Write a letter to Key Decision Makers!
So far, 2498 people (624.5% of our initial goal) have sent 22482 e-mail letters
to key members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees!
Comments must be submitted prior to October 15, 1999!
|A little background information …|
Champion International Paper Company is selling a huge block of undeveloped land, known as the Gulf Tract, which consists of 6,800 acres in one solid block bordering the Tennessee and North Carolina state line. We have a chance to purchase this land (almost everything you see in the photos to the left) for public use forever as part of Cherokee National Forest.The Appalachian Trail follows the south boundary of this tract for approximately 6 miles (see Map of Gulf Tract), and any private development of this tract would seriously impact the viewshed for AT hikers, and could seriously compromise the wilderness character along the Trail. The tract also includes the west slope of Max Patch Mountain (4629′), a grassy Southern bald offering AT hikers breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.In addition, the Gulf Tract property includes the entire upper watershed of the Gulf Fork of Big Creek, which provides 20 miles of native trout habitat, and provides wildlife habitat for bear, deer, wild turkey, many species of small birds and animals, as well as habitat for a wide variety of native plants, some rare.For full description, see Details of Gulf Tract
As part of our Appalachian Trail community on-line,
here is what you can do …
The situation … Champion International now has the Gulf Tract property for sale, and the U.S. Forest Service is negotiating for its purchase. The total cost for the 6,800 acres is currently estimated at $5.5 million. The Fiscal Year 2000 budget was submitted to Congress in February with $3.5 million requested for the “Tennessee Mountains Project #19” (Gulf Tract) land acquisition. Subsequently, the Senate has recommended only $500,000 be provided for the purchase of this land, while the House recommended no funding at all for this acquisition. Later this month (we estimate around September 15th or thereabouts), it is expected that a Conference Committee made up of key Senate and House members of the Appropriations Committees will decide exactly how much money, if any, will be budgeted for this proposed acquisition in the final Fiscal Year 2000 budget.
Our goal … The purpose of this letter-writing campaign is to convince key members of Congress to include in the Fiscal Year 2000 budget the necessary funds ($3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2000) to buy this tract for the Forest Service. We want to show the key members of the Senate and House Appropriations Commitees that there is widespread sentiment favoring acquisition of the Gulf Tract for public use. There is no opposition to acquisition from any concerned group. Everyone, including the local citizens of Cocke County, Tennessee, where the land is located, wants this purchase to happen. However, unless there is a vigorous last-minute appeal from the public, there is a good chance that the Gulf Tract funding could get overlooked in the budget negotiations later this month. Thus, we need to write letters urging funding for Gulf Tract. Our letters could be the deciding factor in whether the Gulf Tract area will be available for future use by people who like to hike, camp, hunt, and fish … or be lost forever to private development!
To write your Gulf Tract letter … The section below will help you compose a personal letter that will allow you to voice your support for funding the Gulf Tract purchase and will send your comments via email to the important decision-makers on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, all done automatically when you click on “submit comments” below. A copy will also be sent to you that you may wish to print out, sign, and send by regular mail to the address that will appear at the top on your copy.