There are over 1.6 million acres of national forests in Western North Carolina. From its founding, MountainTrue has stayed committed to the protection of our public lands and forests by helping to shape the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Management Plan and advocating for our national, state, county and city parks.
Forest Management Plan
MountainTrue works to help shape the National Forest Service’s Forest Plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. MountainTrue and its members advocate for conservation and sustainable public access through our participation in coalitions such as the Conservation & Recreation Coalition and the Nantahala-Pisgah Partnership.
Why Does This Matter?
Forest Keeper Volunteers
MountainTrue’s volunteer base of Forest Keepers works to keep WNC forests and public lands protected and healthy. The Forest Keepers’ work begins at the intersection of environmental science and environmental stewardship. This group collaborates with other non-profits in North Carolina to promote active stewardship in protecting, managing and maintaining the forest of Southern Appalachia. Forest Keeper volunteers work in conjunction with North Carolina Forest Service, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Hemlock Restoration Initiative, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department as the eyes, ears and helping hands of the forest.
The Forest Keepers protect, manage, and maintain the health of our Southern Appalachian forests through volunteer workdays, hosting skills workshops and giving science presentations. Forest Keepers have the opportunity to work within our forests and network with other people in Western North Carolina who are dedicated to forest protection and ecosystem vitality. This dedicated group of volunteers does hands on work through projects like hemlock restoration workdays, Richmond Hill Park non-native invasive removal, Sandy Bottom wetlands restoration, OM Sanctuary restoration and our annual bioblitz. For more information about the Forest Keeper Volunteers and to get involved, contact Bob Gale at email@example.com or Josh Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MountainTrue conducts an annual bioblitz every year in an area of our WNC public lands. A bioblitz is a biological inventory of an ecosystem in order to record all the living species within a particular area. MountainTrue staff, scientists, wildlife experts, naturalists and community volunteers gather together and explore a selected area to catalogue living species and learn more about our unique mountain ecosystems.
Our first bioblitz was conducted in 2016 on Bluff Mountain. Read more!
Public Lands News
2020 has brought record visitation to public lands in our region, with many of the people visiting these lands doing so for the first time. While the new wave of interest is exciting, the crowds and all the newcomers have also brought growing pains in the form of overflowing parking lots, trash bins and piles of litter. MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist, Josh Kelly, shares some ideas in this blog post about how we can all encourage newcomers to be better stewards of our public lands.
On June 17, 2020, the U.S. Government purchased a 49.33-acre in-holding at the headwaters of Laurel Creek, in Clay and Cherokee counties, making the land public and part of Nantahala National Forest! The purchase from the Mainspring Conservation Trust closes the loop on a 12-year battle by the former Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition, MountainTrue and several other partners to prevent private landowners from building a road through the National Forest and cabins at the top of pristine headwaters of Fires Creek.
Over the past few years, MountainTrue has taken on the task of identifying and treating priority ash groves around WNC in response to the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer. This non-native invasive insect is wreaking havoc throughout the state, and many of the trees we have treated are surrounded by bare branches from neighboring dead ashes. We have treated over 1,100 trees throughout the region, and committed to re-treating these trees after their initial 3-year treatment wears off.
Read our latest newsletter and find out what’s happening across our service area.
Help protect our forests and our backcountry areas by submitting your public comment today. The deadline for public comment is June 29, and this is our last significant opportunity to win better protections and influence how our public lands are managed for the next 15-20 years.