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

    Citing some of “the most beautiful and iconic landscapes on earth” in Teton County’s backyard, the board of commissioners Tuesday morning unanimously passed a resolution that “opposes any and all efforts by the State of Wyoming to obtain the wholesale transfer of federal lands in Wyoming” to the state. In January, Sweetwater County filed a letter with the state legislature stating similar opposition to measures that would turn over federal public lands—such as parks, wilderness, and national forests—to state jurisdiction and management.

  • Tim Woody

    In spite of Royal Dutch Shell’s disastrous performance during the 2012 Arctic Ocean drilling season, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today conditionally approved the company’s 2015 exploration plan, which provides even fewer safeguards for the Chukchi Sea and its sensitive coastline than Shell had in place three years ago. Shell also plans to bring a different rig operated by a new contractor to the Arctic Ocean in 2015, which could result in unexpected transport and drilling problems.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The Wilderness Society strongly supports bipartisan legislation, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (S. 235, H.R. 167), to fix a budgetary problem called “fire borrowing.”  This is a destructive cycle in which the Forest Service is forced to take funds from other forest programs when its allotted wildfire funds are used up, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul to put out fires in our national forests.