The future of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests depends on us

Share your vision for the forests’ future

More than 1,500 miles of winding trails and nearly 4,000 miles of rivers and streams are part of what makes the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests so beloved by their 5.5 million annual visitors. Now the U.S. Forest Service, which is currently planning how it will manage these public lands in western North Carolina for the next 20 years or more, wants your input.

Let them know what special places and specific forest management issues matter to you by filling out a comment on the Nantahala and Pisgah draft forest plan.

National forests are managed by the Forest Service for conservation values such as wilderness, water quality, and wildlife habitat. But unlike national parks, they’re also managed for economic uses such as forest production—including timber, harvesting other kinds of plants, and even mining.

Folks including hunters, fishers, bikers, hikers, rock climbers, kayakers, and scenic drivers are all looking to protect our favorite uses on the national forest. But if you really care about this place, you have to think past the short term of what we want right now, and about how we want to be able to hand it off to the next generation unimpaired.”

—Sam Evans, Leader of SELC’s National Forests and Parks Program

At the most basic level, the forest plan functions like a map of where certain uses are allowed, marking which areas of the national forest are appropriate for activities such as hiking, mountain biking, or large-scale logging — and which aren’t.

“As a recreational user, that’s going to matter immensely,” says Sam Evans, senior attorney and leader of SELC’s National Forests and Parks Program. “Folks including hunters, fishers, bikers, hikers, rock climbers, kayakers, and scenic drivers are all looking to protect our favorite uses on the national forest. But if you really care about this place, you have to think past the short term of what we want right now, and about how we want to be able to hand it off to the next generation unimpaired.”

Before the plan is finalized later this year, the Forest Service is giving the public one last chance to comment. The agency doesn’t know these lands better than the public, so this is your chance to tell it how much these places matter.

Click here to learn more about the specific issues you should be concerned about in the forest plan.

Says Evans, “I live here and I’m very lucky to, but I still feel the urgency to explore these places because I can always find something new in every wrinkle and every fold of every valley.”

To ensure that’s a possibility for generations to come, leave your comments now.

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