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

    Development of natural areas in the United States, coupled with expected changes in climate, have increased the importance of migration corridors that connect protected natural areas. Large, connected wild lands reduce the isolation of animal and plant populations and allow for migration and movement that can help preserve populations of wild species and enhance genetic and ecosystem diversity. 

  • Sarah Graddy

    An analysis of more than 8,700 low-producing natural gas wells in two counties in the San Juan Basin, San Juan and Rio Arriba, determined that BLM’s rule will have little to no negative impact on these marginal wells.

    The results of the study indicate that the new rule—which aims to reduce waste from venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands—will actually increase overall production and royalties paid to support vital services in the state of New Mexico.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The measure would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, protect two wilderness areas in New Mexico and address water supply and river restoration efforts in the Yakima Basin in Washington state.