CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- Conservationists are getting antsy that Congress for more than a year has failed to take up a bill that would cost nothing and protect 19,556 acres of Volunteer State wilderness — most of it in Southeast Tennessee.

The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2011, introduced in May 2011 by Sen. Lamar Alexander and co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, would expand five existing wilderness areas in the Cherokee National Forest and create the first new one in 25 years.

The five expansions include two in Polk County and one in Monroe County.

The new wilderness area also would be in Monroe County.

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