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

USFS Wilderness Evaluations and TWS Responses

Understanding the Area-Specific PDFs
In the PDF of comments for each area there is a three-column table. The column on the left contains language from the USFS evaluation, broken down by criteria (explained below). The middle column has suggestions on how to comment based on The Wilderness Society’s direct response to the evaluation (right-hand column).

Understanding the Forest Service Evaluation and TWS Talking Points
The wilderness evaluation is based upon five criteria described in the 1964 Wilderness Act and clarified by the 1975 Eastern Wilderness Areas Act. Specific comments within these categories, detailing what they missed, are the most useful to the US Forest Service. Based on the evaluation and public comments, the Forest Service determines which areas to carry forward into an analysis and draft alternatives for potential recommendation as wilderness.

  • Apparent Naturalness – the degree to which an area appears to be affected primarily by the forces of nature. Evidence of human impact does not necessarily mean that an area doesn’t qualify as wilderness.
  • Opportunities for Solitude
  • Opportunities for Primitive and Unconfined Recreation
  • Does the area have other unique or outstanding qualities (ecological, geological, scientific, educational, scenic, historical or other)?
  • Is the area’s size conducive to management as Wilderness? If an area is less than 5,000 acres, is it practical to manage and preserve the area in an unimpaired condition?

How to Comment

  • Thank the Forest Service for the opportunity to comment on their work.
  • Tell them who you are and what’s important to you.
  • Be specific: The most helpful comments at this stage are specific comments about areas, particularly regarding the area’s apparent naturalness, opportunities for solitude and unconfined recreation, size and manageability, and special values.
  • Tell the Forest Service what they may have missed.
  • It’s also important to show the Forest Service that there is support for more wilderness in western North Carolina.
  • Emphasize the importance of roadless areas.
  • State that all of the areas in the inventory have wilderness characteristics and should be protected accordingly. Each area’s wilderness characteristics should be noted in the evaluations and conclusions should not be made at this step.
  • Close by letting the Forest Service know that you understand they have complex rules to follow, and that you again appreciate the opportunity to comment.

Deadline: Comments will be most useful by the end of September. Email:
Subject line: Summer Building Blocks

Or mail to: Attn: Plan Revision Team Leader
National Forests in North Carolina
160 Zillicoa Street, Suite A
Asheville, NC 28801

Evaluation of Wilderness Characteristics and Corresponding Talking Points
Use any first-hand experience that you have to talk about how you have used this area. Remember to be as specific and informative as possible.

2012 Planning Rule – Chapter 70 – Wilderness (PDF)
ArcGIS online – Interactive map of inventory areas of the wilderness evaluation (Updated July 2016)
Wilderness FAQ
USFS National Forests in North Carolina webpage

*The amount of work involved with deconstructing the evaluations of these areas has been immense, yet we must be thorough. Please check back often for updates as we add areas to this chart.*

Area Name and Link to Comment PDF
Link to NCMT Map County Forest USFS Ranger District
Black Mountains Black Mountains Yancey Pisgah NF Appalachian District
Craggy Mountains (Big Ivy) Craggy Mountains (Big Ivy) Buncombe Pisgah NF Pisgah District
Daniel Ridge Daniel Ridge Transylvania Pisgah NF Pisgah District
Mackey Mountain Mackey Mountain McDowell Pisgah NF Grandfather District
Overflow Creek (Blue Valley) Overflow Creek (Blue Valley) Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Southern Nantahala Extensions :
Chunky Gal
Yellow Mountain
Cherry Cove
Scream Ridge
Barkers Creek
Southern Nantahala Extensions : Sharptop, Chunky Gal, Yellow Mountain, Cherry Cove, Scream Ridge, and Barkers Creek additions Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Southern Nantahala Wilderness: Little Indian addition Southern Nantahala Wilderness: Little Indian addition  Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Tellico Bald Tellico Bald Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Terrapin Mountain Terrapin Mountain Jackson and Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Tusquitee Bald Tusquitee Bald Cherokee, Macon and Clay Nantahala NF Tusquitee District
Wesser Bald Wesser Bald Swain and Macon Nantahala NF Nantahala District
Bookmark and Share