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

Boteler Peak

10,673 acres NCMT; 5,503 acres PWA; 4,221 acres IRA

Recommendation: This entire Mountain Treasure Area should be placed in a Backcountry Management Area and Special Biological Management Area

Naturalness: The Boteler Peak Mountain Treasure area connects to the Tusquitee Bald area to the northwest and the Southern Nantahala Wilderness area to the southeast. The area around Boteler Peak and the Upper Perry Creek area both contain verified old- growth totaling over 900 acres. The value of this area is enhanced by its habitat connectivity, biological diversity, and long-distance backpacking opportunities.

Opportunities for Solitude/Backcountry Recreation: The Chunky Gal Trail traverses the Boteler Peak area and passes beside Boteler Peak. An overlook on Boteler Peak affords a splendid view of the wild lands to the north. The Chunky Gal Trail connects southeast to the Appalachian Trail near White Oak Stamp and going northwest, extends 22 miles to Tusquitee Bald. Hikers can take the Old Road Gap Trail out of the Tusquitee Bald area to connect to the trails in the Piercy Bald unit and then to the North Carolina Bartram Trail near Sutherland Gap. The Bartram Trail also leads north to intersect the Appalachian Trail again at Cheoah Bald. A 135-mile hike south on the Appalachian Trail returns hikers to the eastern starting point of the Chunky Gal Trail at White Oak Stamp. This exceptional long-distance hiking loop affords a high-quality backcountry recreational experience.

Ecological and other values: The Boteler Peak Mountain Treasure area serves as a vital corridor for bear to travel between the sanctuary in the Tusquitee Mountain Treasure area and the Southern Nantahala Wilderness. The eastern side of this Mountain Treasure area has outcrops of serpentine rocks which result in very unusual and rare plant associations and is noted for its abundance of rare species and one-of-a-kind serpentine barren. At least 17 rare species have been reported from the serpentine barrens, including Rhiannon’s aster, found nowhere else. The area contains over 900 acres of verified old- growth forest.

Two NC Significant Natural Heritage Areas are found within the Boteler Peak Mountain Treasure area:

Glade Gap Slopes (NCNHP proposed for new priority SIA)

Buck Creek Serpentinized Olivine Barrens (portion is currently recognized as SIA)

Manageability: The Forest Service dates some stands in this area from the 1700s–and these are truly primeval forest–while other portions of the Boteler Peak area are recovering from extensive logging and should be allowed to continue to heal. There is some need for restoration management in this area, such as continued fire restoration at Buck Creek.

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