The Forest Service will be hosting a public meeting on Tuesday, July 11th to allow the public an opportunity to review their progress on revising the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan, and to accept feedback. The meeting will be held at Tartan Hall, 26 Church Street, Franklin, NC from 6-8 p. m. It is extremely important for those interested in protecting the headwaters of the Chattooga River watershed to attend this public meeting.
Documents can be found online at the Nantahala Pisgah National Forest webpage and reveal a disturbing indication that future proposed management for the Overflow Wilderness Study Area, the Terrapin Mountain Potential Wilderness Area and the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Extension Area are at risk.
For example, currently the Forest Service does not recommend the Overflow Wilderness Study Area as a qualified wilderness area because they say it is too small (less than 5,000 acres), opening the door for congressional action to have it stripped of its protected status as a Wilderness Study Area. This blatant attempt by the Forest Service to disqualify the Overflow Wilderness Study Area continues to ignore the fact that the area is contiguous with a large wild area in the Chattahoochee National Forest in GA, that would more than qualify it as a potential wilderness area. Similarly, the Forest Service has repeatedly refused to comply with their own regulations to consider wilderness qualifications based on the area’s position in the landscape to allow connectivity with existing wildlands. The Terrapin Mountain Potential Wilderness Area is yet another example of failure by the Forest Service to recognize the value of connectivity between the Terrapin Mountain area and the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area as a wildlife corridor to allow migration of both plant and animal species responding to the effects of climate change.
An even more disturbing indication that the Forest Service is moving toward a more “extractive” management paradigm is the Nantahala Ranger District’s proposed Southside Timber Sale, which threatens to build roads and harvest timber in the proposed Ellicott Rock Wilderness Extension Area and the Terrapin Mountain Potential Wilderness Area, further disqualifying these special areas from protective designations. Please attend this important meeting on July 11th, 6-8pm at Tartan Hall in Franklin, NC, and help spread the word!