Collins, Perdue Work To Improve Recreation In Northeast Georgia

Dec 13, 2018

WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) applaud passage of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act in the 2018 Farm Bill, which now heads to President Trump’s desk to become law. This provision will allow the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to better manage Georgia’s forests so that residents can enjoy these natural resources.

“Northeast Georgians have always been thoughtful stewards of their beautiful landscape, and the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act will expand their opportunities to hunt, fish, hike and care for local forests. On behalf of the Georgians who spend their time and make their living using our state’s forests, I’m thankful that my friend David Perdue and I were able to bring these improvements to land management over the finish line,” said Collins.

“This is an important step toward making the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest more manageable for park rangers and more accessible to the community,” said Perdue, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Updated park boundaries will improve opportunities for hunting, fishing, and hiking in northeast Georgia while making better use of taxpayer money. This was one of my top priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill, and I’m glad Doug Collins and I were able secure these solutions for our forests during final negotiations.”

“The passing of this Act is a historic moment for Georgia, and it will provide more opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor enjoyment,” said Andrew Schock, Georgia State Director for The Conservation Fund. “We thank U.S. Senator David Perdue, U.S. Representative Doug Collins, and the other members of the Georgia congressional delegation that cosponsored these bills, for their commitment to enact a smart and sustainable solution for Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, both a natural treasure and a critical economic generator.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Senator Perdue and Representative Collins, the passage of this Act is a conservation win for Georgia,” said Deron Davis, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. “The money generated from the sales of these small areas of land will be put towards buying more critical lands for conservation and recreation, a result that benefits all Georgians.”

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Reps. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Karen Handel (R-Ga.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) co-sponsored this bill.

Background on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act:

Currently, the USFS owns many tracts of Georgia land that exist as small, isolated parcels. As Georgia grows, its development has left some of these spaces disconnected from the core lands of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

Instead of wasting taxpayer resources maintaining lands that most Georgians can’t access, the USFS has identified critical pieces of land that could be added to federal forests in order to connect existing public tracts, streamline land management, better protect wildlife and increase the recreational opportunities found in northeast Georgia’s forests.

With this in view, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act would allow the USFS to sell these isolated parcels of largely unusable land and use the proceeds of those sales only to buy critical land inholdings from willing sellers in Georgia. This legislation would not allow the USFS to expand the forest beyond its current boundaries. As a result, Georgians can enjoy greater recreational options and the more than $1 billion in annual revenue that those opportunities yield.