The public land in the Jellico Mountains is currently classified as a national forest, which opens it up to large-scale extraction, such as logging and mining. We’d like to see the Jellico Mountains receive a higher national designation that would shift the focus away from extraction, and toward recreation and preservation.

National Recreation Area

A national recreation area (NRA) is an official protected area in the United States established by an Act of Congress to preserve enhanced recreational opportunities in places with significant natural and scenic resources. There are 40 NRAs in the U.S., including 22 managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Due to their size, diversity of activities, and proximity to population centers, NRAs are among the most visited units of the National Park System.

National Monument

A national monument is an official protected area in the United States established by an Act of Congress or Presidential Proclamation protecting a wide variety of natural and historic resources, including sites of geologic, marine, archaeological, and cultural importance. There are 129 national monuments in the U.S., including 14 managed by the USFS.

Our Recommendation

JMRA respectfully calls on the U.S. Congress to designate Jellico Mountains National Recreation Area or a Jellico Mountains National Monument in the Daniel Boone National Forest, managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Why Not A…?

1. National Park – No hunting, fishing, or gathering allowed, as it should be in those places. But the Jellico Mountains have been “working mountains” for centuries and should continue in that role, but with a shift toward recreation and preservation.

2. National Forest (no change) – The USFS has a mandate to balance recreation and extraction in its national forests. In Daniel Boone National Forest, the USFS seeks this balance by considering Red River Gorge as recreation, and Jellico Mountains as the crop to be harvested.

The Jellico Mountains and their human and wildlife residents deserve better. Humans can benefit from a new outdoor playground, jobs in the surrounding communities, and cleaner water and air. Wildlife can benefit from a healthy, balanced, and intact natural ecosystem.

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