The Agony of an American Wilderness

Loggers, Environmentalists, and the Struggle for Control of a Forgotten Forest

By (author) Samuel A. MacDonald

Publication date:

10 February 2005

Length of book:

200 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742541573

The Allegheny National Forest exists on what might have been the most heavily exploited landscape in the history of civilization. Careful stewardship over the last eight decades has transformed it into a beautiful forest that contains countless wildlife species and some of the world's most valuable timber. Local communities are steeped in pride for having written that unprecedented environmental success story. Unfortunately, the Allegheny is now the focus of a caustic new timber war that will ultimately test the limits of American environmentalism.

No longer satisfied with protecting the pristine old growth that captured the national imagination in the early 1990s, activists have embarked on campaign to put an end to the Allegheny timber program. Litigation and protests have shaken the region for a decade. More recently, it has become a hotbed of eco-terrorism.

But restoring the Allegheny to something activists accept will be far more difficult, expensive, and explosive than setting aside a few million acres for the northern spotted owl. This book examines the communities caught in the middle of that political crossfire and forces Americans to decide if they are ready to accept the new activist agenda: In their own words, "If we can stop logging on the Allegheny, we can stop it everywhere."
The Agony of an American Wilderness is destined to be a classic case history study of the political/psychological/social/legal 'game that people play' relative to the national forest management. Until Congress sees fit to sever the Gordian Knot that increasingly binds federal forest managers, such political passion plays are the likely future for the management of federal lands.