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.

Stakeholders offer initial feedback on long-awaited forest management plan

The atmosphere inside the Lake Logan Conference Center was more akin to a reunion of friends than to a gathering of business associates as members of the Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision arrived Wednesday, Feb. 26 — and perhaps there’s good reason for that. 

Draft forest management plan released

After more than six years of work, a draft forest management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is now available.

Working the watershed: Forest Stewards lays out plans for Waynesville watershed’s future

Nearly four decades ago, vast swathes of the 8,600-acre Waynesville watershed were laid bare, the trees timbered for profit and the soil harvested to build the earth-filled dam now holding back the reservoir.

Fast forward to 2019, and the landscape has changed dramatically. There is no more bare soil, and no more open canopy. It’s a full-grown forest, sunlight filtering through a green canopy below which the only sounds are those produced by the birds, insects and wind. The white pines planted to stabilize the stripped soil have thrived, perhaps too much. In 2014, a good many of them were cut down during a thinning conducted on a 50-acre portion of the property, as the seedlings were planted too close together to serve them well as they grew larger. But white pine is still a common species in the 8,600-acre watershed.

Collaborative work on Forest Service plan cost Martin his job

The former Southern Appalachian Regional Director for The Wilderness Society was the catalyst and key facilitator for a compromise and groundbreaking proposal for the Pisgah-Nantahala national forests that brought conservationists and recreational users together under one umbrella.

The Naturalist's Corner: MOU – MIA

Issues surrounding the management of the country’s national forests have always been thorny. It’s easy to see why — there are numerous user groups that, on the face, often appear to be at odds regarding how national forests should be managed. The USDA Forest Service is charged with the stewardship of these national forests and it is, by and large, a thankless task.

Forest management planning process moves forward

While a draft forest management plan is still nearly a year away, a group of recently released documents gives a glimpse into how the U.S. Forest Service might ultimately manage the 1.2 million acres in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest over the next 20 years.

Going forward by looking backward: Tradition and science meet in Cherokee forest plan

Over the course of thousands of years lived in the Southern Appalachian mountains, the Cherokee people had pretty well developed a system of relationship with the land that ensured they harvested what they needed to live while leaving enough to ensure future generations would yield the same benefit. 

But then there was the arrival of Europeans, years of conflict, the removal, and the establishment of the Qualla Boundary under the supervision of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It’s been a long time since Cherokee land was truly managed in the Cherokee tradition, but with the impending approval of a new forest management plan the pendulum is swinging back closer than it’s been in a long time.

Wilderness debate goes to the government

When the forest planning process for the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests kicked off more than two years ago, it didn’t take long for the question of wilderness designation — whether and how much more acreage should be recommended, which areas should make the cut — to rise to the top of the stack of contentious issues.

Congressman sits down with wilderness supporters

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-Cashiers) and a room of 30 wilderness supporters spent two hours discussing everything from ecology to U.S. Forest Service road budgets last week at the Haywood County Historic Courthouse with the goal of better understanding each other’s views on the purpose of wilderness designation. 

“I will read everything you send me. I’m going to ask you questions,” Meadows promised as he closed out the meeting. “I’m trying to be as informed as I can.” 

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