Letter writer: Big Ivy forest needs your voice for protection

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Treasured forests in our area, including Big Ivy near Barnardsville, need our protection. Please add your voice before the ‪Dec. 15 deadline in supporting a wilderness designation for Big Ivy, where some of the few remaining remnants of old-growth forest still stand. If cut, they can never be replaced. They are worthy of protection, and not just for 10 or 20 more years — they need to be protected forever by including them in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

A coalition of over 16 outdoor organizations support the wilderness area and backcountry area designations for Big Ivy that will safeguard the forest for all users, including bikers, hikers, hunters, anglers, climbers and equestrians, a proposal that has widespread support from the local Big Ivy community. A backcountry management area has been recommended for trail networks.

With this designation, people can experience the healing power of nature. Merely walking through a forest landscape has been proven to significantly lower levels of stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate. Animals and plants, many rare, endemic ones, can continue to live and flourish.

Deforestation is a huge concern all over the world. We can set an example to other peoples and other nations by protecting Big Ivy, as well as other forests and rivers in Buncombe and nearby counties. Two weeks remain for us to add our support to our regions’ “outstanding remarkable value,” part of the identification process needed so that our forests are included in the National Wilderness Preservation System (as part of the USDA Forest Service Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan Revision).

Please add your voice ‪before Dec. 15 by emailing ncplanrevision@fs.fed.us. Further information and detailed forms can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc. Maps, frequently asked questions, and a sample letter are also available at friendsofbigivy.org.

— Victoria Reiser
Reva Spawn


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