AW seeks Agreement with other Stakeholders on Upper Chattooga
Since first raising the issue of boating on the Upper Chattooga with the Forest Service in 1995
AW has reached out to local and National Trout Unlimited (TU) leaders, the Chattooga Conservancy
and Georgia Forest Watch on numerous occasions with no success.
In 1995 our requests for a meeting was refused by all involved. Finally in May of 2001 two local TU representatives did agree to meet with us. It was a pleasant meeting but it was clear that they were never going to engage in a meaningful conversation about boating on the upper river. The angler’s refusal to engage in a reasoned dialogue with AW continues today despite our repeated efforts to engage them.
Forest Service officals have repeatedly stated that they would like nothing more than for the stakeholders in this contentious issue to come together and reach an agreement. Recently the Chattooga Conservancy reached out to AW in an effort to reach an agreement with AW that could be presented to the Forest Service. AW has engaged in a good faith dialogue with the Conservancy over the last two weeks and we applaud their efforts. We also recognize that while their recent proposal for the headwaters is not an acceptable solution it is certainly a huge step in the right direction. However unless the other stakeholders are willing to engage in the process such negotiations have no chance of succeeding. Recognizing this, the Conservancy has tried to bring the local TU chapters and Georgia Forest Watch to the table over the last two weeks with no success. TU and Georgia Forest Watch have steadfastly refused to talk just as they have for the last 13 plus years.
This is most unfortunate and an opportunity lost. AW will continue to stay involved in the administrative process and seek to reach an acceptable resolution that will allow boating on the entire length of the upper Chattooga River. We also remain ready, willing and able to engage in a dialogue with the key stakeholder groups should they decide to participate.
Please send your comments to the Forest Service, public comments on the Chattooga Headwaters are
due August 18th. A sample letter and background information is posted here.