Saving North Carolina forests

Standing Indian toward Kitchins and Chunky, North Carolina. Photo by Lamar Marshall.

Four beautiful places in the forests of Central and Western North Carolina are being threatened with residential development.

The state known for its flowing waterfalls and ancient Appalachian Mountains also has a major problem with construction destroying large acreages of forests. A U.S. Forest Service report, National Forests on the Edge, ranked the state National Forests fourth in the nation for threats from development. The fragmented forests left after development brings serious ecological consequences. To help address this problem federal funding is needed to appropriate $4.4 million to purchase 778 acres of privately owned forests.

The land is located in the Nantahala-Pisgah and Uwharrie National Forests and the striking landscapes within these acres include ridges, creeks and rare mountain bogs. Protection of these tracts from development will help protect and improve water quality for millions of water users. The land also offers diverse habitats for threatened or endangered species.

“Purchasing this land will help address the threats these forests face from development and fragmentation,” said Brent Martin, southern Appalachian senior associate for The Wilderness Society. “Western North Carolina and the Uwharrie National Forest will be better protected for years to come for hikers, hunters and other lovers of the great outdoors.”

Indian Trail up East Side of Chunky to Grassy Gap, North Carolina. Photo by Lamar Marshall.To obtain the land, The Wilderness Society is advocating the federal funding of these projects through The Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program is used to add and protect important landscapes in national forests, parks and wildlife refuges. Several other organizations in the second-most-visited state for outdoor recreation are pushing for this funding as well.

Partnership at a glance

The Wilderness Society is working with a number of other organizations. They are The Trust for Public Land, The Conservation Fund, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and Land Trust for Central North Carolina.

photos:
Standing Indian toward Kitchins and Chunky, North Carolina. Photo by Lamar Marshall.
Indian Trail up East Side of Chunky to Grassy Gap, North Carolina. Photo by Lamar Marshall.

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