Fire at Cold Mountain exceeds 100 acres

A wildfire near Cold Mountain in Haywood County was reported at 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, and as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday night it had grown to about 106 acres.

Nantahala Gorge reopens for national forest users

The Nantahala River in the Nantahala Gorge is now open to the public for all uses for the first time since landslides on Saturday, Aug. 24, resulted in significant damage and blockages in the area.

Pointing the way: Volunteer group earns national recognition for trail sign project, other accomplishments

The year is nearly over, but in 2018 the Graham County Rescue Squad has run only three search and rescue calls in the thousands of acres of national forest land surrounding Robbinsville. 

“We probably used to run three or four times that, just about all of them in Joyce Kilmer Slickrock,” said Marshall McClung, search and rescue coordinator for the squad. “Mostly in the Joyce Kilmer section, a few in the Slickrock section.”

The Naturalist's Corner: Musings from count year 2018

This past spring was one of the more trying ones with regard to my annual U.S. Forest Service bird point survey. The survey runs each year from May 1 to June 15. You might have noticed it rained a bit in May. Of course, one can’t count in the rain, but according to protocol if it’s not raining counts may be conducted and this spring there were days I birded just after and just before rains. One thing I thought I noticed — on mornings with heavy cloud cover, especially those mornings where it had rained before dawn, birds were much quieter than normal.

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.

Wilderness advocates criticize congressman

A meeting to talk about wilderness started off with a bang last week when a group of pro-wilderness folks who had showed up hopeful of putting a bug in Congressman Mark Meadows’, R-Cashiers, ear were asked to leave.

Forest Service evaluates potential wilderness areas

The cadre of groups helping the U.S. Forest Service work toward a new management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest recently got a first peek at one of the most controversial aspects of the planning process — the proposals for new wilderness designation. 

“This is the first real concrete opportunity we’ve had to see what the Forest Service is thinking,” said Richard Mode of the N.C. Wildlife Federation. “I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to look at them.”

Trail improvements coming to Fontana: Work begins on $380K trail project

out frNational forest trails around Fontana Village are in for an overhaul, thanks to a federal grant that’s putting the final piece in a years-long funding puzzle. 

Between 2013 and 2015, the U.S. Forest Service has pulled in a total of $380,000 in grants to work on the area, but it’s just now getting going on the project the money was intended to support — 9 miles of upgraded trails in the Nantahala National Forest that will connect to the roughly 28 miles of trail that Fontana Village Resort, in Graham County, maintains on its own property.

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