Southern Appalachians

Southern Appalachia's Smoky Mountains contain some of the wildest land in America.

At the center is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is surrounded by a vibrant network of national forests on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

Visitors love this lush outdoor destination. But suburban sprawl and increased recreational pressure threaten the forests of the Southern Appalachians. This region is home to the most visited National Park, the most visited National Forest in the East, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most visited unit of the National Park system.

Why the Southern Appalachians

Spanning the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, the Southern Appalachians region provides a wild escape for millions of visitors and local residents annually. They contribute to local economies and help provide clean drinking water to local communities.

Stories from Southern Appalachians

Find out more about the Southern Appalachians region from the people that live, work and play there.

Experience the Southern Appalachians

The national park and forests of the Southern Appalachians are beloved by nearby residents. The Cherokee, Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are all within a day’s drive of one-third of the nation’s population and attract millions of visitors each year.

Focus areas in the Southern Appalachians

The Southern Appalachians form the largest concentration of public land east of the Mississippi. They include 3.7 million acres of wild forests. At The Wilderness Society, our work is concentrated within the forests and parks of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

Other campaigns

Maintaining trails and wilderness areas is important to the work we do in the Southern Appalachians Region. Find out how you can get involved in stewardship of this beautiful area, and how we are working with regional partners on important public and private land conservation issues.

Help protect the Southern Appalachians

There are many ways you can help ensure the Southern Appalachians Region remains a vibrant network of wild forests for generations to come.

Make a donation to help protect the Southern Appalachians.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society commends the Obama Administration for making history today by quadrupling the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, now the largest protected area in the world, measuring 582,578 square miles.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument will be a unit of the National Park Service and was announced on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which was established on August 25, 1916.

  • Max Greenberg

    The next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, meaning that Congress is running out of time to cobble together "must-pass" appropriations legislation that will pay for the day-to-day expenses of the federal government.

    But in what has become a sad annual commentary on some leaders' dereliction of America's conservation tradition, the process is gummed up with counterproductive “riders” that have no place in the appropriations process, and would hurt wildlands right when they sorely need our help.