No Snow, But Cold – More on Cooper Creek

We had only a few flakes of snow Sunday morning, but Monday is starting off very cold. We’ve got 15 on the porch, and there is a very chilly wind blowing.

Here’s more on the Cooper Creek project from Georgia Forest Watch. They’re calling it the worst project they’ve seen in a decade.

Southwest of Blairsville, Georgia, lies one of the hidden jewels of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Cooper Creek area in Union County boasts clear native trout streams, backcountry hiking trails, and magnificent towering forests, and is a favorite destination for locals and recreational users across Georgia. Yet the Forest Service feels this area needs to be “improved” and has proposed a massive timber project that would remove 30-80% of the trees from more than 2,000 acres.
The Cooper Creek Watershed Project  is the worst Forest Service project ForestWatch has seen in the last decade.  Specific concerns on this aggressive project include:
  • Over 80% of the stands in the watershed of Bryant Creek will be cut, threatening one of the best native trout streams in Georgia. Timber harvest activities, including the extensive road system that must be built to harvest timber, will increase soil erosion and raise water temperatures.
  • Over 300 acres of commercial logging are proposed in an area that the Forest Service previously designated for dispersed recreation and “unsuitable for timber production.”
  • The Forest Service is proposing to cut some of the best examples of mature, healthy oak forests and towering white pines. This includes one of only two old-growth stands in the area. Mature oak forests have high wildlife value because acorns are an important food source for a wide variety of species.
  • The Forest Service claims that a dense forest canopy is unhealthy, “limiting hardwood tree diversity and wildlife habitat.” But abundant rainfall and fertile soils naturally lead to dense canopies on most Southern Appalachian sites. As trees age, some fall and create small openings that provide wildlife habitat and high light for young trees to grow. This process is already happening in the project area, and will increase as the forest continues to recover from the last round of logging.
  • As much as 80% of the trees on 720 acres will be cut to “restore” woodlands (open stands with more sky than tree cover). But there is no evidence that woodland ever occurred naturally in the area. Herbicide will be used extensively to prevent trees from growing back in these artificial woodlands.
The Cooper Creek Watershed Project represents an alarming change from recent projects in the Chattahoochee National Forest because of its massive size, targeting of older stands, and lack of true ecological justification. Georgia ForestWatch will submit rigorous comments on the project, but the Forest Service needs to hear your voice, too.
Please help us save these majestic forests and let Ranger Baker know how special the Cooper Creek area is. Project details can be found on the Forest Service’s website (
Please send written comments by Friday, February 5, 2016, 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.
Comments may also be made directly on the Cooper Creek Watershed Project webpage at by selecting the “Comment on Project” link on the right-hand side of the page.

As always, you can contact Georgia ForestWatch at, or706-867-0051 if you have any questions.

Thank you for supporting Georgia’s
national forests!
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