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. The Pisgah Conservancy’s efforts will be focused on sustainable recreational usage of the Forest, watershed improvement, eradication of invasive species, removal of waste, litter, and graffiti, wildlife habitat improvement, and education.

“This is the 100th anniversary of Pisgah National Forest, and we benefit every day from the contributions of those who came before us.” “What happens in the next hundred years is up to us. We want to leave a legacy we can all be proud of, that we were exceptional stewards of Pisgah’s extraordinary resources.”

The Pisgah District is the most visited ranger district in North Carolina. “With funding declines and exponential growth in visitor use in recent decades, the US Forest Service is facing increased pressure to maintain trails and recreation facilities, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce threats from invasive species. Partnerships are critical to meeting this challenge,” explains Pisgah District Ranger Derek Ibarguen. “It has been a goal of mine since I took this job to find additional ways to engage partners to sustain and improve the Pisgah we all cherish so deeply. It’s exciting now to see The Pisgah Conservancy come into existence.”

Last fall Cottingham, Ibarguen, and Carlton Murrey, Executive Director of the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, recruited others and formed an Advisory Council to consider the feasibility of establishing an organization. The Council includes representatives of the Carolina Mountain Club, Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, Pisgah Backcountry Horsemen, Trout Unlimited, NC Mountain Trail Runners, and local businesses. In addition to Ibarguen, five U.S. Forest Service employees with expertise in a variety of disciplines have supported the Council from the outset.

 

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