NC Mountain Treasures
NORTH CAROLINA'S MOUNTAIN TREASURES
The Unprotected Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests
The Wilderness Society
Introduction and Background
The Wilderness Society has asked for Carolina Mountain Club's endorsement of its document “North Carolina's Mountain Treasures” which identifies eight conservation areas that need protection in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.
Local conservation groups collaborated with The Wilderness Society on the scientific criteria and data for selecting the Mountain Treasures areas. The eight areas are as follows:
1.) Unicoi Mountains Conservation Area (Unicoi Mountains - NC, Upper Bald River Wilderness Study Area - TN, Snowbird Creek - Lower Snowbird - NC, Sycamore Creek - TN, Joyce Kilmer - Slickrock Extensions)
2.) Nantahala Mountains Conservation Area (Ash Cove, Cheoah Bald, Tusquitee Bald, Boteler Peak, Southern Nantahala Wilderness Extensions, Tellico Bald, Wesser Bald, Piercy Mountain Range, Siler Bald, Alarka Laurel)
3.) Blue Ridge Escarpment Area (Fishhawk Mountain, Overflow Creek - Blue Valley, Terrapin Mountain, Panthertown Valley)
4.) Balsam Mountains Conservation Area (Middle Prong Extension, Shining Rock Wilderness Extension, South Mills River / Laurel Mountain, Pink Beds Wild Areas, Laurel Mountain, Daniel Ridge, Cedar Rock Mountain)
5.) Linville / Grandfather Mountain Conservation Areas (Dobson Knob, Linville Gorge Extensions, Upper Wilson Creek / Lost Cove / Harper Creek / Sugar Knob Wild Areas, Lost Cove, Harper Creek, Sugar Knob)
6.) Bald Mountains Conservation Area (Bald Mountains, Pigeon River Gorge, Bluff Mountain)
7.) Black Mountains Conservation Area (Craggy Mountains - Big Ivy, Black Mountains, Jarrett Creek, Mackey Mountain, Woods Mountain)
8.) Highlands of Roan / Unaka Mountains Conservation Area (Nolichucky Gorge, Highlands of Roan)
In 1987, the U.S. Forest Service adopted a management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.
Problem: that plan opened up many forest wildlands to roads and logging.
Overall results: there was inadequate planning for protection of old growth forest stands.
Through the appeal of conservationists, the Forest Service was ordered to amend the forest plan which happened in 1994. It created a framework for establishing large, medium, and small old growth areas, eliminated the concept of clear-cutting as the first tool of resort, recognition that forests need natural processes torecover, and, it improved management of black bear habitat. With these steps providing better management, many of the wild lands still remain unprotected and since 1994, conservationists have been working to protect these mountain treasures. When the Forest Service launches the new plan, CMC and conservationists will need to let the Forest Service know that protection of these wild areas is necessary.
For maps and more details, visit www.ncmountaintreasures.org.
CMC POSITION STATEMENT:
CMC ENDORSES THE PROTECTION OF THE EIGHT CONSERVATION AREAS DESCRIBED BY THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY IN ITS NEW PUBLICATION, “NORTH CAROLINA'S MOUNTAIN TREASURES”. THESE AREAS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AND THE BOOKLET PRODUCED AS A RESOURCE FOR USE IN THE UPCOMING FOREST SERVICE MANAGEMENT PLANNING PROCESS THAT WILL DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF THE PISGAH AND NANTAHALA NATIONAL FORESTS IN THE NEXT DECADES. ITS PURPOSE IS TO GIVE THE PUBLIC SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO SPEAK EFFECTIVELY ON BEHALF OF THESE SPECIAL PLACES, IN SEVERAL OF WHICH THE CLUB OFFERS HIKES. CMC MAY BE CALLED ON FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMENTS AT VARIOUS POINTS IN THE PLANNING PROCESS, LIKELY INCLUDING MULTIPLE DRAFT PLAN PRESENTATIONS, PUBLIC INPUT SESSIONS, AND COMMENT PERIODS.