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City of Carbondale Passes Resolution of Support for Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve

RESOLUTION NO. 2022-R- 58


A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE REDESIGNATION OF THE SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST TO THE SHAWNEE NATIONAL PARK AND CLIMATE PRESERVE


WHEREAS, the Shawnee National Forest encompasses a 289,000 acre area in southern

Illinois stretching from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River which contains some of the most

ecologically biodiverse areas in the United States; and


WHEREAS, the Shawnee National Forest contains three designated geological areas, four

National Park Service Natural Area Landmarks, a National Historic Trail, five Physiographic Natural Divisions that collide, and seven designated Wilderness Areas; and


WHEREAS, the Shawnee National Forest is home to stunning scenery to include vistas

above Little Grand Canyon, LaRue Pine Hills, and Garden of the Gods; and


WHEREAS, the Shawnee National Forest has recreational opportunities at Bell Smith

Springs, Lusk Creek Canyon, Hutchins Creek, Burden Falls, and Fountain Bluff, among many

others; and


WHEREAS, the Carbondale City Council is committed to combating climate change and

adopted a Sustainability Action Plan on April 26, 2022 which included a focus on preserving tree

canopy; and


WHEREAS, preserving the natural resources and mature tree canopy of the Shawnee

forest will help sequester and store carbon which helps mitigate the effects of climate change,

further preserving this natural area; and


WHEREAS, the Shawnee National Forest is currently managed by the United States

Department of Agriculture through the United States Forest Service; and


WHEREAS, the United States Forest Service' focus is on resource extraction and

sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of national forests and grasslands to produce

healthy timber, grazing, wildlife, fish and other natural resources for the use of private interests;

and


WHEREAS, in order to change the management focus from resource extraction to

preservation of natural and cultural resources, education, and recreation while also ensuring the

sustainability of the Shawnee National Forest a change in designation to a National Park must be

approved by Congress; and


WHEREAS, changing the designation of the Shawnee from a National Forest to a National

Park would provide the resources needed to preserve the area but would require that the Shawnee's management be moved from the Forest Service to the National Park Service; and


WHEREAS, changing the designation from a National Forest to a National Park would

produce economic benefits to the entire southern Illinois region through an increase in tourism,

consumer spending, and job creation; and


WHEREAS, the National Park Service is a division of the Department of the Interior whose

mission is "to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, and cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world"; and


WHEREAS, changing the Shawnee Forest's designation to the Shawnee National Park and

Climate Preserve will best ensure that the human and capital resources are available to preserve the

Shawnee Forest region's biodiversity, maintain outdoor recreation activities including hunting,

trapping, and fishing, while also remaining sustainable for future generations.


NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY

OF CARBONDALE AS FOLLOWS:


SECTION 1. That the Carbondale City Council authorizes the Mayor of the City of

Carbondale to request that the Illinois congressional delegation initiate the process to transfer

management of the Shawnee Forest from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service

to the United States Department of Interior National Park Service.


SECTION 2. That the City Council authorizes the Mayor to request that the Governor of the

State of Illinois and the State of Illinois legislators serving the southern Illinois region join in supporting the Illinois Congressional delegation to initiate the change in designation from the Shawnee National Forest to the Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve.


SECTION 3. That the City Council ask that other cities in the southern Illinois region join the

City of Carbondale in supporting the creation of the Shawnee National Park and Climate Preserve.


SECTION 4. That this Resolution be spread at length upon the minute records of the City

Council of the City of Carbondale, Illinois.


This Resolution adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Carbondale on

the 13th day of December, 2022.

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