We request the creation of a Named Backcountry Area or similar Protected Area in the northern portions of the Wayne National Forest’s Athens Unit. This Area is the heart of the Athens Unit’s hiking, backpacking, and horse riding trails. And yet, much of this Area is currently open to commercial timbering, road building, and oil and gas development. Protecting this Area and giving it an overall identity will stimulate the region’s economy, serve unmet demand for deep woods recreation, and enhance the Wayne’s relevance and status as a destination.
A Named Backcountry or Protected Area here would attract tourism dollars, feed a strong local entrepreneurial spirit, and grow incomes and property values. Rural communities with large amounts of protected federal lands (such as Wilderness, National Monuments, National Parks) enjoy jobs growth at more than double the rate of rural counties whose federal lands are largely unprotected.
A Named Backcountry or Protected Area would unify the Athens Unit’s non-mechanized trail areas. It would encompass the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Buckeye Trail, the Wildcat Hollow Hiking Trails, the Stone Church Horse Trails, the Lakeview Hiking Trail, and the Monroe Outlook Hiking Trail.
Protecting this Area will maximize carbon storage. Nature can be a powerful ally in the fight against climate change. Allowing this Forest to fully mature is the most time and cost-effective way to harness its potential as a carbon capturing sponge.
Protecting this Area will preserve its intact and roadless qualities and allow for the recovery of old-growth forest. Ohio has very few old, expansive forests where visitors can immerse themselves in awe-inspiring grandeur. Putting the non-mechanized trails portion of the Athens Unit on a path towards old-growth recovery is a natural complement to the Area’s dominant recreational uses.
Edit this message to tell users that can't take action (because of their location) how to contribute. For example, consider adding a link to a petition or donation page that you have created, or add social sharing options so that these supporters can help get the word out on social media.
Headline Goes Here
The comment period for this document is now closed. But, you can still help!
Edit this message to tell users that can't take action because comments are closed how to contribute. For example, consider adding a link to a petition or donation page that you have created, or add social sharing options so that these supporters can help get the word out on social media.