Foothills Landscape Community Collaboration

 

The right work in the right places for the right reasons.

 

The Foothills Landscape – 143,419 acres – stretches across the Chattahoochee National Forest and marks the area where the mountains are visibly reduced to foothills. Shortleaf pine and pitch pine forests are the dominant forest types, with hardwoods accounting for about a quarter of the landscape. The area offers a plethora of recreation opportunities, with nearly 200 miles of hiking, biking, horse and OHV trails and dozens of recreation sites. It includes a portion of the Cohutta WMA and Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Rabun and White Counties.

Foothills Landscape Map

 

We Need YOU: We need your knowledge and insights right from the start in order to plan the right work in the right places for the right reasons. Share what you know about the Foothills Landscape with us and others through this collaboration. Use this forum to tell your community what you care about and why. Describe what you want and need from this landscape...and also what you can and do give. Learn from the knowledge that others share. And consider the many other perspectives revealed to all of us through this collaboration.

Project Vision: To create, restore and maintain ecosystems that are more resilient to natural disturbances. Specifically, the Forest Service is seeking to enhance and provide quality habitat for rare and declining species, as well as desired game and non-game species; to reduce hazardous fuel loading across the landscape to diminish damaging wildfires; to improve soil and water quality; to provide sustainable recreation and access opportunities; and to awaken and strengthen a connection to these lands for all people.

 

Foothills Landscape Project

Proposed Action:  On October 30, 2017, the U.S. Forest Service released a proposal to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Foothills Landscape. Community members from across North Georgia have been working together with the U.S. Forest Service over the past year to realize a shared vision to address complex conservation challenges across this landscape. The Foothills Landscape Project would maintain or improve watershed and ecological conditions by addressing the need to improve biologic integrity, increase the ecosystem’s resilience to disturbance, restore connectivity, and support high water quality and soil productivity. You can read the proposal, along with all the valuable feedback we received during the official comment period that ended on December 22, 2017, on the project NEPA webpage  (use the "Public Comment/Objection Reading Room" link on the right side of the page to see all the comments.)  

Moving Forward -- What's Next?  We need you more than ever. This year, we will be working on developing alternatives to the proposed action. We will have a few large workshops, and you can also expect more smaller, focused meetings and field trips this spring and summer. The project will start to become more concrete. We will be working together to find the best way to share feedback during implementation and what accountability will look like. We will learn more about the best science from experts, researchers and other authorities. And of course, drink coffee, eat cookies and maybe even enjoy a potluck or two. Together we will move toward discussing a multiparty monitoring plan. The Foothills Interdisciplinary (ID) team will be completing the effects analysis and the environmental document throughout the summer. Then we'll have another round of Community Conversations to discuss the anticipated environmental effects of the project. After that we'll release the document and have a formal 30-day public comment period. Expect that in the fall.

As always, join us at any time throughout this next phase. We've tried to create a variety of opportunities to engage, and everyone is always welcome. 

So far, we have spent our time together defining why we need to restore the Foothills Landscape, what we need to do to restore it, and where restoration is likely to be the most successful. All of our conversations and time spent out in the woods together have improved this project - not to mention, strengthened relationships and built new partnerships.  

Upcoming Workshops:

DAY-LONG WORKSHOP: Tuesday, May 29 from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm -- Ultimately, we will come out of this discussion with action plans for developing the multi-party monitoring and implementation needs for the Foothills Landscape project. This will include identifying the gaps in the Forests' existing monitoring strategy and what you all consider essential to monitor for the success of the project -- and how we'll work together to get that work done. This will be a lot of work, and we will need a good meal to keep us going so bring your favorite dish or dessert to share with the group for a potluck lunch.

EVENING WORKSHOP: Wednesday, May 30 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- On Wednesday, we will share with the group how to use the condition-based planning tools we have developed. We will also unveil areas where we have stand-specific information for treatments. These will be where we will concentration our collaborative field trips and meetings for the rest of the summer.

LOCATION FOR BOTH DAYS: Fieldale Fun House -- 172 T&L Farm Road, Clarkesville, GA 30523

Feel free to attend just one or both days, designed to fit your different schedules.

Check out the harvest from our fun and productive Workshop held in Dahlonega February 14-15, 2018.

Foothills Landscape collaboration in Dahlonega 

 Foothills Landscape collaboration in Dahlonega

Stayed tuned for meetings, workshops, field trips and other events...coming soon!

Sign up to receive information about the Foothills Landscape project by email. You can also keep in touch with happenings on our Facebook and twitter pages (@ChattOconeeNF).

 

More about the Foothills Landscape Collaboration

Background Information on the Foothills Landscape:

Collaboration Meeting/Event Archives

Workshop V (February 14-15, 2018 in Dahlonega)

Community Conversations (October 2017 in Dahlonega, Atlanta, Clayton and Chatsworth):

Workshop IV (July 11-12, 2017 in Ellijay)

Workshop III (May 23-24, 2017 in Clayton)

Workshop II (March 28-29, 2017 in Gainesville):

Workshop I (January 31 - February 1, 2017 in Dahlonega):

Past Field Trips

  • Field Trips Invitation - June 11, 2017
  • Watergauge Project Field Trip Invitation, Video from the day, May 12, 2017
  • Oakey Mountain OHV Trail Field Trip, June 16, 2017
  • Active Timber Sale Field Trip, June 21, 2017
  • Chattooga River Recreational Sites Field Review, June 23, 2017
  • Little Bald Mountain Old Growth Field Trip, July 7, 2017
  • Woodland and Old Growth Small Group Meeting, July 25, 2017
  • Bear Creek Corridor and Holly Creek Site Visit, July 28, 2017
  • Motorized Access in the Foothills Landscape Meeting, August 2, 2017
  • Watershed Health Meeting, August 2, 2017
  • Canebrake Restoration Field Trip, August 4, 2017
  • Jake and Bull Mountain Trail System Field Trip, August 16, 2017

Science Symposium (May 4, 2017 in Sautee Nacoochee)

Webinars 

Community Conversations (October 2016 in Dahlonega, Gainesville, North Atlanta, Clayton and Chatsworth):

Collaborative Learning Workshop (June 17, 2016 in Gainesville):

Stay Connected:

Sign up to receive information about the Foothills Landscape collaboration by email. You can also keep in touch with happenings on our Facebook and twitter pages (@ChattOconeeNF).