Objection filed to forest service Foothills Landscape Project in North Georgia mountains

Staff file photo by Matt Hamilton / Visitors can be seen enjoying the view of the Chattahoochee National Forest and Cohutta Wilderness at the Cool Creek overlook in Fort Mountain State Park on Saturday, Nov., 6, 2021.

A foursome of regional conservation groups have a few problems with the U.S. Forest Service's restoration plans across 157,625 acres of Georgia's Conasauga, Blue Ridge and Chattooga River ranger districts in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests.

The project dubbed the Foothills Landscape Project is roughly twice the size of Atlanta, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the four conservation groups, has filed a 25-page objection with the forest service regarding its final environmental assessment released in December.

An estimated 244,000 people live in the project area that lies in portions of Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Rabun and White counties in North Georgia.

"Filing an objection is a way for the public to seek additional administrative review of a forest service decision and, since the Foothills Landscape Project will be the largest project in the history of the Chattahoochee National Forest, we believe filing this objection is necessary to ensure this project has a sound foundation as it moves forward," law center spokesperson Eric Hilt said in an email.