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

Talking Points for Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Plan Revision process: Potential Wilderness Area Inventory and Evaluation

The USFS has offered a list of questions for each area on which you comment:

-Does the area generally appear to be affected primarily by the forces of nature?
-Are there opportunities within the area for solitude or to engage in primitive and unconfined recreation that leads to a visitor’s ability to feel a part of nature?
-Is it practicable to both preserve this area and allow its use while maintaining it in an unimpaired condition?
-Does the area contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value?
-Can the area be managed to preserve its wilderness characteristics?

General Talking Points for your Comments:

  • All of the NC’s Mountain Treasure Areas should be recognized and placed in a Management Area that maintains their roadless and natural character, and is not suitable for Timber Production and road building, such as a Backcountry, Special Interest, or Special Biological Area management.
  • The top Priority Areas for Wilderness designation are: Black Mountains, Craggy Mountains (Big Ivy) for the current WSA boundary, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Extensions, Linville Gorge Extensions, Mackey Mountain, Middle Prong Extension for the IRA acres,Shining Rock Extensions for the IRA acres, Snowbird WSA, Southern Nantahala Extensions, Tusquitee Bald, Unicoi Mountains. None of these areas have designated Mountain Biking Trails and all have Inventoried roadless acreage, old-growth forest acreage, opportunities for solitude, and outstanding Wilderness characteristics.
  • The Overflow Wilderness Study Area (Blue Valley) should be included in the PWA inventory and also recommended for Wilderness.
  • The Forest Service should be using timber harvest as a tool to promote ecological integrity rather than for the goal of timber production and increasing the amount of the forest reserved for backcountry recreation.
  • All natural heritage areas identified by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program should be placed in Management Areas unsuitable for timber production.
  • Existing old-growth forest and old-growth forest designations from the last Forest Plan should be unsuitable for timber production.
  • Wilderness is in high demand on the forest, as shown by the high levels of use in all the Pisgah-Nantahala’s wilderness areas. Our wilderness and other backcountry areas are cherished by local residents and others throughout the southeast. All Potential Wilderness Areas should be placed in either Wilderness Study or Remote/Backcountry Management Areas.
  • Wilderness also provides high economic value to our communities: Wilderness areas and protected landscapes are amenities that attract professionals (and the businesses that employ them) and retirees.

Download a PDF of these questions and talking points.

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