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Georgia celebrates Great Outdoors Week

POSTED: August 25, 2011 12:21 a.m.

Georgia ForestWatch will join conservation groups and outdoorsmen and women from across the country to celebrate Great Outdoors Week through Sunday.

The event features a series of outdoor activities that highlight the importance of public lands in Georgia and nationwide to outdoor recreation, clean water, wildlife and local economies.

"National public lands, including roadless and Wilderness Study Areas, serve as a natural playground for anyone who wants to get out and enjoy the outdoors," said ForestWatch President Robin Hitner. "They also serve as essential sources of clean water and habitat for fish and wildlife. We must ensure that they are protected and that we leave our public lands to future generations in as good or better shape than they were left to us."

Great Outdoors Week comes as Congress is considering legislation that would open up more than 60 million acres of National Forest roadless areas and Wilderness Study Areas to development.

An Aug. 9 report on U.S. Forest Service's National Visitor Use states that national forests attracted 170.8 million recreation visitors and sustained approximately 223,000 jobs in rural communities this past year.

National Forests and Grasslands continue to make large economic impacts on America's rural communities, contributing $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

"We're calling on folks to get out, have fun and show their support for saving these treasured places," Hitner said. "Our public lands in Georgia are some of the best outdoor recreation areas we have in the state, and Georgians are enjoying their public lands even more today than they did ten or twenty years ago."

Georgians can go online to find out about the week's activities in their area.



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