The proposed Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area in the Allegheny National Forest is featured on the front cover of the newest issue of "North Star: The magazine of the North Country Trail (NCT) Association."
Tracy Ridge, located in McKean and Warren counties, is more than 9,500 acres in size - by far the largest roadless area in the ANF - and contains a nine-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail. The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club first proposed Tracy Ridge for wilderness designation in 1973, and their proposal was supported by the then U.S. Senators Hugh Scott and Richard Schweiker.
In 2003, the Warren-based non-profit organization Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW) again proposed the pristine Tracy Ridge area for wilderness designation in their "Citizens' Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest." During the Forest Services' latest Forest Plan revision, more than 6,800 of 8,200 total public comments on the plan specifically favored FAW, the proposal and wilderness designation for Tracy Ridge.
Tracy Ridge and three other formally recognized roadless areas in the ANF and tens of millions of additional roadless national forest acreage nationwide are currently threatened by legislation pending in U.S. Congress titled the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act (HR 1581/S. 1087). This act, commonly referred to as the Great Outdoors Giveaway bill, would release all roadless acreage to forms of development that are inconsistent with the preservation of wilderness values.
The North Country Trail is America's longest National Scenic Trail at more than 4,500 miles, and passes through seven states from North Dakota to New York. The Pennsylvania segment of the NCT is 265 miles long in all.
The photo of the proposed Tracy Ridge Wilderness Area featured in "North Star," titled "Johnnycake Run Sunset," was taken near the Allegheny Reservoir by FAW executive director Kirk Johnson.