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 specified hours and talk directly with Forest staff one-on-one. District rangers and members of the forest plan revision team will be present from 3 to 6 pm on each of the following days and locations:

– September 15, Nantahala Ranger District Office, 90 Sloan Rd, Franklin
– September 22, Cheoah Ranger District Office, 1070 Massey Branch Rd, Robbinsville
– September 27, Tusquitee Ranger District Office, 123 Woodland Dr, Murphy
– October 6, Grandfather Ranger District, 109 Lawing Dr, Nebo
– October 12, Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard
– October 13, Appalachian Ranger District Office, 632 Manor Rd, Mars Hill

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been revising their forest plan, a required document that provides a general framework to guide management of the forest. As part of the process, 24 public meetings have been held in communities throughout western North Carolina.

“A successful forest plan depends on the engagement of local residents, organizations, and local governments,” explains James Melonas, Deputy Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina. “We will continue to engage the public in a transparent and thoughtful manner.”

Throughout the spring and summer, the Forest Service has been releasing draft plan materials on the National Forests in North Carolina website. Additional materials will be available this fall and posted to the Plan Revision Under Construction page as they become available.

“Like all parts of our forest plan, we are accepting public feedback on these initial building blocks and we expect to make changes before we complete the draft plan,” said Michelle Aldridge, planning team lead. “Feedback will also help us shape our analysis. Specific feedback about desired changes, as well as information gaps is very useful at this stage.”

By fall 2016, the public will have had an opportunity for early review and input on nearly all aspects of the developing plan, and will again have an opportunity to review the plan during the formal comment period once a complete draft plan and alternative analysis are released.

While there is no formal NEPA or legal comment period at this time, the Forest Service is accepting input on the building blocks at [email protected] with the subject line “Summer building blocks” or by mail at this address: Attn: Plan Revision Team Leader; National Forests in North Carolina; 160 Zillicoa St. Suite A; Asheville, NC 28801.


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