U.S. Forest Service reaches next phase of wilderness evaluation for N.C.’s Nantahala, Pisgah

North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest is part of the regional update to the Forest Service’s long-term management plan. (© Bill Lea)

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ wilderness evaluation is now available to the public.

This evaluation of National Forest land follows on the heels of last year’s wilderness inventory, for which SELC provided extensive input. The evaluation includes, for all the “inventoried” potential wilderness areas, the U.S. Forest Service’s catalogue of the area’s wilderness characteristics—qualities like naturalness and opportunities for solitude and recreation.

These evaluations will inform the ongoing forest plan revision and eventual recommendations to Congress about which areas should be permanently designated as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness is defined by Congress as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

The Forest Service’s evaluation shows what North Carolinians and visitors already know: our national forests have a wealth of wild places that we treasure.

As the forest plan develops SELC is providing additional input to make sure all these areas get fair consideration, working with the agency and other stakeholders to build support for protecting the values that make these wild places so special to so many.

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