USFS to study 300,000+ WNC acres for potential wilderness additions

As part of the ongoing, multiyear revision process for the Forest Plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating more than 300,000 acres in the forest for potential wilderness designation.

Wilderness areas are the nation’s highest form of land protection, designed to protect unspoiled areas for future generations. In wilderness areas, roads, vehicles and permanent structures are prohibited, as well as activities such as logging and mining.

Currently, there are six wilderness areas in the two national forests, including Linville Gorge, Shining Rock and Middle Prong in the Pisgah National Forest and Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, Southern Nantahala and Ellicott Rock in the Nantahala National Forest.

In 2014, the USFS invited the public to provide input on the areas to be included in an inventory to be further evaluated as potential wilderness area additions. After a broadening of the criteria for which areas could be added for wilderness consideration, 362,411 acres were included in the inventory for lands that may be suitable for wilderness, including 88,692 acres in the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest.

The next step is to evaluate each area on the inventory map for wilderness characteristics, including the degree to which the area generally appears to be affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprints of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; the degree to which the area has outstanding opportunities for solitude or for a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; the degree to which an area may contain ecological, geological or other features of scientific, educational, scenic or historical value; and the degree to which the area may be managed to preserve its wilderness characteristics.

Read full story…

 

Similar Posts: