The Tennessean was right when it said (Aug. 21 editorial) that Congress should approve the Tennessee Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act would protect some of the most beautiful places in the Cherokee National Forest. As a native Tennessean, some of my fondest memories can be traced back to hikes through the Cherokee National Forest, especially along the Appalachian Trail.
And I am not alone in my love for this incredible place that defines our heritage in Tennessee. Local sportsmen, business owners, faith communities and conservationists all support the Wilderness Act, introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander and co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker. However, as the editorial pointed out, this Congress has not passed much legislation, and conservation is suffering from this inaction. If Congress stays on its current course, it will be the first Congress since 1966 to not protect a single acre of wilderness.
Earlier this month, President Obama issued a proclamation decreeing that September is National Wilderness Month. The proclamation symbolizes a long bipartisan tradition of support for conservation throughout our nation’s history. Congress should follow in the footsteps of this tradition and pass the Tennessee Wilderness Act. -William H. Meadows, Immediate past president, The Wilderness Society