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

    Rather than using taxpayer dollars, the program’s funds come from a small slice of royalties from oil and gas leases in publicly owned offshore waters. 

    The 2017 budget would invest $900 million for conservation and recreation projects, which is the annual amount authorized by the 1964 bill that created this popular program. However, actual funding approved by Congress has traditionally fallen far short of that amount. 

    Alan Rowsome at The Wilderness Society commented:

  • Anonymous

    “The proposed guidelines from the Bureau of Land Management governing natural gas waste are a huge step forward toward ensuring public resources on federal lands are used for Americans’ benefit, and not wasted.

    “For too long, oil and gas companies have been able to vent and flare unlimited quantities of natural gas and ignore massive leaks from outdated infrastructure. These unregulated actions have immense consequences for American taxpayers, who lose out on more than $330 million annually from gas that is not being sold.

  • Jennifer Dickson

    The 2016 Utah Public Lands Initiative (PLI) draft released by Utah Representative Rob Bishop fails to provide adequate protections for scenic public lands in the state, would undermine bedrock environmental laws and threatens to despoil key public lands.