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.

  • Emily Linroth

    Today, several measures aimed to roll back protections on our nation’s public lands were defeated in the Senate as part of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. These amendments would have, among other effects, dismantled permanent protection for millions of acres of wilderness quality lands (S.A. 166) that await protection and weakened the Antiquities Act (S.A. 132), a law used by 16 presidents to protect places such as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. 

  • Michael Reinemer

    The agency rule was issued after a federal court ruled in 2013 that the Forest Service was in violation of an executive order on off-road vehicle management. The statement from The Wilderness Society follows:

  • Jennifer Dickson

    Despite major risks, obstacles and climate change concerns, the proposed plan would allow drilling for oil and gas in this remote, fragile and rapidly warming environment.

    The proposed Chukchi and Beaufort sea lease sales exclude relatively small areas where leasing would be prohibited.