Forest Service aims to conserve more than 5,000 acres of North Georgia woodlands

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / The Chattahoochee National Forest and Cohutta Wilderness are visible from the Cool Creek overlook in Fort Mountain State Park, on Saturday, November, 6, 2021.

The public has less than six weeks to comment on a U.S. Forest Service project twice the size of Atlanta dubbed the Foothills Landscape Project, which aims to conserve more than 5,000 acres of old-growth forest, create small canopy gaps and restore woodland habitat for native species of plants and animals.

The U.S. Forest Service environmental assessment issued for the Foothills Landscape Project has been revised from its original version released in 2019, and it attempts to address a primary complaint that the process lacked for public participation.

Plans still propose a variety of restoration activities to provide "a mosaic of sunlight and shade" and recreation enhancement in various future projects planned across 157,625 acres of federal land within the Conasauga, Blue Ridge and Chattooga River ranger districts of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, according to the revised, final environmental assessment on the proposed work released Oct.