Petition: Stop the Sale of National Forest Land in Georgia
Sign this petition to join the Georgia Chapter in opposing the sale of Boggs Mountain.
So, here’s the deal: 818 acres of your public land is on the auction block in Georgia. Boggs Mountain is a key block of land in the Chattahoochee National Forest tucked into the northeast corner of the state, and it is currently up for sale based on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act.
This act authorizes the sale or exchange of 30 parcels of national forest land, totaling 3,841 acres, on the premise that each tract is small and isolated. The idea is to trade disconnected islands of public land for new parcels that provide better access for hunters and anglers. In spirit, the law enhances the accessibility of public lands by funding the purchases of more accessible acreage through the sale of small, disconnected chunks of land.
“That makes sense until you consider the fact that Boggs Mountain is neither small nor isolated,” says Chris Jenkins, the chair of the Georgia Chapter of BHA. “The sale of this land would come at the cost of a sizeable piece of easily accessible public land. Boggs Mountain is not eligible for sale based on the criteria provided by the law ostensibly authorizing its sale.”
Consider the following.
At 818 acres, the two Boggs Mountain tracts account for a relatively large piece of public land. In fact, these two parcels represent 21% of the total land accounted for by the law.
Neither is Boggs Mountain disconnected. Unlike other tracts of lands for sale, Boggs Mountain is easily accessible via multiple roads and is contiguous with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
“These two tracts make up more than a fifth of the total acreage for sale. It just doesn’t make sense that these lands should be up for sale. Then you factor in that there’s close two miles of linear access along roads,” says Jenkins. “The combination of the two clearly shows that these lands do not fit the intent of the act.”
Additionally, this land is ecologically important to the wildlife living in the area. Not only does the Boggs Mountain hold deer and turkey, it provides a key corridor for wildlife traveling between the east and west sides of the Chattooga District.
In theory, the law makes sense: you’d lose access to land you can’t get to anyways in exchange for new land that you can actually use. But the negative implications of selling these specific tracts are clear. Hunters would lose access to otherwise accessible land, and the wildlife would suffer from a further depletion of their habitat.
“BHA Georgia strongly supports the idea of consolidating the national forest to create more access and hunting opportunities,” said Jenkins. “The problem is the Boggs Mountain tracts absolutely do not meet the criteria for sale under this law.”
There’s hope for the future of Boggs Mountain, though. As Georgia Chapter board member Matt Lowe explains, the law says the land may be sold, but it doesn’t say it must be sold.
“That’s an important point there. We can stop it,” says Lowe. “It’s not a foregone conclusion that it will be sold just because it’s mentioned in the law.”
And to stop the sale of Boggs Mountain, we’re soliciting signatures for a petition to remove this tract from the list of lands eligible for sale under the Land Adjustment Act.
Don’t underestimate the power of adding your signature to this petition. Every signature added puts that much more weight behind our call to save Boggs Mountain from sale.
“My guess is the Chattooga District National Forest supervisor doesn’t get a ton of emails from concerned citizens on a daily basis,” says Lowe. “If he gets a petition with a hundred signatures on it, that means something.”
As of this writing, 257 public land owners have signed the petition. Add your voice to the growing chorus demanding that Boggs Mountain be removed from the list of land eligible for sale. Sign the petition today.