FAQ: The effects of WNC’s 2016 fall fire season

Did the fires hurt wildlife? The impact will unlikely be large enough to affect overall populations, and long-term the fires will result in a flush of green in the understory that will ultimately benefit wildlife. Will the fires increase the chance of flooding and landslides? With more than a month elapsed since the report’s Dec. 12 completion and multiple heavy rains in...

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Citizen Scientists Invited To Document Biodiversity on Kaibab National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service wants visitors to the Kaibab to snap photos of plants and animals and submit them to an online database. The project will run throughout 2017. Mark Christiano, GIS coordinator, says participants need to download a free app called iNaturalist. “It automatically collects a lot of the data for us,” he explains. “So for example, you’re not just...

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Stay Safe in the Woods this Winter

The U.S. Forest Service encourages visitors to the National Forests of North Carolina to use caution when recreating this winter because of additional hazards in the woods. Natural settings have inherent risks and winter weather can increase the danger. Falling trees and branches are an ever-present hazard; the addition of snow and ice makes tree failure more likely....

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Congress passes bill to improve trail maintenance and preservation

Congress sent a bill to President Obama that would improve access to America’s National Forests through better trail maintenance and preservation. The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act would make better use of existing resources within the Forest Service to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in maintaining the usability and...

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Drought, Fire, and Forests

More than 6,300 firefighters from all over the U.S have been fighting forest fires that have now burned more than 119,000 acres in eight states across the Southeast, some of which have burned for over a month. The low humidity and lack of rain for more than three months in some areas has provided what Adam Rondeau from the inter-agency Southern Area Coordination Center...

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Joint Information Center Opens to Provide NC Wildfire Information

A joint information center is now open to provide timely and accurate information about wildfires in western North Carolina and related issues. This one-stop information center will provide the public with updates on wildfires, evacuations and shelters, road and trail closures, air quality, current burning restrictions, and the schedule for public meetings for wildfires....

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Colville National Forest looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs

The Colville National Forest is looking to fill 50 seasonal jobs in northeast Washington for next summer. Forest officials are going so far as to hold workshops to help applicants fill out forms. Applications must be submitted online at usajobs.gov from Nov. 15-21, 2016. Selections will be made from Feb. 13-17, 2017. Jobs would start anywhere from mid-April to mid-June,...

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Forest Service Asheville Office Temporarily Closing for Renovations

The U.S. Forest Service will temporarily close the visitors lobby in its Asheville office on Zillicoa for renovations during the week of October 24, 2016. The office is expected to re-open October 31. During the closure, visitor services will be available at other U.S. Forest Service offices including: Appalachian Ranger District 632 Manor Road Mars Hill, NC 28754 (828)...

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Managing Forests for Water: Challenges in the Anthropocene

Humans are enmeshed in an ancient and intricate relationship between forests and water, and as the impacts of climate change are felt across the globe, the relationship will become increasingly important. A special issue of the journal Forests, titled Forest Management and Water Resources in the Anthropocene, examines the interactions between forests, water, climate...

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National Forest Trail Bill Approved by House Committee

The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture has unanimously approved the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (HR 845). The bill, introduced by Congresswomen Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on...

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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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Citizen Science is Sound Science Provided by You

Have you ever seen a cool bird in your backyard and wondered if there was some way to share what you saw with others? Better yet, have you thought about sharing your observations and having them used to help study and conserve those birds? These thoughts are an indicator that you might have the makings of a great citizen scientist. The U.S. Forest Service and National...

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The Forest Health Advisory System

Do you want to know what pests are affecting the health of the trees on the national lands you visit or live near? The Forest Health Advisory System developed by U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection highlights potential future activities of more than 40 major forest pests and pathogens across 1.2 billion acres of U.S. forestland. Through a simple web interface,...

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Forest Service Founder Gifford Pinchot’s story

The life in which U.S. Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot was born into wasn’t much different than what millions of Downton Abbey fans have come to know through that popular PBS period drama: huge homes, servants and vast expanses of lands were the accoutrements of many in Pinchot’s class. On Aug. 11, 1865, the infant named Gifford, born at the Pinchot family’s...

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The Appalachian Ranger District Will Hold a Public Meeting to Discuss The “Twelve Mile” Project

The Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest will hold a public meeting on July 14 from 2-5 p.m. at the North Carolina Arboretum to learn the public interests and issues related to a developing proposal for the “Twelve Mile” project. The proposed area for the project is the southwestern most part of the Appalachian Ranger District adjacent to...

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US Forest Service Officer of the Year: Dedicated officer covers 192,000 acres by himself

As the sole law enforcement officer for 192,000 acres of the Grandfather Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest, U.S. Forest Service Officer Wade Keener of McDowell County, NC covers a lot of territory. Now he’s doing it carrying the title U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for the entire nation. “I never thought I would win,” Keener told The...

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Coalition Forms New Non-profit to Support Pisgah District

Representatives of a variety of Pisgah user groups, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, announced the formation of a North Carolina non-profit corporation called The Pisgah Conservancy. The new organization’s mission is to preserve the natural resources and scenic beauty of the Pisgah Ranger District and to enhance the experience of all visitors to Pisgah....

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Fire Danger High Across North Carolina

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of high fire danger across North Carolina. Fire danger is high across the state due to lack of rainfall in recent weeks and low humidity. Conditions across North Carolina are forecasted to remain dry for the next couple weeks. April typically marks the height of wildfire season in North...

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Saving Our Forest Heritage in a Vault

Trees are often referred to as the lungs of the earth, providing not only the oxygen we need to breathe but a filter to clean our air and water. Trees from forested lands provide timber for our homes, food for people and wildlife, protection from weather extremes and, in urban and rural settings, beautify cities and landscapes alike. As the largest steward of forested...

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Nicholas Named Forest Supervisor in North Carolina

Regional Forester Tony Tooke is pleased to announce the hiring of Allen Nicholas as Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina, headquartered in Asheville. Nicholas will oversee more than 1.25 million acres of public land stretched across four national forests. From the rugged and remote peaks of the Appalachians, to the tidal rivers and wetlands of the...

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Life after Hemlock: Restoring Riparian Forests in the Southern Appalachians

In the last decade, the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny sap-sucking insect native to Japan, has swept through southern Appalachian forests, leaving dead hemlocks in its wake. Hemlock branches no longer shade streams or tower over shrubs, and their loss has affected streamside, or riparian, forests. “Without hemlock, more sunlight reaches the forest floor,” says U.S....

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US Forest Service seeks applicants for Recreation Advisory Committee

Asheville, N.C. Oct 6, 2015 – The U.S. Forest Service is seeking nominations to fill 11 positions on a new Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee for national forests across the Southeast. The committee will take on the important task of recommending whether forests in 13 southern states and Puerto Rico adopt new recreation fees or change existing...

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America’s wildfire crisis is getting worse. Here’s what Congress can do.

We have reached a new fire normal, a clear signal that a changing climate will inevitably require an adjustment to how we manage our forests if we wish to maintain the benefits they offer, such as providing half of our nation’s water supply. In response to this unprecedented wildfire risk, for the first time in its history, the U.S. Forest Service will spend more than...

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WVU Students To Conduct Vistor Surveys on National Forests

Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, West Virginia University will conduct voluntary surveys of visitors recreating on the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests. Beginning Oct. 1, 2015 WVU students, and employees will host survey stations at developed recreation areas, trailheads, and along Forest Service roads. People who agree to...

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The Forest Service just had to divert another $250 million to fight wildfires

Top administration officials wrote Congress this week to urge it–once again–to change the way it budgets for firefighting in light of the disastrous wildfire season in the western United States. The Agriculture Department just informed lawmakers this week that it will have to transfer $250 million to fighting the forest fires now raging, which brings this fiscal year’s...

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With a stunning 7 million acres burned so far, the U.S. wildfire situation is looking dire

Wildfires are exploding across the western United States, overstretching resources and, in some states, resulting in tragic consequences. Some 30,000 firefighters and additional support staff are now fighting fires across the United States — the biggest number mobilized in 15 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. And it’s still not enough. Two hundred members of...

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Shifting Rainfall Patterns May Change Southern Appalachian Forest Structure

A new research study by U.S. Forest Service scientists finds that changes in rainfall patterns in the southern Appalachians due to climate change could reduce growth in six hardwood tree species common to the region. The findings have implications for forest managers in the Southeast, where climate variability (more extreme events or changes in precipitation...

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Forest Service Report: Rising Firefighting Costs Raises Alarms

For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation’s wildfires. A new report released today by the Forest Service estimates that within a decade, the agency will spend more than two-thirds of its budget to battle ever-increasing fires,...

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Temporary Trail Closure Announced Due to Wildfire in McDowell County, NC

NEBO, N.C., July 18, 2015 – An estimated 2 acre wildfire burning on Forest Service land near Bald Knob in McDowell County will require temporary closure of a section of the Mountains to Sea Trail between the footbridge over the North Fork of the Catawba River and Dobson Knob Road (Forest Service Road 106). The trail closure will be in effect until fire is declared...

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Forests Provide Clean Drinking Water for the South

A recent report by the U.S. Forest Service shows that for over 19 million people in the South – roughly the population of Florida – clean water begins in the region’s national forests. The report provides information at a level not previously available on the amount of surface drinking water national forest lands provide to communities in the South. The Forest Service...

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