For the Oak Ridge Reservation (AFORR)
What do we stand for?
for the Oak Ridge Reservation (AFORR) will encourage and support the preservation
of natural resources of the current Reservation, as well as the development
of uses that will be of greatest benefit to all those affected by its use.
The Oak Ridge Reservation is an important resource for scientific research
and technology development, education, and the local and regional economies.
Surrounding the major research and technology facilities are more than
20,000 acres of land that provide natural security for federal activities,
buffer local communities from potential safety risks, and provide a haven
for many species of plants and animals, some of which are threatened or
endangered. In addition, the Reservation provides recreational opportunities
for citizens of Oak Ridge and surrounding communities. We support
the continued preservation of the Oak Ridge Reservation for its current
and Technology: DOE designated the Oak Ridge National
Environmental Research Park in 1980 as one of seven such research parks
nationwide. Its objective was to provide protected lands for research
and education, particularly to demonstrate the compatibility of energy
technology development and a quality environment. The 20,000-acre
Oak Ridge Research Park provides exceptional opportunities for research
because of its established large-scale facilities, a security buffer that
protects research, long-term records of environmental conditions, and partnerships
with universities and industry. The Reservation also provides a land
reserve for possible future research. Without this land reserve,
the ORR would not have been a candidate site for new facilities such as
the planned Spallation Neutron Source. Research opportunities related
to the ORR, and international recognition as a Biosphere Reserve, attract
researchers from all over the world to Oak Ridge. They have helped
establish Oak Ridge as a national and world leader in research on global
climate change, contaminant behavior in the environment, and other aspects
of the relationship of both energy and nuclear weapons production with
the environment. More
When the federal government obtained land here and elsewhere for the development
of nuclear weapons technology, its acquisitions included large buffer areas
for security. Protected from fragmentation and disturbance over the
ensuing decades, these areas evolved into ecological sanctuaries of remarkable
size and diversity that contain species and ecological communities now
absent or uncommon in surrounding areas. The Oak Ridge Reservation is the
largest tract of relatively unfragmented native forest habitat remaining
in the Southern Ridge and Valley of East Tennessee, and contains more species
of breeding birds than any other single tract of land in Tennessee. The
ORR is home to 26 state-listed threatened and endangered plants, 20 federally
and state-listed animal species, with appropriate habitat for additional
listed wildlife species. The Research Park contains seven registered State
Natural Areas and has been recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve.
The size of the land resource has shrunk considerably in recent years,
so that only about 20,000 acres of the original 58,575 acres of the ORR
remain in a relatively undisturbed state. Any further reduction in
the size of the Reservation, even from the edges, could have serious consequences
for the viability of many of these species that require large unfragmented
tracts of forested land. More
Economy: The regional and local community receive benefits from
the economic value of the environmental research conducted on the ORR and
from the funding of new and existing facilities here to serve newly identified
national needs within the mission of DOE. Reducing the ORR in size would
greatly reduce the ability for Oak Ridge to attract large, job-generating
federal research projects relating to DOE's and other federal missions.
Health and Safety: Public
health and safety are protected both by environmental laws and regulations
and by the buffer zones that the ORR land provides. The local community
understands and accepts the risk associated with the DOE facilities as
long as the sites are effectively separated from the community.
Oak Ridge Research Park serves as a training ground for future researchers
and students from kindergarten to graduate school, as well as faculty and
community members. Research Park educational programs have reached
more than 85,000 pre-college students and teachers during the past five
years. In addition, the National Environmental Research Park, as
a result of its designation as an ORNL User Facility, has attracted more
than 700 students and researchers from colleges, universities, industries,
and other state and federal government agencies over the past five years.
ORR has current significant value and tremendous additional potential for
recreation for the region and the community. Currently, the Reservation
provides recreational opportunities ranging from the state-managed deer
and wild turkey hunts to greenways open to the public for hiking, bicycling,
and viewing wildlife, wildflowers, and natural scenery. The undisturbed
lands along Melton Hill Lake provide an ideal setting for boating and fishing.
Scenic roads through the Reservation are available for car tours and for
cycling. Photographers and artists frequently capture the natural beauty
of the area. The DOE also supports guided nature walks and bird watching
trips and Clark Center Recreation Park, which is widely used for picnics,
softball, volleyball, and other recreational activities.
Significance: The Oak Ridge Reservation has significant archeological,
historical, and cultural richness. Prehistoric sites, pre-World War
II homes, churches, and cemeteries, and wartime facilities link our past
and future. Of special interest are the sites and structures that supported
the historic Manhattan Project and activities during the Cold War era.
The physical setting and remote location were factors in the site's being
selected for the Manhattan Project -- the forested ridge-and-valley landscape
offered both secrecy and safety for the nearby residents.
Advocates for the
Oak Ridge Reservation will strive to increase awareness of the importance
of the ORR by educating the public, officials at all levels of government,
and members of the business community as to the multiple values described
above. The Oak Ridge Reservation is an integral part of the Oak Ridge
community, the region, and the nation. We will enthusiastically encourage
and support multiple uses of the Reservation that contribute to growth
and economic stability, while at the same time respecting its natural and
scientific resources and historical and cultural values. We recognize
that there are disagreements as to the most important values of the ORR,
but we seek to foster communication to gain support for commonly held values.
In particular, we will work to promote the success of the industrial reuse
program, while simultaneously looking for ways to protect the multiple
values of the ORR through cooperative relationships with DOE and the local
economic development interests.