Green Roundup: Conservation groups prepare for lawsuit over Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan

RISK OF EXTINCTION: Conservation groups involved in the lawsuit over the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan argue that it puts endangered species at risk of extinction. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service

The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of MountainTrue, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue to the U.S. Forest Service in relation to its Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan. According to SELC, the proposed plan violates the Endangered Species Act and puts endangered forest bats at risk. The U.S Forest Service previously released a 419-page document responding to objections; however, opponents argued that the document knowingly withheld information.

At its most basic level, the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan outlines where activities like logging and road building are prioritized and restricted. The plan, initially published in February, states that the use of sustainable practices to maintain environmental stability was of the highest priority during its development. However, the conservation groups argue that the plan does the opposite.

“The Forest Service’s management plan for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests is deeply flawed. The Forest Service put commercial logging first, ignored the best science available and is needlessly putting endangered species at risk of extinction,” said Josh Kelly, public lands field biologist for MountainTrue, in a press release. “MountainTrue and our litigation partners are willing to go to court to win a plan that we can all be proud of.”

The Notice of Intent to Sue alleges the Forest Service had information showing increased risks to endangered species but withheld that information from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees endangered species protection. As of publication time, the U.S. Forest Service has not responded to the notice or requests for comment. The agency has 60 days from the day that the notice was issued to take action before litigation is pursued.

Clean Air Excellence Award presented to Dynamite Coffee

The Asheville-Buncombe Air Quality Agency awarded Dynamite Roasting Co. in Black Mountain with the Clean Air Excellence Award. According to a press release from the agency, the award is given to businesses and organizations that “surpass air quality rules and regulations to adopt voluntary, innovative programs that include emissions reductions that lead to improved air quality and regional visibility.”

The company recently installed solar panel systems at its production facility in Swannanoa and coffee shop in Black Mountain. In 2022, it became the first local business to invest in an electric delivery van, furthering the goal of positive environmental stewardship. According to the release, the emissions reductions associated with the renewable energy systems and the electric delivery van equal about 102,600 pounds of greenhouse gasses, 50 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 10 pounds of sulfur dioxide and fine particles per year.

Good to Know

  • For the past several weeks, toxic smoke from Canadian wildfires has spread across North America, creating potentially unsafe air conditions in several major cities, including Asheville. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with air sensitivity issues wear an N95 mask to help prevent smoke and ash from getting into their lungs. More information can be found at
  • With the help of over 60 volunteers, Asheville GreenWorks was able to complete their heat mapping campaign of the greater Asheville area. GreenWorks will work with the city of Asheville to use the final heat data to target tree planting and tree canopy restoration projects to the most heat-vulnerable neighborhoods. The full analysis is slated to be released to the public in February.
  • In an effort to promote environmental sustainability and reduce plastic waste, the City of Asheville has implemented a new ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags for brush and leaf collection. To assist with this transition, the city has provided paper yard waste bags for residents to sample. Reusable containers marked yard waste are also possible options. More information can be found at
  • Multiple road projects are taking place along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which may lead to road closures throughout the season. Parkway officials encourage visitors to plan ahead and check the latest closure information at
  • The WNC Nature Center recently welcomed two new coyote puppies to its facility. The pups, named Cal and Walker, are still getting acclimated to their new surroundings and will soon be on exhibit in the Predator Pavilion while the current coyote habitat undergoes renovations.
  • During the week of Aug. 14, the Environmental Protection Agency continued its cleanup work at the CTS of Asheville Superfund Site, 235 Mills Gap Road. The site, which was used to manufacture electrical components for automobiles in the late ’50s, was found to be contaminated with trichloroethylene and fuel oil in 2012. After the cleanup is finished, groundwater monitoring will continue every six months in the treatment area until the EPA’s regulatory goals have been met.
  • The Asheville Recyclery, a local nonprofit dedicated to recycling and repairing old bicycles, is asking for assistance in finding a new space for its operations. The agency needs about 1,000 square feet in either downtown or the River Arts District. To help, visit

Save the Date

  • Buncombe County Recreation Services is hosting a fall family campout at Lake Julian Park, 37 Lake Julian Road in Arden, on Saturday, Sept. 9. The annual event is family friendly and designed for first-time campers. Registration is open until Thursday, Aug. 31. More information can be found at
  • Bullington Gardens, a local nonprofit horticultural learning center and botanical garden in Hendersonville, is hosting its Fall Plantapallooza Sale from Friday-Saturday, Sept. 8-9, 9-a.m.-4 p.m. An early bird special invitation is available to all Friends of Bullington members. More information can be found at
  • MountainTrue is hosting its fourth annual virtual fishing tournament Friday, Aug. 26, to through Monday, Sept. 4. Competitors can take a picture of any fish they catch within the allotted dates to be entered. Recognition as the “Broad’s Best Angler” will be given to the fisher who has the highest combined total length of the three biggest fish. More information can be found at
  • The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s annual Farm Tour returns Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 23-24. All farms on the tour are within an hour’s drive of Asheville and showcase the region’s agricultural diversity, from fruits and vegetables to livestock and fiber. More information and passes are available at
  • The WNC Gardening Symposium, organized by the region’s Extension Master Gardeners, comes to Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock on Wednesday, Oct. 11. With the theme of “Seeds of Joy: The Evolution of Your Home Garden,” the event will feature YouTube personality Linda Vater and Craig Mauney of the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research and Extension Center. More information is available at
  • The WNC Nature Center is hosting a Junior Wild Walk zookeeper experience on Sunday, Sept. 10, 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Participants will meet an animal ambassador, take a peek behind the scenes and step into the shoes of the animal keepers by helping to prepare and deliver enrichment for several animals. This program is for children ages 5-12. More information can be found at

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About Chase Davis
Chase Davis is an Asheville-based reporter working for Mountain Xpress. He was born and raised in Georgia and holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from LaGrange College. Follow me @ChaseDavis0913

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One thought on “Green Roundup: Conservation groups prepare for lawsuit over Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan

  1. Voirdire

    many many thanks to all the parties that have signed onto the Southern Environmental Law Center intent to sue the US Forest Service in respect to their deeply flawed ten year forest “plan” for the Pisgah and Nantahala forests …or should we just call is what it is… their plan to log our public forests here in WNC on behalf of the timber and biomass industry that they’re so beholden to.

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