The Land Between Two Wildernesses – A Photo Essay

I like to do most of my summertime hiking in the high country to avoid the heat, and the bugs. It’s like getting extra, added months of spring. So when the first week of summer rolled around, I thought of that section of Pisgah National Forest that lies between Shining Rock and Middle Prong Wildernesses, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hwy 215, and Black...

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Just Another Day at Stunning Roan Highlands – A Photo Essay

Ho. Hum. Just another day at Roan Highlands. Now, obviously I’m being facetious. Roan Highlands is probably my favorite place to go in all of Western North Carolina, especially in mid-June when it is catawba rhododendron and flame azalea time. It’s exciting to hike on the iconic Appalachian Trail, the views of Tennessee and North Carolina on either side of...

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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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Scanning the Horizon from the Black Balsam High Country – A Photo Essay

When looking for some WNC high country scenery and perhaps refreshing cool air on a warm day, one of the first destinations I think of is the Black Balsam area at milepost 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are half a dozen mountains here that stand above 6,000 feet, with encompassing 360° views from their treeless summits. This land that lies between the Shining...

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The Green, Green, Greening of Spring – A Photo Essay

Pisgah National Forest comes alive in early May. It seems as though the greening happens almost overnight. Daniel Ridge Loop Trail is an amazing place to experience the changing of the forest from its sleepy, drab brown hues to the vibrant verdant that fills the senses. The creek along the pathway is the most picturesque in Pisgah Ranger District in my opinion, and the...

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Yellowstone Prong, Blue Ridge Parkway

Yellowstone Prong has some of the most rugged terrain in all of the Pisgah Ranger District. Paralleling the Blue Ridge Parkway from Looking Glass Rock Overlook at milepost 417, and climbing the drainage from Skinny Dip Falls to Yellowstone Falls, this hike in, along, and above Yellowstone Prong may be the most challenging mile I have undertaken. You will scramble over...

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Pisgah National Forest grows with Mills River purchase

Just in time for spring trout season, anglers get an extra section of pristine river to savor. And the gift extends to all nature lovers who now get to roam free on a new – and critical – slice of Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, NC. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and South Asheville landowner Tom Oreck...

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Cradle of Forestry 2017 Season Kicks Off April 8

The Cradle of Forestry in America historic site will begin the 2017 season on April 8 with a living history event, “Old Time Plowing and Folkways.” David and Diane Burnette from Haywood County will demonstrate how their Percheron draft horses work the land the old way. Weather permitting, they will plow the Cradle’s vegetable garden along the Biltmore...

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Shut-in Ridge Trail to Ferrin Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway

The Shut-in Ridge Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail are one as they traverse the Blue Ridge from the North Carolina Arboretum to Mt. Pisgah. Along the way, there are several jumping on and off points where you can access this trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway, enabling short day hikes. One of these short sub-sections is along Bent Creek Gap Road at BRP milepost 400....

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Changes in the works for congested Pisgah Forest entrance

Several modifications could be on the way to help alleviate traffic congestion at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, improve the intersection of Highways 276 and 64, and bring more pedestrian access to the area. The N.C. Department of Transportation has submitted several projects for funding, one that would widen Highway 276 at the entrance to the forest, one to...

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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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Buck Spring to Pilot Rock, Pisgah National Forest

Starting at the former site of George Vanderbilt’s Buck Spring hunting lodge near Mt. Pisgah, this hike crosses the summit of Little Bald Mountain before dropping down the watershed to Pilot Rock, one of the many plutons found within the Pisgah Ranger District. The high country is home to thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, while various maples, oaks and...

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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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New District Ranger Selected for the Pisgah Ranger District

The National Forests in North Carolina announced that Dave Casey will oversee management and operations as the new District Ranger of the Pisgah Ranger District starting October 31, 2016. “Dave has an excellent record with partnerships and collaborative experience and a tremendous background in natural resource management,” said Allen Nicholas, Forest...

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Fall Foliage Time on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

There aren’t many places in Western North Carolina better for Autumn leaf peeping than the Blue Ridge Parkway. On Monday, October 17, 2016 I set out to demonstrate that by taking a little tour between mileposts 410 and 420. But first I had to get there. I went up the Pisgah Ridge on Scenic Hwy 276, passing the Cradle of Forestry along the way. I arrived at the Cold...

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Cradle of Forestry Invites Nature Enthusiasts to Pink Beds Bioblitz

The Cradle of Forestry in America invites nature enthusiasts of all ages and knowledge levels to the first Pink Beds Bioblitz. Join naturalists and scientists Friday, September 23, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 24 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to discover the diversity of life in this special part of Pisgah National Forest. This free fun event in...

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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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Mega Work Day Planned for Pisgah Ranger District

The Pisgah Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service, and a host of supporting organizations have announced a broad based volunteer work day in the Pisgah Ranger District called “Pisgah Pride Day 2016,” which is being planned in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016. Work crews will convene at different locations on Saturday, September 24, and...

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Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Confirmed in North Carolina

Forest health officials with the U.S. Forest Service have discovered declining ash trees due to infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB) whose presence was confirmed on the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest and on private lands along the French Broad River from the Tennessee state line to Marshall, NC. Decline and death of ash from EAB occurs in...

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Foggy Morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway – A Photo Essay

Every couple weeks or so during the green seasons I travel up to milepost 413 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Friends of the BRP has a volunteer program called Adopt-an-Overlook that I have participated in for six years. I am responsible for keeping Pounding Mill Overlook clean and green, trash free, and desirable for the tourists. Saturday, August 13, 2016 was one of those...

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Key tract protected near Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway

For many visitors heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway via the twisting, mountainous ribbon of road known as N.C. 80, the rippling ride and scenic views might satisfy their appetite before ever reaching the national park. But the land surrounding the switchbacks of N.C. 80 have all been privately owned, leaving it vulnerable to development or timbering, and diminished...

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First Trail Bridge at North Carolina’s Catawba Falls Complete

The first of two trail bridges on the Catawba Falls Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District is complete. In partnership with McDowell County, North Carolina State Parks, and a federal Recreational Trails Program grant, the Pisgah National Forest has rerouted the Catawba Falls trail and installed a trail bridge crossing the Catawba River. The Forest Service will be...

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Summer Solstice on Sam Knob – A Photo Essay

The summer solstice occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, in either northern or southern hemispheres, is most inclined toward the Sun. Most cultures have marked this occasion in some ritualized manner and from time immemorial people have acknowledged the rising of the sun on the summer solstice. At Stonehenge, the heelstone marks the midsummer sunrise as seen...

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Appalachian Trail from Yellow Mountain Gap to Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains

You can see them from Roan Highlands. They appear when viewed from Linville Gorge and Grandfather Mountain too. The long, green balds that comprise Little Hump and Big Hump Mountains stick out like limes in a grapefruit basket. And, you can see all those other landmarks from the Hump Mountains. The iconic Appalachian Trail (AT) arrives from the Highlands of Roan to...

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Reopening of Courthouse Creek Road

Courthouse Creek Road (Forest Service Road 140), located in the Pisgah Ranger District off Highway 215 just north of Balsam Grove in Transylvania County, NC will reopen Friday, June 10, 2016 at 10 am. Other work in the area is ongoing so visitors should be aware of the potential for construction traffic. The road had been closed while the U.S. Forest Service replaced a...

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Cradle of Forestry to Host Woodsy Owl’s Curiosity Club

The Cradle of Forestry in America in the Pisgah Ranger District announced that it will hold a nature and educational series titled “Woodsy Owl’s Curiosity Club” every Thursday this summer, beginning June 9, 2016 and ending August 11. Programs are held from 10:30 am to noon and 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. “The Curiosity Club allows kids, ages 4 to 7, and...

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Point Lookout Trail Closing for Repairs

North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest will temporarily close the Point Lookout Trail on the Grandfather Ranger District for repairs starting May 31, 2016. Repairs to the paved walking and biking trail are expected to take 90 days, and the trail is anticipated to reopen by September 1. The Point Lookout Trail connects Mill Creek Road in Ridgecrest to Old U.S. 70...

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Grant awarded to expand Pisgah National Forest, enhance water quality

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy today was awarded $100,000 for its Sitton Creek Protection and Restoration project, which will enhance water quality in the Mills River watershed and expand public access by adding 178 acres to Pisgah National Forest. CMLC was one of Duke Energy’s Water Resources Fund grant recipients. Duke Energy today announced grant awards...

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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...

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Asbury Trail at Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Historic Asbury Trail straddles the boundary between the Smokies national park and the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. It is named for Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury who, in the early 19th century, brought his traveling ministry to this area that would eventually become a national park more than a hundred years later. It was also formerly known as...

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