The latest Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land Management Plan was implemented last month and outlines land use for the next 20 years.
The recent decision to harvest 26 acres that encompass an old-growth patch of forest on a 3,500-foot mountaintop — the Southside Project — underscores what some say is the widening incongruity between the U.S. Forest Service’s mission, climate change crisis and the public’s will.
“We were willing to match any price bid on the value of the cut timber in exchange for what would amount to a 100-year carbon lease on those acres.”
“The U.S. Forest Service should reconsider its mission and focus less on ‘productivity’ for tree-harvesting and more on sustaining the health and diversity of our national forest lands, streams and rivers.”
“Amid constant change, our forests desperately need intentional manipulations and disturbances. Sure, left alone, Mother Nature will reset these lands for us: But it will be done through ice storms, wildfires and catastrophic, random events.”
The U.S. Forest Service offered four alternative management plans for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in 2020. It has decided to go with a fifth alternative.
Groups in Western North Carolina are continuing their projects while the U.S. Forest Service finalizes its choices for the comprehensive 20-year plan.
Forest supervisor James Melonas sets priorities for tenure as leader of state’s four national forests.
“Right now, the U.S. Forest Service is drafting the next forest management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests … and, unfortunately, the current draft is inadequate in a few very important ways when it comes to protecting water quality.”
Mike Diethelm, president and founder of Asheville-based SolFarm Solar Co., says a $10 million construction bond requirement for would-be bidders on the solar projects “knocks out so many local medium and small solar businesses, which we have a lot of in this town, and only opens it up to the big guys.”
“My whole world seems to be closing,” says Danny Bernstein, an Asheville-based outdoors writer who regularly leads hikes for the Carolina Mountain Club and Friends of the Smokies. “Staying 6 feet apart is easy on the trail. But how can we have outdoor activity if almost every piece of public land is closed?”
The U.S. Forest Service plans to harvest the majority of trees at 16 sites in Nantahala National Forest beginning next year as part of its Southside Project. Story by Jack Igelman, originally published by Carolina Public Press.
As people flock to Western North Carolina to take advantage of the region’s abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, they also bring a human impact to wild places.
Whatever their original purpose, many local dams are now seen as ecologically problematic. Nonprofits, community groups and government agencies throughout Western North Carolina are now working to remove this legacy of outdated dams. Although challenging, the process offers benefits for the wildlife, safety and recreation potential of the area’s waterways.
For the first time in 23 years, the U.S. Forest Service is revising its management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, and some participants in the long, drawn-out process say it could be going better.
“Unfortunately, the evaluation released by the Forest Service reduces the total acreage eligible for wilderness recommendation in the new forest plan by more than 80 percent. “
Tensions have boiled over within the Stakeholders Forum that has been seeking to build harmony on the Pisgah-Nantahala Forest plan revision after more than 40 organizations signed a memorandum of understanding supporting the creation of two National Recreation Areas in Western North Carolina.
The U.S. Forest Service sought further information on Monday, Nov. 16 in the early stages of its forest plan, which aims to classify select rivers and lands in the Nantahala and Pisgah forests as further protected under stricter levels of conservation.
What’s the future of Western North Carolina’s public woodlands, particularly the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests? Public lands biologist Josh Kelly has worked with the Asheville-based nonprofit, WNC Alliance, since 2011, helping determine the answer. And with the U.S. Forest Service updating its plans for Pisgah and Nantahala for the first time in 20 years, the […]
On Thursday, Nov. 13, the Asheville-based investigative news outlet Carolina Public Press hosted its first Newsmakers series — in this case, a lively discussion that dived questions about the U.S. Forest Service’s draft plan for 1 million acres of public lands in Western North Carolina. (photos by Pat Barcas)
The U.S. Forest Service will hold a number of public meetings to help draft a new land management plan for our local national forests. Part of this plan may include prescribed burns in popular areas. (Pictured: Forest Service helicopters during the last major wildfire in 2007; photo by Bill Rhodes)