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Proposed Jefferson National Forest timber sale delayed

DUNGANNON — Residents are waiting for the next step in a proposed logging project in the Jefferson National Forest. The proposed timber sale, located on Dry Creek near Dungannon, was first announced last year. But the logging and burning of about 370 acres of wood in the Jefferson National Forest has been postponed while District Ranger Ron Bush of the Clinch Ranger District revises an environmental assessment, according to The Clinch Coalition, a group opposed to the project.

In August, Bush sent a letter to residents living near the site stating that he was withdrawing the project and revising the environmental assessment of the project. “The Forest Service has told members of the public that it intends to proceed with the project but would provide an additional 30-day period during which the public could raise objections before the agency makes a new decision,” according to The Clinch Coalition.

“Area residents and conservationists call for Ranger Bush to use this time to step back, to significantly reduce the scope of the project, and to fully address all of the serious concerns raised by the public, including concerns about logging on steep slopes, landslides, flooding, scarring the landscape from the intensive, heavily concentrated logging and burning operations, and the need for protecting the area for recreation, fishing and hunting, and for protecting rare species downstream,” said Diana Withen, president of The Clinch Coalition.

In July, the coalition and residents of Dungannon filed an appeal of the proposed logging plan. Residents said the many steep slopes, if scarred by logging and burning, could result in landslides and flooding. Bush could not be reached for comment.

Kingsport Times/News September 18, 2007
By CLIFFORD JEFFERY cjeffery@timesnews.net

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