Interactive media forum looks at the future of WNC’s forests

Carolina Public Press is making the news again for its in-depth, interactive-style journalism.

After completing this year’s News Exchange series, the local nonprofit media outlet begins a new venture, Newsmakers — giving the public firsthand access to expert discussion on pressing issues in WNC.

The first event in the series, “The Future of WNC’s National Forests,” will be held tomorrow morning, featuring a live interview followed by a public Q-and-A period with panelists from National Forests of North Carolina, American Whitewater, The Wilderness Society and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

On the Newsmaker forums, CPP’s founder and editor Angie Newsome says it’s “basically a conversation series on public policy issues facing WNC, bringing together some of the top local, regional, statewide journalists to have a live interview with panelists — people in the news, making the news, influencing the news.”

In October, CPP launched a month-long series examining the re-planning process for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, which affects more than 1 million acres, Newsome says (click here for “part two” of the series). “That process can have really tremendous cultural, environmental, economical influence on WNC.”

CPP’s investigation, “Forest Lookouts,” was the inspiration behind this particular Newsmakers forum. “What we’re trying to do is coincide the Newsmaker forums with an in-depth investigative reporting project we’re doing,” Newsome explains. And next year, “we’ll hold four of those — one per quarter, in addition to the News Exchanges.”

Tomorrow’s forum features Jack Igelman at Carolina Public Press, the reporter behind Forest Lookouts; Kristin Bail of National Forests of North Carolina; Kevin Colburn of American Whitewater; Hugh Irwin of The Wilderness Society and Gordon Warburton of NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

“Hiking through the national forests, paddling a river or fishing a stream, you can’t see the plan,” writes Igelman in the intro to his article. “But this process – which will ultimately oversee more than 1 million acres in 18 mountain counties using a process that has been largely untested on the East Coast – will have innumerable impacts on Western North Carolina’s residents, economies and environment.

“In Forest Lookouts, CPP will pull back the layers of bureaucracy to report on the plan’s players and leaders, analyze the plan’s inception and implementation, find what community leaders, elected officials and conservationists think are the biggest issues facing the forests and explore the best ways to manage the forest for future generations — all to help residents across North Carolina understand what’s going on and how to participate.”

The first Newsmakers forum will take place tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 13, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Handmade in America, 125 S. Lexington Ave. #101, in Asheville.

Click here to reserve a seat at Newsmakers: The Future of WNC’s National Forests.

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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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