Since 2012, the Grandfather Restoration Collaborative has been working on restoration projects across the district. Now only six years into the eight-year project timeframe, the project has already exceeded its restoration goal of 40,000 acres. These projects include removing dense understory fuels to reduce wildfire risk, restoring shortleaf pines to sites they would historically have been found, increasing wildlife openings and forage, treating hemlocks against the hemlock wooly adelgid, creating a sustainable trail system and improving the health of rivers and watersheds.
“The collaborative group’s dedication has been key to achieving these amazing accomplishments. Partners have devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to supporting projects that result in a healthier, more diverse forest,” said District Ranger Nick Larson. “We have demonstrated through collaboration the pace and scale of restoration activities can increase significantly.”
The group includes an array partners, including the Foothills Land Conservancy, MountainTrue, National Wild Turkey Foundation, N.C. Forest Service, N.C. State Parks, N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, Southern Environmental Law Center, The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Western Carolina University and Wild South.