FAW Highlighted in New Book

WARREN --­ In The Way of the Woods: Journeys Through American Forests, Linda Underhill explores some of America¹s most extraordinary forests, from proposed wilderness in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), to the old-growth groves of Cook Forest State Park, to the ancient rainforests of Washington¹s Olympic Peninsula.

Pittsburgh native Underhill, a resident of Wellsville, New York and currently a visiting professor of English at Gettysburg College, spent several years visiting important forest areas from coast to coast in preparation for writing The Way of the Woods, recently published by Oregon State University Press.

For her chapter on the ANF, titled "Going Wild," Underhill augmented her research with a hiking trip with Kirk Johnson, executive director for Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW) into the proposed addition to the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area in southern Warren County. FAW is a Warren-based non-profit organization seeking permanent protection for select portions of the ANF.

The proposed addition to the Hickory Creek Wilderness is a 1,780-acre area that encompasses the headwaters of East Hickory Creek, a state-designated Wilderness Trout Stream, and it contains a two-mile segment of the popular Tanbark Trail. It was first proposed for wilderness designation as part of the Eastern Wilderness Areas Act in 1974 by former Pennsylvania Senators Hugh Scott and Richard Schweiker.

In total, FAW has proposed that 54,460 acres of the ANF be designated as wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964 in their Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal for Pennsylvania¹s Allegheny National Forest, published in 2003. During the U.S. Forest Service¹s recently completed Forest Plan revision, more than 6,800 of a total of 8,200 public comments specifically advocated for the Citizens¹ Wilderness Proposal.

"Skillfully weaving together scientific fact and philosophical reflection on the value of forests to the human spirit, The Way of the Woods is an eloquent plea for the protection of forests," said Lorraine Anderson, editor of Sisters of the Earth: Women¹s Prose and Poetry About Nature.

"Underhill¹s writing is clear, crisp literary journalism, moving with an understated grace as she covers specific types of forests, from rainforests to urban woodlands to the threatened hemlocks of Appalachia," said Keith Goetzman, senior editor at the Utne Reader.

The Way of the Woods is available through the publisher, via online booksellers such as Amazon.com and BN.com, and at bookstores. Underhill is also the author of The Unequal Hours: Moments of Being in the Natural World, published in 1999 by University of Georgia Press.

Pictured, a group of hikers from Friends of Allegheny Wilderness in the proposed Clarion River Wilderness Area in Elk County in the fall of 2005. The Way of the Woods author Linda Underhill is second from the right.

(Photo courtesy of Friends of Allegheny Wilderness)

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