Freshman Rep. Doug Collins no consideration, no public hearings, it is not the answer or the way to handle the battle over who runs the area of Camp Merrill.
What is Amendment #291 The beautiful and scenic Chattahoochee-Oconee national Forest land, all two-hundred and eighty two acres of Camp Merrill would be transferred from the Forest Service to the Army Service. With The Army Service in charge of the land they can do whatever they like with the land whenever they like, if they decide to divide it up and sell it to private owners or do construction all over it, the people and the Forest Service won’t be able to do anything about it. If the Army Service is in charge of the land the people don’t need to be contacted first for review consideration with any meeting.
What’s so important about this land
Dispappearing wildlands of Georgia Mountains. Significant Watersheds protected by Weeks Act Purchases and two endangered species of fish. The Etowah River runs through it up to Lake Lanier. The three important species of fish that are endangered are the Amber darter and the Etowah darter are endangered and the Cherokee darter is a federally threatened fish. There are 17 other threatened species.
Wetlands stop erosion and any further disturbance needs to be restricted if not prohibited
When wetlands, trees and the land are properly maintained from disturbance they filter stormwater and protect the water quality sustaining the integrity of ecosystems and habitats. The importance of the Etowah headwaters cannot be stressed enough. The southeast forests are under terrible pressure from development-land use change, and forest land and natural infrastructure protection and management is needed, and on private property as well.
What is wrong with the Army Service or the Forest Service being in charge of the land
The Army Service could decide the property is no longer of service or profitable to them and at a moment’s notice could sell the property off, divide it up for private developers and they don’t have to check with anyone about what they do, they just do it.
The Forest Service tends to operate the same way. They are known to clear-cut any section of the Chattahoochee Forest the prevented flooding that dams are now in place to do, and keep Chattahoochee wetlands intact which now Atlanta struggle for drinking water. The once rich and sacred Indian Nation has been vandalized by destruction of property.
From Allatoona the Etowah River flows to Rome and the Coosa River, and is listed as one of the most dirty and degraded rivers, where it empties into Mobile Bay on the Alabama Coast
In other words protection of the land and proper stewarding isn’t happening, thank God for the Upper Etowah River Alliance for the protection of the watershed but it doesn’t protect the watershed from the human destruction of cutting down the trees by the Forest Service designed by nature to take care of the water storage, the waters and the land to keep the land and waters cool for wildlife and to filter the excess pollution out.
Development and clear cutting or chopping down trees, needs to be prohibited in the Etowah Rivershed area of Camp Merrill by the Army Service and the Forestry Service
Gainesville Times-Collins said, “The two government entities just can’t talk and people are tired of the government not working.” Says who? The Forest Service and the Army Service have their differences and if progress has been slow it can only be considered in the best interest of the land and most of all for the Etowah River headwaters. Maybe keeping it the way it is, is the best thing to do since the two services seem to keep each other in check.
The Army Services needs to do some construction updates and updates to the outdated water system. If the people can be assured by way of planning that the water system updates will be sustainable for the water and the land, and further construction will not harm the habitat of the water or wildlife species then this may be the best direction. Meetings need to be held and the residents need to be able to cast their opinions to be heard. Proper stewardship and conservation of the natural resources is of the highest importance.
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