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Contact: Frank Graham, (423) 569-9778
Contact: Christopher Derman, (423) 569-9778
Obed Wild & Scenic River, in keeping with requirements outlined under National Park Service management policies, Director’s Order 41, and the 1995 General Management Plan has recently begun the process of conducting a Wilderness Eligibility Assessment on lands within the park boundaries.
During this Wilderness Eligibility Assessment, park staff and regional office representatives are meeting to determine which park lands, if any, possess the necessary characteristics to be considered a wilderness. The Wilderness Act of 1964 describes wilderness as “…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” This Wilderness Eligibility Assessment is a non-decisional draft recommendation that would require concurrence from the Southeastern Regional Director and the Director of the National Park Service.
Should portions of Obed Wild & Scenic River be determined to possess the necessary wilderness characteristics, the park will request funding to further examine those lands as part of a formal Phase-I “Wilderness Study.”
The conclusion of this study would be the point that would constitute an agency decision. Ultimately, however, the actual creation of a wilderness area will require an act of Congress and will be based on the recommendations made in the “Wilderness Study.” Wilderness areas themselves may accommodate wide varieties of recreational pursuits such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and canoeing/kayaking. Private oil and gas operations on private mineral lands in the park would not be included in any proposals hence there would be no effect on current or future levels of activity.
It is also important to realize that the time interval from the first step of a Wilderness Eligibility Assessment to the creation of a Congressionally-legislated “wilderness” may be very long, potentially spanning 20 years, or more. During this interim time, existing permitted activities may continue as they traditionally have in the Obed Wild & Scenic River.
If you have any questions about the Wilderness Eligibility Assessment or the process of designating a wilderness area, please feel free to contact the park by either writing:
Superintendent, Obed Wild & Scenic River
P.O. Box 429
Wartburg, TN 37887,
or by submitting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling (423) 346-6294.