Harmon Den Project

October 31, 2008

District Ranger Tina Tilley

Appalachian Ranger District

PO Box 128,

Burnsville, NC  28714 

 

Dear Ranger Tilley

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Environmental Assessment of the Harmon Den Project.  We especially appreciated the opportunity to hike the area with Landscape Architect Erik Crews and Morgan Sommerville.  Although we’ve hiked the trails a number of times, we learned a lot.  This is the response of the Carolina Mountain Club to the Environmental Assessment dated October, 2008. 

CMC generally supports the proposals in the Preferred Alternative, Alternative C, but has a comment concerning timber harvesting noted below.  In particular, we support retention of the Rube Rock Trail (TR314) and the Groundhog Creek Trail (TR315) between Interstate 40 and Skiffley Creek Road (FSR 357).  We appreciate your proposal to retain the trails and will work with the Appalachian Ranger District to maintain these sections of the trails.  So far, we have two hikes scheduled in early 2009 on the trails.  Starting from the Appalachian Trail, they make an excellent loop hike. 

Concerning timber harvesting, in general, we support the comments of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as communicated by Morgan Sommerville in his letter dated October 24, 2008.  In addition to Morgan’s comments, we note that unit 461-2 appears, from your maps, to straddle the Rube Rock Trail.  We didn’t get this far south on the Rube Rock Trail when we hiked the area with Landscape Architect Erik Crews and Morgan on April 7.  We request that the trail tread be protected and a 100 yard buffer be maintained on either side of the trail.  We agree with Morgan’s suggestion that the eastern boundary of units 460-6 and 461-30 be moved to the west, downhill from the ridge crest.   

Sincerely yours, 

Ruth Hartzler

Conservation Chair 

320 Town Mountain Road

Asheville, NC 28804

ruthmtn@charter.net