A new bill that would expand wilderness areas in the state of Tennessee has passed in the Senate committee and is on its way to the floor.

The bill, passed out of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committee Tuesday. It would expand the boundaries of five existing wilderness areas within the Cherokee National Forest.

We have two of the five areas in the Tri-Cities -- the Sampson Mountain Wilderness in Washington and Unicoi Counties would gain over 2,900 acres.

The Big Laurel Branch Wilderness in Carter and Johnson Counties would grow by over 4,400 acres.