Forest users negotiate need for wilderness in new management plan
Western North Carolina is covered with more than 1,500 square miles of national forest, and residents often measure their assets in terms of towering hardwoods, flocks of turkeys and mountain streams.
National forest land belongs to everybody, but “everybody” includes a pretty diverse group of hikers, bird watchers, hunters, mountain bikers, horseback riders, fishermen, paddlers, environmentalists, loggers and so on — all with different ideas and priorities. As the U.S. Forest Service works toward a new guiding management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests, it’s a challenge to find a strategy that “everybody” can agree on.
A waiting game: WNC counties hope for continued PILT funding
From Clingmans Dome to Juneywank Falls to the winding Blue Ridge Parkway, Swain County is rich in natural beauty. But all that public land can make the budget tight for county government, which depends on property tax for much of its revenue.
New forest coalition brings once-rival groups together
As Brent Martin stared down the barrel of an impending tug-of-war over WNC’s national forests, he dreaded yet another round in the same old fight that’s played out time and time again in his decades as an environmental advocate.
Loggers versus wilderness lovers. Horseback riders versus hikers. Hunters versus environmentalists.
Mapping Mountain Treasures: Wilderness on the line
A sweeping review of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests will get under way in a matter of months, a behemoth, multi-year process that will layout a new blueprint for how the forests are managed for the first time in 20 years.
Environmentalists have been prepping for the forest plan for more than five years already. After all, the fate of 1.1 million acres of public land in the mountains hinges on the vision mapped out in the forest plan.
Selling national forest land is just a bad idea
The proposed sale of U.S. Forest Service land to find money for counties who have lost revenue from declining timber sales is just a bad idea, a product of the Bush Administration’s fiscal indulgences rather than well thought-out land management policies.