Future of the forest

Mill closure looms large in discussion of challenges facing WNC forests 

The familiar challenges of climate change, invasive pests and development pressure peppered the conversation during a May 18 panel discussion on the issues facing forests in Western North Carolina — but the impending closure of Canton’s century-old paper mill dominated it. The closure is likely to have an earthshaking impact not just on the region’s economy, but also on the health of its forests. 

Forest Service completes objection reviews for Pisgah-Nantahala forest plan

The U.S. Forest Service has completed its review of 891 objections to the Pisgah-Nantahala forest management plan it released a year ago, clearing the final hurdle to implement the first new forest plan since 1987.

America, mile by mile: Cross-country trip reveals country’s beauty, diversity

Back when the trip was a new idea, I don’t think either of us took it seriously. Three weeks on the road, at a time when most American cars were sitting idle in the driveway? Thousands of miles of driving through sand and snow, mountain and desert, far from home? Surely this was just a pie-in-the-sky dream borne from the hunger pangs of quarantine, nothing more. 

Pisgah announces closures

Camping is no longer allowed on the Pisgah National Forest following an order enacted April 13 as part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Record visitation at public lands during COVID-19 pandemic

Visitation at many state forests in North Carolina is two and three times greater than what is typical for this time of year, which is stretching the resources of the sites and making it harder for people to practice proper social distancing. Visitors are asked to strictly follow social distancing guidelines to help keep public lands safe, available and open to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National forest recreation sites closed

All recreation sites in the National Forests in North Carolina — including the Pisgah and Nantahala — are now temporarily shut down.

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.

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.

Forest fires ignite the Nantahala as drought worsens

Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins was headed to church Sunday morning, Oct. 23, when he got the call. A forest fire had ignited the Dicks Creek area of the Nantahala National Forest, near Sylva. Fire Management Officer Greg Brooks was already on the scene, and the response had to start ASAP.  

“I was walking out the door, literally on the porch,” Wilkins said. He turned himself around, changed out of his Sunday best and drove out to meet Brooks, sizing up the challenge set before them.

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.

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