At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Forest plan comment period extended, virtual open houses scheduled

Originally slated to end May 14, the public comment period for the Nantahala and Pisgah forest plan will now extend through June 29.

The period was elongated in response to disruption caused by the coronavirus. In particular, the crisis prevented the U.S. Forest Service from holding the open house events it had planned. Going forward, the planning team will host a series of virtual open houses during which they will answer public questions using conference calls. The open houses do not require internet access to attend.

Virtual open houses will be held:

  • Thursday, May 28, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 2, 7:30-9 a.m.
  • Thursday, June 4, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Monday, June 8, noon-1:30 p.m.

To join, call 888.251.2949 or 215.861.0694 using access code 3889103#.

Similar to an open house meeting, information will be organized by topics such as recreation, wildlife, timber and wilderness. In addition to the proposed plan and analysis, a full suite of supporting materials is already online, including a two-minute introductory video, a visual reader's guide, an overview presentation, detailed presentations, questions and answers on multiple topics and interactive maps.

Submit questions in advance by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This email address is exclusively for submitting questions for the telephone question and answer sessions. Comments on the proposed plan must be submitted through the online commenting system or by mail. For more information, including the aforementioned supporting materials and instructions for submitting questions and comments, visit

Go to top