The largest old-growth forest in Pennsylvania may be lost due to loopholes that are present in current legislation designed to protect our lands. The Bush administration is notorious for allowing, and often creating, such loopholes.
Allegheny National Forest
The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) covers over 513,000 acres in northwest Pennsylvania. The Allegheny contains approximately 50,000 acres of unprotected wilderness that offers refuge for diverse plant and wildlife, including the largest old-growth forest in Pennsylvania. White-tailed deer, coyote and black bear all call the Allegheny home. The ANF contains one of the state's only populations of yellow bellied-flycatcher, located amidst the towering hemlock and beech trees in the 4,100 acre old-growth forest known as Tionesta. Also present is the federally endangered Indiana bat, northern goshawk and many fish, including native brook trout, that navigate an intricate stream network.
All of this may be lost due to corporate America's insatiable hunger for energy sources. Over 93% of the sub-surface is owned by private interests. This has led the Allegheny to have more active oil and gas wells than all other national forests combined. Even in the Tionesta Scenic Area, a National Natural Landmark, an estimated 120 oil and gas wells are present. Take a drive around and you will find thousands of oil and gas wells, pump houses, storage facilities, service roads and pipelines that have forever scarred the scenic landscape.
If these actions continue, we will likely lose what the U.S. Forest Service called "one of the most valuable old-growth remnants in the eastern United States."
For more information, visit www.alleghenydefense.org