June 19, 2003
Senator Jeff Sessions
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge Dedication Ceremony
Monday, June 30, 2003 11 a.m. (Media tour available at 9:45 a.m. Meet at Transition Force Headquarters -- see map)
Range 29 off of Iron Mountain Road (formerly Ft. McClellan); Anniston, Alabama (Restricted access area, see attached map)
The U.S. Army, as directed by the Congress, and the Ft. McClellan Joint Powers Authority are providing about 9,000 acres of land to establish Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge (the 542nd in the nation). It will preserve the world's finest remaining example of the rare mountain longleaf pine ecosystem. These lands, which have been closed to public access for a number of years, will need to remain closed to the public until all safety and environmental compliance requirements are met, a process the Service expects to take about a year for the first portions of the refuge. Other areas will take longer. The U.S. Army remains responsible for all unexploded ordinance (UXO) and environmental remediation on refuge lands. The Service will work with the public to plan for the future opening of the refuge. This is one of the most significant conservation actions in the Southeast and is especially notable as we celebrate 100 years of wildlife and habitat conservation during the Centennial of National Wildlife Refuge System. Possible recreational opportunities for the future include hiking, hunting, bird watching, and environmental education.
B-roll will be available. Photo opportunities on escorted media tour include some of the only old-growth mountain longleaf pine in Alabama and scenic vistas of Choccolocco Mountain and Choccolocco Valley.
Media: Please meet at 9:45 a.m. Monday June 30, 2003 at Transition Force Headquarters for the tour -- or go directly to the dedication ceremony (follow signs) by 11:00 a.m.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
Atlanta, GA 30345