Final decision reached on Buck Project

The U.S. Forest Service has signed the final decision notice for the Buck Project, which will encompass more than 32 square miles on the Nantahala National Forest’s Tusquitee Ranger District in eastern Clay County.

The project will use commercial timber sales toward the goal of providing young forest habitat and producing more oak and hickory trees over time. It will also use prescribed burning to promote the unique Serpentine Barrens and aim to improve water resource conditions through stream improvement projects. 

Advocates want to save little-known old growth pockets

coverHidden among the expanse of forestland in Western North Carolina are little-known pockets of trees that are several centuries old. Either overlooked by loggers or too difficult to access, the old growth stands act as windows into the past and markers of Appalachian history.

Since the end of the Civil War until the 1930s, most forests in the eastern United States were clear-cut. However, some tracts were able to escape that era of industrialized logging and continue to grow.

Mythbusters: Tree hunters scout Wildes Knob for hidden old-growth forest

Josh Kelly looked up from his topo map, took a step back and eyed the steep bank in front of him, scanning the line of the mountain until it disappeared out of sight. Somewhere through the tangle of rhododendrons, over a rock outcrop, and beyond that densely forested knoll was a really old tree, and Kelly was going to find it.

Finding the forest less logged

For three years, Josh Kelly has been stalking forests in the Southern Appalachians in search of unmapped old-growth forests and very old trees.

“It is like a treasure hunt everyday when I go out and look for these places,” Kelly said.

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