The road less traveled: Celebrating roadless wild areas this week

Unprotected wild places get some attention this week, as August 7-15 is National Roadless Recreation Week.  To celebrate our region’s remaining wild and roadless areas and raise awareness about their value, the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition invites folks to hike the crest of the Craggy Mountains along the Mountains to Sea Trail. Hikers should experience great views into the Craggy Mountain Roadless Area/Wilderness Study Area as the trail ascends around the Craggy Pinnacle; then enjoy a cool descent into the northern hardwood forest in an area that has been recommended for federal wilderness designation.

Trip leader Hugh Irwin says participants should expect a moderate 3-mile hike. Hikers can meet at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 8:30 AM and carpool from there. The hike will start at the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, at milepost 367 off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Call 828-252-9223 ext 103 to register and for additional information.

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One thought on “The road less traveled: Celebrating roadless wild areas this week

  1. Elizabeth O'Nan

    In order to maintain and preserve our stunning roadless and wild areas we shall need the cooperation of the US Forest Service and other related officials as well as organizations such as the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition. In our area near the Blue Ridge Parkway off of Scenic Hwy. 80 the Forest Service has refused to enforce the federal roadless laws in the Motor Vehicle Usage Map regulations. They have repeatedly encouraged bear hunters to invade roadless areas with their vehicles, and trespass over private land. Forest Service officials have known since 1996 that they had no Right of Way or Easement over Sugar Cove Road , and yet for their own personal use and the use of trespassing bear hunters they have maintained and illegally claimed this private road as a Forest Service Road. They continue to insist that they will not enforce the Motor Vehicle Usage Map that calls for fines of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for driving a vehicle on roads that are not on the map. Because Forest Service officials knowingly misrepresented Sugar Cove Road as a Forest Service road it has been improperly placed on the Motor Vehicle Usage Map and can not be taken off until the yearly update. This encourages further violations for yet another bear hunting season. This remote area is not supervised regularly or properly and is subject to criminal violence, drugs, excessive trash, unattended fires, excessive damage to the roads during winter months, poor sanitation, and chronic property damage and trespassing by bear hunters and their dogs.
    This year a resolution was passed at the Democratic Conventions in McDowell County and District 11, which includes Asheville and surrounding counties, to ban hunting with lose dogs. The McDowell County Democratic Party also voted to reverse the no hunting sign regulations so that property where hunting ‘is’ allowed would be posted and all other property would be considered non-hunting private property and not be required to be posted. This would eliminate the incentive for hunters to simply remove signs in order to trespass and avoid convictions. Passage of these laws will go a long way toward preserving roadless wild areas and restoring private property rights to those harassed by both bear hunters and their subsidiaries in the Forest Service.

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