Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Honesty In Reporting - Coopers Creek

by Jimmy Harris

Wild Brook Trout
There is currently a big media push concerning the Chattahoochee National Forest's management plan for what is being referred to as the Coopers Creek Project.  There have been editorials and newspaper articles across the state and yesterday I received an unsolicited email from "Protect Georgia".  I'm not familiar with them but they are mounting a campaign to encourage people to oppose the Forest Service plan for Coopers Creek.  They list among their supporters most of the Riverkeeper organizations in Georgia.

Golden-Winged Warbler
I just wanted to let you know that Protect Georgia, Georgia ForestWatch and the Sierra Club are using a lot of misinformation and outright lies in their efforts to block this project.  Photos of huge clear cuts, threats to brook trout streams and songbirds are all being thrown in the reader's face as the horror story the Forest Service is about to wreak on Coopers Creek.  None of this is true.  It's all an effort to create an element of fear in the mind of the general public. I am not recommending a stance on this project, although I will acknowledge that I support the Forest Service on this, but I do want to encourage our followers to become familiar with what is being proposed and not assume these groups are giving the true story.  Here is a link to the Forest Service's Fast Facts on the project.  There is also a 200 page Environmental Analysis available for more detailed information.  You may also be interested to know that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources supports the plan.

Unfortunately, in today's world, it's easy for narrowly focused groups to flood the airwaves with their agenda irregardless of the facts.  We need more conservationists and we need watchdogs but we also need to be honest.  Please take a moment to learn what this project is truly proposing.  And then I suggest you make your feelings known to the Forest Service.