North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures
Help Protect the Vulnerable Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests


17,914 in NCMT (includes the Black Mountains Area); 4,116 acres PWA, 4,116 acres IRA

Recommendation: Backcountry with provision for some spruce restoration

Naturalness: The Bearwallow Area shares many of the characteristics of the adjacent Black Mountains area. The landscape is one of the premier wildland areas in the East. The area is adjacent to Mount Mitchell State Park. Although portions of the area were logged during the same period when Mount Mitchell was logged, it has recovering forest including spruce-fir forest. Numerous outstanding landscape features such as high mountain peaks, views, and unique ecosystems makes this area an exceptional resource.

The landscape context of the Bearwallow area with adjacent and nearby lands (additional national forest wildland areas including Big Ivy, the Big Tom Wilson Preserve, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mt Mitchell State Park, and the Asheville Watershed) places the area in one of the most remote areas in the southern Appalachians that retains important elements of natural character.

Opportunities for Solitude: The Bearwallow area as a part of the larger area including the Black Mountains and adjacent lands offers abundant opportunities for solitude.

Opportunities for Recreation: Trails from the Black Mountains area also travel through the Bearwallow area. Trail connections also connect from the nearby Montreat Wilderness, making possible long hikes from Montreat, North Carolina through Bearwallow to Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains Area.

Ecological and other values: Spruce-fir forest extends along the high elevations of the area. There is potential for ecological restoration of spruce forest in this area.

OneSNHAs are in the Bearwallow area:

Black Mountain/Bald Knob SNHA (portion is currently recognized as SIA)

Manageability: The Bearwallow area is adjacent to the Black Mountain area, which should be recommended for wilderness. A powerline to Mount Mitchell and access roads separate the two areas, but for wildlife and natural character the areas should be considered together. Several trails also pass between the Bearwallow area and the Black Mountain Area. Bearwallow should be managed in a way that is complimentary to the adjacent area – Backcountry Management.

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