Text: H.R.1011 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (10/24/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1011

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 24, 2007

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


AN ACT

To designate additional National Forest System lands in the State of Virginia as wilderness or a wilderness study area, to designate the Kimberling Creek Potential Wilderness Area for eventual incorporation in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness, to establish the Seng Mountain and Bear Creek Scenic Areas, to provide for the development of trail plans for the wilderness areas and scenic areas, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title and table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Virginia Ridge and Valley Act of 2007”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.

Sec. 2. Designation of additional National Forest System lands in Jefferson National Forest, Virginia, as wilderness or a wilderness study area.

Sec. 3. Designation of Kimberling Creek Potential Wilderness Area, Jefferson National Forest, Virginia.

Sec. 4. Designation of Seng Mountain and Bear Creek Scenic Areas, Jefferson National Forest, Virginia.

Sec. 5. Trail plan and development.

SEC. 2. Designation of additional National Forest System lands in Jefferson National Forest, Virginia, as wilderness or a wilderness study area.

(a) Designation of wilderness.—Section 1 of Public Law 100–326 (102 Stat. 584; 16 U.S.C. 1132 note), as amended by Public Law 106–471 (114 Stat. 2057), is further amended—

(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking “System—” and inserting “System:”;

(2) by striking “certain” at the beginning of paragraphs (1) through (8) and inserting “Certain”;

(3) by striking the semicolon at the end of paragraphs (1) through (6) and inserting a period;

(4) by striking “; and” at the end of paragraph (7) and inserting a period; and

(5) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

“(9) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 3,743 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Brush Mountain and Brush Mountain East’ and dated October 2007, and which shall be known as the Brush Mountain East Wilderness.

“(10) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 4,794 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Brush Mountain and Brush Mountain East’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Brush Mountain Wilderness.

“(11) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 4,223 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Seng Mountain and Raccoon Branch’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Raccoon Branch Wilderness.

“(12) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 3,270 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Stone Mountain’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Stone Mountain Wilderness.

“(13) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 8,470 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Hunting Camp Creek and Garden Mountain’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Hunting Camp Creek Wilderness.

“(14) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 3,291 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Hunting Camp Creek and Garden Mountain’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Garden Mountain Wilderness.

“(15) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 5,476 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Mountain Lake Additions’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Mountain Lake Wilderness designated by section 2(6) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).

“(16) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 308 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Lewis Fork Addition and Little Wilson Creek Additions’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Lewis Fork Wilderness designated by section 2(3) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).

“(17) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 1,845 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Lewis Fork Addition and Little Wilson Creek Additions’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Little Wilson Creek Wilderness designated by section 2(5) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).

“(18) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 2,249 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Shawvers Run Additions’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Shawvers Run Wilderness designated by paragraph (4).

“(19) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 1,203 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Peters Mountain Addition’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Peters Mountain Wilderness designated by section 2(7) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).

“(20) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 263 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ‘Kimberling Creek Additions and Potential Wilderness Area’ and dated February 2007, and which are hereby incorporated in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness designated by section 2(2) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).”.

(b) Designation of wilderness study area.—Section 6(a) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3108) is amended—

(1) by striking “certain” at the beginning of paragraphs (1) through (4) and inserting “Certain”;

(2) by striking the semicolon at the end of paragraphs (1) and (2) and inserting a period;

(3) by striking “; and” at the end of paragraph (3) and inserting a period; and

(4) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(5) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 3,226 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled ‘Lynn Camp Creek Wilderness Study Area’ and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Lynn Camp Creek Wilderness Study Area.”.

(c) Maps and legal descriptions.—

(1) FILING.—As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall file with the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a map and legal description of each wilderness area designated or expanded by the amendments made by subsection (a) and of the Lynn Camp Creek Wilderness Study Area designated by the amendment made by subsection (b).

(2) FORCE AND EFFECT.—The maps and legal descriptions referred to in paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary of Agriculture may correct clerical and typographical errors in the maps and descriptions. In the case of any discrepancy between the acreage specified in the amendments made by subsection (a) or (b) and the corresponding map filed under paragraph (1), the map shall control.

(3) AVAILABILITY.—The maps and legal descriptions referred to in paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Chief of the Forest Service.

(d) Administration.—

(1) NEW WILDERNESS AREAS.—Subject to valid existing rights, the Secretary of Agriculture shall administer the lands in the Jefferson National Forest designated as a new wilderness area by the amendments made by subsection (a) in accordance with this section and the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), except that, with respect to such lands, any reference in the Wilderness Act to the effective date of that Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2) EXPANDED WILDERNESS AREAS.—Subject to valid existing rights, the Secretary of Agriculture shall administer the lands in the Jefferson National Forest designated as wilderness and incorporated into an existing wilderness area by the amendments made by subsection (a) in accordance with this section, the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), and other laws applicable to that wilderness area, except that, with respect to such lands, any reference in the Wilderness Act to the effective date of that Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. Designation of Kimberling Creek Potential Wilderness Area, Jefferson National Forest, Virginia.

(a) Designation.—In furtherance of the purposes of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 349 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled “Kimberling Creek Additions and Potential Wilderness Area” and dated February 2007, are designated as a potential wilderness area for eventual incorporation in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness designated by section 2(2) of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984 (Public Law 98–586; 98 Stat. 3105).

(b) Map and legal descriptions.—

(1) FILING.—As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall file with the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a map and legal description of potential wilderness area.

(2) FORCE AND EFFECT.—The map and legal description referred to in paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary of Agriculture may correct clerical and typographical errors in the map and description. In the case of any discrepancy between the acreage specified in subsection (a) and the map filed under paragraph (1), the map shall control.

(3) AVAILABILITY.—The map and legal description referred to in paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Chief of the Forest Service.

(c) Management.—Except as provided in subsection (d) and subject to valid existing rights, the Secretary of Agriculture shall manage the potential wilderness area as wilderness pending its incorporation in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness.

(d) Ecological Restoration.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of ecological restoration (including the elimination of non-native species, removal of illegal, unused, or decommissioned roads, and any other activities necessary to restore the natural ecosystems in the potential wilderness area), the Secretary of Agriculture may use motorized equipment and mechanized transport in the potential wilderness area until its incorporation in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness.

(2) LIMITATION.—To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall use the minimum tool or administrative practice necessary to accomplish ecological restoration with the least amount of adverse impact on wilderness character and resources.

(e) Wilderness Designation.—The potential wilderness area shall be designated as wilderness and incorporated in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness on the earlier of—

(1) the date on which the Secretary of Agriculture publishes in the Federal Register notice that the conditions in the potential wilderness area that are incompatible with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) have been removed; or

(2) the date that is five years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(f) Administration.—Subject to valid existing rights, upon incorporation of the lands designated as wilderness under subsection (e) in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness, the Secretary of Agriculture shall administer the lands in accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) and other laws applicable to that wilderness area, except that, with respect to such lands, any reference in the Wilderness Act to the effective date of that Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the date on which the lands are designated as wilderness under subsection (e).

SEC. 4. Designation of Seng Mountain and Bear Creek Scenic Areas, Jefferson National Forest, Virginia.

(a) Establishment.—The following National Forest System lands in the State of Virginia are hereby designated as National Scenic Areas (in this section referred to as the “scenic areas”):

(1) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 5,192 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled “Seng Mountain and Raccoon Branch” and dated October 2007, and which shall be known as the Seng Mountain National Scenic Area.

(2) Certain lands in the Jefferson National Forest, which comprise approximately 5,128 acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled “Bear Creek” and dated February 2007, and which shall be known as the Bear Creek National Scenic Area.

(b) Maps and legal descriptions.—

(1) FILING.—As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall file with the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a map and legal description of each of the scenic areas.

(2) FORCE AND EFFECT.—The maps and legal descriptions referred to in paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary of Agriculture may correct clerical and typographical errors in the maps and descriptions. In the case of any discrepancy between the acreage specified in subsection (a) and the corresponding map filed under paragraph (1), the map shall control.

(3) AVAILABILITY.—The maps and legal descriptions referred to in paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Chief of the Forest Service.

(c) Purposes of scenic areas.—The scenic areas are established for the purposes of—

(1) ensuring the protection and preservation of scenic quality, water quality, natural characteristics, and water resources;

(2) protecting wildlife and fish habitat, consistent with paragraph (1);

(3) protecting areas that may develop characteristics of old-growth forests; and

(4) providing a variety of recreation opportunities, consistent with the preceding paragraphs.

(d) Administration.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall administer the scenic areas in accordance with this section and the laws and regulations generally applicable to the National Forest System. In the event of conflict between this section and other laws and regulations, this section shall take precedence.

(2) CONSISTENT USE.—The Secretary shall only allow such uses of the scenic areas as the Secretary finds will further the purposes for which the scenic areas are established.

(e) Management plan.—Within two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall develop a management plan for the scenic areas consistent with this section. The management plan shall be developed as an amendment to the land and resource management plan for the Jefferson National Forest, except that nothing in this section requires the Secretary to revise the land and resource management plan for the Jefferson National Forest pursuant to section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604).

(f) Roads.—After the date of the enactment of this Act, no roads shall be established or constructed within the scenic areas, except that this prohibition shall not be construed to deny access to private lands or interests therein in the scenic areas.

(g) Vegetation management.—No timber harvest shall be allowed within the scenic areas, except as the Secretary of Agriculture finds necessary in the control of fire, insects, and diseases and to provide for public safety and trail access. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the Secretary may engage in vegetation manipulation practices for maintenance of existing wildlife clearings and visual quality. Firewood may be harvested for personal use along perimeter roads under such conditions as the Secretary may impose.

(h) Motorized travel.—Motorized travel shall not be permitted within the scenic areas, except that the Secretary of Agriculture may authorize motorized travel within the scenic areas—

(1) as necessary for administrative use in furtherance of the purposes of this section;

(2) in support of wildlife management projects in existence as of the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(3) on Forest Development Roads 9410 and 84b during deer and bear hunting seasons and on that portion of Forest Development Road 6261 designated on the map referred to in subsection (a)(2) as “open seasonally” during deer and bear hunting seasons.

(i) Fire.—Wildfires in the scenic area shall be suppressed in a manner consistent with the purposes of this section, using such means as the Secretary of Agriculture considers appropriate.

(j) Insects and disease.—Insect and disease outbreaks may be controlled in the scenic areas to maintain scenic quality, prevent tree mortality, reduce hazards to visitors, or protect private lands.

(k) Water.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall administer the scenic areas so as to maintain and enhance water quality.

(l) Mining withdrawal.—Subject to valid existing rights, all federally owned lands in the scenic areas are withdrawn from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws of the United States and from leasing claims under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws of the United States, including amendments to such laws.

SEC. 5. Trail plan and development.

(a) Trail plan.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a trail plan for National Forest System lands described in this subsection in order to develop the following:

(1) Hiking and equestrian trails on the lands in the Jefferson National Forest designated as wilderness by the amendments made by section 2(a), in a manner consistent with the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.).

(2) Nonmotorized recreation trails within the Seng Mountain and Bear Creek Scenic Areas designated by section 4.

(b) Consultation.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish the trail plan in consultation with interested parties.

(c) Implementation report.—Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to Congress a report on the implementation of the trail plan, including the identification of priority trails for development.

(d) Trail required.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall develop a sustainable trail, using a contour curvilinear alignment, to provide for non-motorized travel along the southern boundary of the Raccoon Branch Wilderness established by section 1(11) of Public Law 100–326, as added by (2)(a) of this Act, connecting to Forest Development Road 49352 in Smyth County, Virginia.

(e) Motorized access in emergencies.—The designation of lands as wilderness or a wilderness study area by an amendment made by this section does not prohibit the use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment, or motorboats or the landing of aircraft or other forms of mechanical transport, on the designated lands when required in connection with an emergency involving the health and safety of persons, including search and rescue efforts or the response to an Amber Alert.

Passed the House of Representatives October 23, 2007.

Attest: lorraine c. miller,   
Clerk