On Nov. 18, nonprofit Conserving Carolina announced that it had entered a contract to buy an unused 19-mile rail corridor between Brevard and Hendersonville for conversion into a greenway. Backers hope the Ecusta Trail will become a regional draw for running and biking enthusiasts.
Deteriorating forest roads damage the ecosystem and limit access essential for forest management and the forest-product economy.
“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.”
Restaurants, pools and personal care services — including salons and barber shops — will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, while child care facilities, day camps and overnight camps can open with “enhanced cleaning and screening requirements.”
“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?”
All meetings on the U.S. Forest Service schedule of open house sessions planned for March across Western North Carolina have been cancelled, with the 90-day comment period underway.
On Feb. 14, the U.S. Forest Service kicked off a 90-day comment period on the long-awaited draft of a new plan for the forests, set to take effect in 2021 and guide the service’s management approach over the next 10-15 years. Comment online, by mail and at public meetings throughout WNC ends on Thursday, May 14.
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.
Later this month, the N.C. Forest Service will help the city of Asheville carry out a series of controlled burns on at least 95 acres around the North Fork and Bee Tree Reservoirs, thereby reducing the risk of more severe fires in a watershed that serves more than 125,000 area residents.
While the long-running planning process has made considerable progress toward a consensus vision for the forest, sticking points do still remain. Conservationists continue to disagree with some hunting advocates and logging industry groups about protected area designations and the exact extent of active management on the land.
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.
“This is a remarkable environmental success story! Many agencies and organizations can be proud of their contributions to this. Together, they’ve demonstrated that bold action at many different levels can successfully address serious environmental issues.”
Economically and ecologically valuable, oak trees dominate the forests of our region. But forest experts say that when the mature oak and hickory forests are cut, they are increasingly being replaced by fast-growing and aggressive yellow poplar. Researchers have been seeking solutions to the problem for decades, with little success. A new study in Bent Creek hopes to change that.
Whether triggered by climate change or normal variability in cycles of temperature and drought, recent wildfires have been some of the most extensive in living memory. With tens of thousands of acres burned, scientists and fire management officials weigh in on the effects of the fires.
As a very dry fall moves toward winter, municipalities, officials, scientists, farmers and citizens all ponder the deepening effects of the drought in Western North Carolina.
As Dogwood Alliance celebrates its 20th anniversary, the local organization reflects on its accomplishments influencing the wood sourcing practices of some of America’s largest corporations. Now the group is poised to take on an even larger challenge: fighting European environmental regulations that Dogwood Alliance says are paradoxically endangering Southern forests.
Press release from U.S. Forest Service and Southern Area Incident Management Team: Incident Resources: 17 crews, 6 helicopters, 1 fixed wing, 64 engines, 16 dozers, 4 water tenders, and 809 total personnel. Boteler Fire (Clay County): The fire continues to be active due to dry conditions and continually falling leaves. Light winds yesterday enabled crews […]
“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. “
While growing food and other crops beneath the forest canopy isn’t new — it’s been practiced by indigenous and traditional cultures around the world for centuries — a new focus on forest farming is highlighting the possibilities of forest-based production of non-timber crops in Western North Carolina.
“Let’s keep Big Ivy just the way it is — wild, scenic, adventurous and uncut.”