Shawnee National Park?

Read the full story in the Illinois Times.

A grassroots proposal fueled by opponents of logging and other concerns is gaining traction to transform the 289,000-acre Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois into a national park and the nation’s first climate preserve.

Proponents argue the designation would protect a valuable, incredibly diverse major ecosystem from destruction by logging and mining interests. They contend the current government agency that oversees the Shawnee, the U.S. Forest Service, sees the forest only for its trees as a lumber source.

But the proposal has many skeptics who say the U.S. Forest Service has gotten better at managing the Shawnee. They argue that if the national park and climate preserve plan is approved, unchecked invasive species growth could destroy what is currently a vital recreational and economic resource for the region.

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