderness in Polk County.
• 2,922 acres added to Sampson Mountain Wilderness in Washington and Unicoi counties.
• 4,446 acres added to the Big Laurel Branch Wilderness in Carter and Johnson counties.
• 1,836 acres added to the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness in Monroe County.
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