The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests: An Economic Powerhouse for Western North Carolina

  If you’re one of the 4.6 million people who visit the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests each year, you already know how incredible this corner of the Southern Appalachians is. Perhaps you’ve paddled down the Tuckasegee River, climbed at Looking Glass, or hiked in Linville Gorge. No matter your preferred form of adventure, you know the Nantahala-Pisgah...

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Marci Spencer – Author and Historian

Healer of bodies and forests   A retired nurse practitioner, Marci Spencer is the author of Clingmans Dome: Highest Mountain in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest: A History, and the recently released Nantahala National Forest: A History all published by The History Press. Her children’s book, Potluck, Message Delivered: The Great Smoky Mountains Are...

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Nantahala, Pisgah forest planning focuses on recreation

The Access Fund is one of many members of the two collaborative groups – the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership and the Stakeholders Forum – working on recommendations for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision. The years-long project holds the potential to change the way millions of people use the two giant forests that spread across the mountains of Western North...

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Your 1 Million Acres: The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. They...

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The Future of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Belongs to You

You are the owner of a 1.1-million acre mountain estate. Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your...

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Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests Designated as Treasured Landscape by National Forest Foundation

Since the establishment of eastern National Forests at the beginning of the 20th century, the forests of western North Carolina have been recognized and valued for their importance to scenic outdoor experiences and directly connected to the health of the region. The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in particular cover a remarkable and unique landscape, spanning the...

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Sugar Creek Gap, Nantahala National Forest

Remote. This little slice of Nantahala National Forest is truly far from anything. Once you are a mile into the woods from the trailhead, there is next to no evidence of human activity. It’s hard to know how many folks come here to hike, but there aren’t many boot prints in the mud. There are, however, plenty of deer tracks… and wildflowers. Wow, are...

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U.S. Forest Service to Hold Open Houses on Pisgah & Nantahala Forest Plan Revision

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August, 2017 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision. “Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your...

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North Carolina man admitted to setting 2 wildfires in Nantahala National Forest, authorities say

Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man is accused of setting two wildfires. The U.S. Department of Justice says 49-year-old Keith Eugene Mann Franklin was arrested Wednesday, November 30, 2016 on one count of destroying property by means of fire. According to an affidavit, a wildfire was reported on Oct. 27 inside the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County....

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TOTAL FIRE BAN in effect for Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina are implementing a TOTAL FIRE BAN due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Beginning on November 10, 2016, the following restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining,...

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Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Fire Restrictions

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will implement fire restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast. Effective October 28, 2016, the following fire restrictions are in place for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests until further notice: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire,...

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Forest Service to Hold Open Houses at WNC District Offices

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses at district offices on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in September and October, 2016 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with forest staff about local issues, district projects, and forest plan revision. The open houses will have a flexible format allowing the public to come at any time during the...

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Mountains to Sea Trail Near Old Bald, Nantahala National Forest

Love the high country in summer. It’s like getting an extra month of spring. For much of its length through the Western North Carolina mountains, the Mountains to Sea Trail parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is an area near mile marker 434 on the Parkway, beneath Old Bald, where the MST winds through mixed forest and high mountain meadows teeming with...

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Winter hiking at Tsali

Tsali Recreation Area in the Nantahala National Forest is well-known for its mountain biking and equestrian trails, but it can also be a great off-season hiking destination. Four loop trails totaling nearly 40 miles occupy an area along the shores of Fontana Lake, which forms part of the southern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area (pronounced...

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Waterrock Knob Across the Plott Balsams Range, Blue Ridge Parkway

Sometimes things just don’t go exactly as planned. But making the most of what’s available is what sets hiking apart. Everything doesn’t have to go perfectly to still enjoy the day. Such was the case with this hike across the Plott Balsams mountain range from Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’re in rarefied air here, with the entire...

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Slickrock Creek Trail to Lower Falls, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness

Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness straddles the North Carolina / Tennessee line near the southern borders of the states, with about 75% of its 17,000 acres contained in NC. Six trailheads provide access to more than 60 miles of trail within the designated wilderness, which typically follow ridge tops or drop into the shady drainages. Perhaps the most atypical trail...

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Bob Stratton Bald via Connector 54A, Nantahala National Forest

Deep in the remote southwestern corner of North Carolina where the scenic Cherohala Skyway climbs to meet Tennessee at Beech Gap, the Bob Bald Connector Trail (54A) climbs a ridge through Nantahala National Forest to Bob Stratton Bald. One of the lush mountaintop meadows the Southern Appalachians are known for, Bob Bald as it is called, straddles a boundary between...

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Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Wonderful sights in the Land of the Noonday Sun

A gnarled old oak tree sits atop Bly Gap at 3,800 feet on the Appalachian Trail, famously marking the boundary between Georgia and North Carolina. The Tar Heel State, the second on the northbound thru-hiker’s agenda, wastes no time with fancy introductions, putting a couple of brutally steep 4,000-footers directly ahead: Courthouse Bald and the aptly named Sharp Top....

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Devils Elbow Trail, Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest

Even though Devils Elbow is a mountain summit, the highlights of the Devils Elbow Trail in Panthertown are the myriad of waterfalls on the Tuckasegee River. The river forms at the confluence of Panthertown and Greenland Creeks, then takes a wild ride over several falls on its way eventually to Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most of this hike is on maintained...

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WNC’s National Forests at crossroads

On Oct. 21, 2014 the U.S. Forest Service unveiled draft management area boundaries that put 692,700 acres — about 69 percent — of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in management areas that make “timber production, for the purposeful growing and harvesting of crops of trees to be cut into logs” the “primary or secondary use of the land.” Today, the Nantahala-Pisgah is one...

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Comments Sought on Wilderness and Other Proposals by Jan. 5

The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina is seeking public input on the draft proposals presented at public meetings this fall. Comments will be most helpful if received by Jan. 5, 2015. In addition, the agency has posted its new online collaborative tool where people can post comments on potential additions to wilderness as part of revision of the...

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Prescribed Burns Planned for Nantahala Ranger District

The U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a series of prescribed burns in the Nantahala Ranger District, Nantahala National Forest, this fall. Weather will dictate the dates of the prescribed burns. All four sites are located in southern Jackson County. The Moses Creek area burn units are: Coward Bald (684 acres) Moses Creek (158 acres) The Panthertown area burn unit is:...

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Forest Lookouts: Deciding the future of WNC’s national forests

This story launches a Carolina Public Press in-depth reporting project about the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests which are – for the first time in 20 years – undergoing an extensive re-planning process. Hiking through the national forests, paddling a river or fishing a stream, you can’t see the plan. But this process – which will ultimately oversee...

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Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Plan Revision Meeting Schedule

The National Forests in NC will be holding the next round of public meetings this October and November to share information about the proposed Forest Management Plan, including potential management areas and desired conditions. The meeting will open with a presentation on significant issues, management areas, and the development of plan components. The Forest Service...

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Temporary Closure of Ball Creek Road (NFSR 83) in Nantahala National Forest

The US Forest Service today announced that Ball Creek Road (NFSR 83), located in Macon County, NC on the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest, will be temporarily closed for its entire length from approx. September 29th, 2014 until late October, depending on the duration of the road work. Ball Creek Road begins at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory and...

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What’s the future for the Pisgah, Nantahala National Forests?

From the crags of Grandfather Mountain to the glow of Shining Rock; from the gape of Linville Gorge to the plunge of Looking Glass; Western North Carolina’s forests offer a trove of treasured destinations. These woods birthed the nation’s first school of forestry and continue to host the gauntlet of the Appalachian Trail. But what’s in store for the future of the forest?...

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Forest users negotiate need for wilderness in new management plan

Western North Carolina is covered with more than 1,500 square miles of national forest, and residents often measure their assets in terms of towering hardwoods, flocks of turkeys and mountain streams. National forest land belongs to everybody, but “everybody” includes a pretty diverse group of hikers, bird watchers, hunters, mountain bikers, horseback riders, fishermen,...

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Forest Service seeks input on plans for wilderness

Is it the mesmerizing Looking Glass Falls or the endless views from the top of Shining Rock that draw you to Pisgah National Forest? Or maybe the towering, ancient trees of Joyce Kilmer Wilderness that you love draw you to Nantahala National Forest. Or are there other places you think should be designated as wilderness areas? The public can give input on their favorite...

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Dave Landreth – Griztrax (Part 2)

Researcher, Conservationist & Bushwhacker   Dave Landreth is an outspoken Southern Appalachian conservation advocate who, through years of researching wildlife in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, has developed a passion for protecting clean air and water, public lands and the plants and animals that live among us. His penchant for collecting plaster...

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Dave Landreth – Griztrax (Part 1)

Researcher, Conservationist & Bushwhacker   Dave Landreth is an outspoken Southern Appalachian conservation advocate who, through years of researching wildlife in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, has developed a passion for protecting clean air and water, public lands and the plants and animals that live among us. His penchant for collecting plaster...

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