Appalachian Trail and Wilderness Designation

CMC?s Position for Keeping the Appalachian Trail as a Non-Wilderness Designation

Background:
The U.S. Forest Service is recommending within its Nantahala - Pisgah Forests?
Management Plan Revision that Bald Mountain and Pigeon River Gorge, which include
the Appalachian Trail, be designated as a Wilderness area. The Bald Mountain area
totals approximately 11,500 acres and includes the AT?s section from Camp Creek Bald
to Jerry?s Cabin. These AT sections are maintained by Carolina Mountain Club. If it
were to become a Wilderness area, then, as per Wilderness rules, no mechanical
means of trail maintenance equipment would be allowed and no more than ten hikers
would be allowed in a group. This would be a strain on our hiking opportunities and a
strain on our maintenance resources.

Position:
Carolina Mountain Club appreciates the Forest Service?s opportunity for public comment
to its Management Plan Revision process. We noticed that you have Bald Mountain
and Pigeon River Gorge as designated Wilderness areas in your proposed Pisgah
Forest Management Plan Revision. As a major hiking and trail maintaining club in
western North Carolina, we have to oppose the U.S. Forest Service?s plan to designate
any portions of the Appalachian Trail which we maintain into a Wilderness area.
Because of the limitations associated with Wilderness designated areas, such as nonmechanized
trail maintenance tools and a maximum of ten hikers in a group, the club
would be strained to provide enough maintenance resources and our hiking
opportunities would be reduced.