Wilderness in Virginia
Securing permanent protection for these lands will have a tremendous impact on this region of Virginia, both in terms of preserving the most ecologically valuable forested areas and increasing tourism, a major component of the area's economic base. Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, picnicking, backpacking, bird watching, horseback riding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, spelunking, rock-climbing and many other outdoor activities would continue and thrive in the new Wilderness Areas. At the same time, motorized traffic and mechanized equipment are banned, preventing any disruption to the ecosystems and diverse wildlife.
SAFC's VA Wilderness Organizer, Mark Miller, has worked tirelessly for the last five years to drum up grassroots and high-level support for this proposal. His efforts have secured a broad base of support from each of the southwest counties in which the protected areas would be located. The bill is also supported by a wide variety of businesses, tourism interests, faith groups, garden clubs and other local organizations.
SAFC has worked closely with the Virginia Wilderness Committee, The Wilderness Support Center, Campaign for America's Wilderness, The Wilderness Society, Southern Environmental Law Center, and others to support a very successful campaign. In addition to the Forest Coalition's strategic outreach, we have bolstered the campaign with assistance on strategic planning, meeting support, media coverage, and mapping.
SAFC's successful grassroots campaign efforts in Virginia have helped generate a new wilderness bill. The Ridge and Valley Act of 2007 was introduced on February 14th by U.S. Representative Rick Boucher and U.S. Senators John Warner and Jim Webb. When enacted, the Ridge and Valley Act will protect 55,000 acres of Virginia's Jefferson National Forest and will create seven new Wilderness Areas, two new National Scenic Areas, and expand six existing Wilderness Areas in southwest Virginia.
Please click here to read The Virginia Ridge & Valley Act of 2007.
The Virginia Ridge and Valley Act Passes the House!
The Virginia Ridge & Valley Act, which will permanently protect almost 55,000 acres in Virginia's Jefferson National Forest, passed the House on October 23, 2007. Thank you for your efforts to educate policy-makers about the benefits of wilderness protection. We couldn't do it without your support.
We are nearing our goal of protecting these forests in perpetuity, which in turn protects our water, old-growth trees, recreation opportunities, important wildlife, and the livelihood of our communities.
A heartfelt thank you for your dedication and support! On to the Senate!
Virginia Ridge & Valley Funding Partners
- The Conservation Alliance
- Campaign for America's Wilderness
- WestWind Foundation
- Merck Family Fund
- Town Creek Foundation
- American Wilderness Coalition
- Please click here to view the Act's endorsers. (Link?)