Proposed sale of forest lands draws public scrutiny at meeting

  • Megan Broome/The Clayton Tribune. Marie Dunkle, board president for Georgia ForestWatch, left, and Ryan Foote, district ranger for the Chattooga River Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Lakemont, hold up a map of National Forest System Land in Georgia potentially for sale. Foote points to the location of Rabun County, where approximately 1,229 acres of the roughly 3,841 acres is located.
    Megan Broome/The Clayton Tribune. Marie Dunkle, board president for Georgia ForestWatch, left, and Ryan Foote, district ranger for the Chattooga River Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Lakemont, hold up a map of National Forest System Land in Georgia potentially for sale. Foote points to the location of Rabun County, where approximately 1,229 acres of the roughly 3,841 acres is located.
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CLAYTON— The potential sale of roughly 3,841 acres—30 tracts—of National Forest System land in the state of Georgia has been a buzz of controversy with questions and concerns from community members about the impact it will have on the local environment.

Approximately 1,229 acres (seven tracts) of that land is located in Rabun County.

This issue was given a platform for community discussion at a meeting of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) Wednesday, October 23.

“I know there are a lot of people with questions, concerns, and issues,” said Cherie Faircloth, founding member of the Rabun Gap Chapter of BREDL, about why she chose this topic for the meeting.

Ryan Foote, district ranger for the Chattooga River Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Lakemont, was a guest speaker to provide local residents clarity on new legislation regarding the selling and exchanging of National Forest Lands.  

Marie Dunkle, board president of Georgia ForestWatch, and Nicole Hayler, executive director of Chattooga Conservancy were also guest speakers.

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