Public Lands

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?

Everyone who loves our forests has an issue they care about that will be impacted by the new forest management plan

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 or Josh Kelly at

Annual Bioblitz

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

News About MountainTrue’s Work In the Coming Weeks — And Our COVID-19 Activity Guide

News About MountainTrue’s Work In the Coming Weeks — And Our COVID-19 Activity Guide

As our mountain communities brace for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, MountainTrue is doing our part to help reduce the spread of the virus, and mitigate the health risks to our communities and our staff. As of Monday, March 16, our four offices in Asheville, Boone, Hendersonville and Murphy are closed to the public. Our staff will still be working hard to protect the places we share, but many of us will be doing so from home or out in the field where we’ll be following recommended protocols. Following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and public health officials, we are also canceling all of our public events, hikes and training sessions for this spring, and our volunteer-based water monitoring programs, river cleanups and public lands workdays will be on hiatus until further notice.

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Join Us At A Forest Management Plan Comment Party

Join Us At A Forest Management Plan Comment Party

The draft management plan and environmental impact statement for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests were released on Friday, February 14. Our forest team is reviewing the more than 2,000 pages contained in those documents and we are scheduling a series of Forest Management Plan presentations and comment-writing parties throughout our region where our staff will present our analysis, answer your questions and help you write your comments.

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