12/13/2014: “WNC’s National Forests at crossroads” — Editorial by Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly in the Asheville Citizen-Times. (May require login).
Press Release from the Southern Environmental Law Center
For Release: Nov. 12, 2014
Contact: Kathleen Sullivan, SELC, 919-945-7106 or email@example.com
Forest Service proposes massive logging program in an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the United States.
“Under the law and for everyone who enjoys America’s forests, the Forest Service’s first priority should be fixing the mistakes of the past – restoring the parts of the forest already damaged by prior logging,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But the misguided logging plan proposed by the agency will repeat those old mistakes, causing more damage and putting the healthiest forests we have left on the chopping block. The people who use and love these forests won’t stand for cutting them down.”
The Forest’s new proposal would inevitably increase logging over the levels of recent years, though the precise amount has not been disclosed. “This increase would come from ramping up logging all over the forest, including backcountry areas like the South Mills River area, home to the popular Black Mountain Trail,” said Hugh Irwin, conservation planner for The Wilderness Society. According to Forest Service documents, such areas would be managed for “timber production,” which it interprets as “the purposeful growing and harvesting of crops of trees to be cut into logs.”
This industrial-style logging would also require cutting new roads for trucks and equipment into sensitive, unspoiled backcountry areas. “Not only is that destructive and disruptive, it’s also fiscally irresponsible,” added Irwin. “The agency shouldn’t be expanding its road system when it can’t even afford to maintain the roads it already has.” Agency reports confirm that the Forest has less than 13 percent of the funds needed to maintain its existing roads, leading to safety and water quality problems. Several popular roads remain closed due to unrepaired washouts.
“This proposal is absolutely the wrong direction for the forest,” said Ben Prater, director of conservation for Wild South. “Times have changed, and our mountain economy doesn’t depend just on logging anymore. We should be capitalizing on our wonderful Blue Ridge forests, not cutting them down. Treating practically the entire Pisgah-Nantahala as a ‘crop’ is simply irresponsible.”
The Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest has become a tourism and recreation destination, and revenue generated by visitors is a major driver of the western North Carolina economy. The National Forests of North Carolina are the third most visited national forest in the country. Industrial logging not only damages scenery and natural features, which are the key draw for half of those visits, but also requires popular areas to be closed to the public for months at a time while trees are being cut. “They’re our public lands,” says Prater. “Where is the balance?”
Josh Kelly, public lands biologist for the Western North Carolina Alliance, calls the proposal a “missed opportunity.” According to Kelly, “the Forest Service could sell more timber, meet game wildlife goals for hunters, and fulfill its ecological responsibilities by focusing its limited budget on restoring degraded areas with existing road access. We have a historic opportunity to care for this forest like it deserves – a real win-win solution – but if the Plan is mired in conflict, none of that work will get done.”
Public participation is important to the planning process underway, in which the U.S. Forest Service will decide how to manage the Pisgah and National Forests for the next 15 years.
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THIS PROPOSAL BY CLICKING HERE NOW!
The public can also comment by email at NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of more than 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.
Please, NOOOOOO! Has the U.S.F.S. lost their minds? Have they no conscious?
My family, several generations of, has visited the Nantahala National Forest for years;
please don’t destroy this beautiful land – or future visits and memory making opportunities for
my grandchildren and all future generations!
Destruction all in the name of the almighty dollar; you should be ashamed.
I find it sad that you are more worried about ‘the looks’ rather than the overall health of the ecosystem.
Native wildlife in WNC require early successional growth and pasture land for survival. If you do not know what early successional growth is, it is the short growth thickets that begin to grow when sunlight can reach the forest bed and begin to grow back. These thickets provide browse (food) at their level. A long time ago, prior to the development of WNC, wildlife had numerous areas and farms to roam thus allowing plenty of access to food sources, but as of late (meaning in the last 50 years) farms are being developed as are the areas surrounding out national forests, thus effectively creating a ‘pen’ phenomenon for this wildlife on our largest tracts of public land. Accompanying that, we have not managed said forests for their survival even though in theory, they are penned there. If the sun cannot reach the forest bed, food in terms of browse, cannot grow. If they cannot grow, species such as grouse, deer, turkey, etc, starve and die off. There has been a HUGE decrease in terms of wildlife in the last 40 or so years on our public lands, because of this and thus logging needs to absolutely be a priority for the necessary survival of this wildlife on our national forest lands. We need a balanced ecosystem, not one that is simply our playground.
No. You’re truly wrong.
Clear cutting 700,000 acres of land is not a solution to that issue. Why don’t they try any of the multiple selective cutting/thinning methods being researched in Bent Creek by the Southern Research Station? The reintroduction of fire to the landscape could be beneficial but it seems to not even be on the drawing board for the Forest Service. What about dozer pushes combined with Rx burns to create more prairie land? That has been extremely successful elsewhere from what I’ve heard. You’re right, we need a balanced ecosystem. I think that logging thousands of acres is the quickest way to accomplish an unbalanced one.
Are you claiming that deforestation is good for the ecosystem. Really..
So you, Roger the Anonymous, advocate chopping down US forests to ship to China, much as has been done in the Pacific NW.
That’s standing up for the beauty and future of America.
This whole “animals need early successional growth for browse” claim does not hold up under scrutiny. Last time I looked, the deer and turkey were doing just fine, and while I do not know the current status of the grouse, I see quite a few of them on most of my outings. The problem with early growth is that is serves as a food source for only a few years, after which the forest is not ideal habitat for most species. Old growth, on the other hand, provides ideal habitat for many species, not just game animals. In a healthy old-growth forest, early growth is provided by occasional blowdowns. When a large old-growth tree falls, it opens a small area of forest for early growth. These pockets exists alongside the rest of the forest to provide a balanced ecosystem that is healthy for wildlife and plants. When you cut down the forest, you lose all of this and only gain browse for a select few wildlife species for only a few years. After that, it is many decades before the forest becomes suitable wildlife habitat.
Also, your claim that the “huge decrease in terms of wildlife” is caused by the curtailing of logging is delusional. On the contrary, logging, hunting, and human encroachment are what has caused the depletion of some species of wildlife, among many lesser causes. The only species who truly gain from logging are humans who have financial ties to the logging industry.
Nice work Kevin! What Kevin explained above is exactly what an old growth forest does. The poster he responded to clearly doesn’t have a clue. Old growth forests, not midgrowth, does provide pockets of sun and early succession growth; we just haven’t seen this very much in our generation.
Old growth forests, while very beautiful, provide the least amount of food and shelter for wildlife. Wildlife abundance decreases with old growth forests for this reason. Wildlife species management is more complicated than simply leaving the forest alone, if you want the viewing and hunting experience that most people come to the national forest for. An individual tree here and there that has opened the canopy and allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor is not sustainable for healthy wildlife populations.
Also, no one is proposing clearcutting 700,000 acres of national forest. The proposal is to allow management and maybe cutting on these acres. If you cut a portion of the timber on 1,000 acres each year, it would take 700 years to work through this acreage. You could grow old growth forests twice in that time.
The “no management” option gave us the catastrophic wildfires now infamous in the west. While wildfires of that magnitude would not occur here in the east, simply leaving forests alone will not provide the aesthetics, wildlife viewing, hunting, and diversity that people have come to expect from their national forest. Certain areas are too scenic and valuable for other reasons to allow timber harvest in them. Other areas can sustain timber production and other values (wildlife, etc) that we expect. It’s about achieving the right balance, which I noticed in the above article was either completely missed or all together ignored.
Really? Which lumber company or lobbying group do you work for?
Your interpretation of this proposal conveniently neglects to consider the scale: 700,000 acres. It is excessive and unnecessary. You also provide no option for where the wildlife, who I am sure have been the central focus all along, will relocate to during the logging process of such an enormous amount of land.
Please do not pretend that this is in the interest of the forest or wildlife.
Please do not log in this area . I really would like my children’s children to be able to visit and enjoy these treasures of America. These National Forests were made into National forest just for this purpose, just so we can ALWAYS visit these beautiful places without the thought of them not being there. They already destroyed the brook trout in the streams and just now are coming back in the high altitudes of the GSMNP after the last destructive decision was made to log back in the day, and now again so they will totally extinct this species. What are they thinking? Pease Do Not Log This American Treasure!!!!!!!!!!
We cannot let this happen!! This forest belongs to the wild and to the people…please don’t destroy our home!!
The wildlife need food and the necessary year long food cannot grow if the sun cannot hit the forest bed. Acorns aren’t a sustainable food sources, neither are small browse that grows and dies off in the fall. They need evergreen seedlings, berry bushes and brier patches that grow at their level to carry them, and that simply cannot be grown in large hardwood forests where the canopy doesn’t allow the sunlight to reach their level. Sure there are patches here and there but nowhere even close to enough to sustain the population like we should have on such large tracts.
How about no. How about without human intervention the forest will do just fine on it’s own. Has been doing that for thousands of years. NO LOGGING IN NC! NO FRAKING IN NC! NO MOUNTAINTOP MOVING IN NC!
Crying wolf and using sensational headlines is not only dangerous but really discredits the work WNCA have done in the past. 700,000 acre clear cuts . Come on folks get real. I celebrate the work WNCA and others have done that brought benefits to forest management. ( we no longer do massive clear cuts, protect riparian areas , etc.) Ecological Restoration is a very needed tool in these forest . The forest is not a natural Eco system, we disturbed that process long ago . We know so much more on how to bring and restore a sustainable forest that does resemable a histroic forest . If you simply don’t want to cut a tree , I respect your belief. But I believe in the beauty and the need to benefit the struggle wildlife is now having in these forest. Yes that is real, no crying wolf. Proven historic low populations of deer , grouse , golden wing warblers are just few . Please take the time to educate yourself . A educated base that has real concerns for the forest and wildlife is what we need. Folks that believe every sensational headline they hear is dangerous . No , I have no invested interest in the logging industry . I support the Forest Service and their science based forest management . They simply need flexabity in mangament areas 1 and 2 for conservation work for generations to come.
Actually, this is an incorrect assertion. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains the largest collection of life North of the Tropics, including the largest density of healthy Black Bears in all of North America, a big population of grouse, wild turkeys, deer, coyotes, 280 species of birds, two types of foxes, bobcats and more. The Park contains 90% of the old growth forest left in the East, about 200,000 acres and the rest has come back unimpeded in the past 100 years. The Park is a dense, healthy eco system that supports the life here every year.
The actual old growth forest is way, way less than 200,000 acres. That being said, the park is essentially managed for old growth and trail safety/aesthetics. Don’t forget that there are managed fields, road edges, and other areas that provide food for wildlife. Most of the forest was harvested years ago and that is why you still see so much rhododendron understory and yellow-poplar forests. Pasture is what makes wildlife visible around Cade’s Cove and the like; food in the pasture, no hunting pressure, and shelter/cover in the nearby woods.
Throughout the rest of the park, deer spiked in the 80s and have been declining ever since. Also red wolves were re-introduced into the park and they all starved to death due to the lack of early successional forest (0 to 10 years old) that they needed for hunting cover. Black bear have been aggressively managed since the 60s for habitat, viewing experiences, and protection of individual bears. Only in the Great Smoky Mountains do bears routinely get root canal surgery to help keep them away from garbage!
Wildlife need a balance of habitat. All old growth is bad for wildlife, just as only having all pasture. They need large enough acreage of diversity of habitat across the landscape. Less diversity of habitat translates to less diversity of species. Over time, species that require habitat other than old growth forest will begin to decline (some bird species already are) at GSMNP given the current management objectives.
The forest, especially the Nantahala and Pisgah belonged to the native southern appalachian people and the Cherokee of which most of the folks commenting here are not. The old growth forest, like the Great Smokey Mountains National Park , which by the way was stolen as well from us Native folk is a ecological disaster because of a lack of managment. Trees are like people. They live and they die. Most of the people so concerned with “saving the forests” would rather see the timber die, fall over, and rot before they would have the common sense to utilize the renewable resource. Do you folks even know what renewable means? Trees provide jobs, a growing economy, and quality US made products. And when managed by professional foresters, which clearly most of you are not, they grow back faster, healthier, and of higher quality. The same persons you are bashing who manage the forest, also put their life on the line to fight the catastrophic fires across the United States caused by your lack of management policies, save your pathetic homes made of “straw” from wild fire (because you would never use good old American grown wood), protect the forest from polluters, plant trees, protect the wildlife from poachers, encourage the ethical hunter, seed logging roads to prevent erosion, hold loggers to water quality standards, and a thousand other things that are beneficial to the health and well being of the forests all while giving directions to the parking lot trailhead to a lost hiker like most of you all that can’t see the forest for the trees. No wonder America is so messed up. Find out where we come from people and you will see we are not all that advanced. We do not live in silicon homes yet. Wood is still in high demand from people like you.
Please don’t allow this forest to be logged again.
Normally I would take the time to compose a “politically correct” letter addressing my concerns. After hearing of the possibility of the Pisgah & Nantahala forests being logged, the most appropriate question is: Have you all completely lost your minds? You would have to have lived under a rock for the last 100 years to NOT see how we have already devastated our planet. That, or you are the greediest @#$%^ on the planet.
THIS SIMPLY CANNOT HAPPEN. I will be spreading this word far and wide to anyone who will listen and enlisting every person I know to protest to make sure it doesn’t.
This is just madness.
It is important to distinguish the difference between National Forests and National Parks. National Parks were established to preserve the land, meaning no active form of management. National Forests however, were established to be utilized and provide natural resources to the communities they surround. As Roger has clearly stated, active forest management actually promotes forest health and wildlife habitat. I encourage people to become more familiar with the management philosophies on the National Forests vs Natuonal Parks.
The website nationalforests.org does a great job of breaking down the differences.
Actually, the healthiest eco systems in the world are found in National Parks and Wilderness areas where the forests are not managed. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great example of that since it has the largest collection of life anywhere North of the Tropics, the largest stretch of untouched, old growth forest in the East and the highest density of Black bears in all of North America
Not true on the bears there dear. The highest density population of black bears in the world is in and around Hyde County, North Carolina. An area thriving with agricultural fields and clearcuts of loblolly pine, which by the way is early successional habitat and monoculture. Get your facts straight before you throw them out.
You are so wrong. Learn what foresters do. Your the one that lives under a rock because obviously you do not live in a house with any wood in the walls. And if you have any hardwood floors in your home you are such a hypocrit!
Hopefully this proposal will be shot down. Can’t believe the USFS thinks logging 70% of the forest is a good idea. I live in Alabama and there is a lot of logging going on in the Talladega National Forest as well. Makes me sick!
It’s all about making money. Pathetic.
Oregon and Washington log exports cost thousands of jobs
By Jerry Crane
In the year 2010, in spite of the nearly 20 percent increase in the timber harvest, direct employment in the forest products industry declined by 2,100 jobs in Oregon and 2,200 in Washington. All of the increase in the timber harvest is accounted for by huge increases of raw log exports to China.
The total timber harvest in 2010 was 2.629 billion board feet (bf) for Washington and 3.227 billion bf in Oregon. That totals 5.856 billion bf for the two states, an 18 percent increase over 2009. Most of this harvest was from private and state lands. Less than 9 percent was from national forests and BLM land.
Total log exports for the two states combined was 1.1 billion bf, or the equivalent of nearly 19 percent of the total combined harvest. The 1.1 billion board feet was an increase of 406 million bf, or 59 percent more than the previous year. (It is difficult to find separate log export numbers for the two states because many logs from Oregon are exported out of the Port of Longview, Wash.)
Log exports to the People’s Republic of China increased from 70 million board feet in 2009 to 495 million feet in 2010, accounting for all of the increase in the timber harvest as well as the increase in log export volume.
The total value of the logs exported was $697 million. The value of logs exported to the Republic of China was $306 million.
China had been importing logs from Russia and Canada until those countries put high export tariffs or other restrictions on raw log exports. Having overcut its own forests, China looked to the U.S. West Coast for logs in 2009, and the results are clear: China needs wood and is willing to pay for it.
In 2007 Oregon had 9.4 direct jobs per million board feet of timber harvested; 9.9 direct jobs per million board feet harvested in Washington. If half or more of those jobs were in the mills converting logs to lumber and plywood, the 1.1 billion bf of log exports represents a loss of between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs.
With log export restrictions in place, Russia and Canada are now exporting nearly 15 times more finished lumber to China than they were 10 years ago, two or three times more than just two years ago. In 2001 China was importing about 250,000 cubic meters of lumber from Russia and similar amounts from Canada and the U.S. In 2010 China imported about 3,800,000 cubic meters of lumber from Russia, 3,500,000 from Canada but just 250,000 from the U.S. We are still exporting logs!
Alexander Putin announced, with the introduction of Russia’s log export tariffs, that Russia’s goal is to stop the export of logs completely in favor of domestic manufacturing. We should be so enlightened. If citizens, unemployed workers and that part of the forest products industry that depends on timber sales would act to raise public awareness and push our elected leaders hard enough, there is a chance that we could follow the Russian and Canadian examples. We should not just sit and watch a few exporting companies load logs and jobs for Asia.
The pressure to increase timber harvests on industrial and other private land is much greater than before China entered the market so vigorously. The primary results will be: rapid depletion of the exportable timber on industrial and private lands, much higher prices for all timber, including that needed by domestic producers, and steadily increasing pressure on Congress to reopen the national forests for extensive logging.
Jerry Crane is a retired consultant to the forest products industry on issues of log buying and production practices, transportation and information technology. He lives in Southwest Portland.
The data on the timber harvest, log exports and employment in the forest products industry for 2010 are from the USDA Resource Bulletin PNW-260, “Production, Prices, Employment and Trade in Northwest Forest Industries, 2010.”
Information on Chinese imports of softwood lumber are from International Timber, RISI.
Using Oregon and Washington as an example is a horrible idea. Anyone who has lived there ( or traveled through) knows that all the massive clearcut by the sides of the hi ways looks like total shit. At least they leave one strip of tree’s by the side of the road. ( thats nice, I guess). Clear cutting the Forrest massively disrupts the ecosystem and inhibits nutrients in the soil for more growth. making a campaign That Is For clear cutting is obviously for money purposes only. You can try and make it sound as reasonable as you want- but its not. And anyone who lives in this area and contributes to National Forrest rentals, will not tolerate this happening here.
Residents near the Nantahala Nat’l Forests already have USFS roads CLOSED OFF, like Tatham Rd, and Tuni Gap Rd (which connect from Andrews, NC to Robbinsville and Hayesville, respectively), so that public lands there are not accessible.
For the USFS to propose new roads and extensive clear-cutting once again, for the benefit of privately held timber industries is a mistake.
Long ago I worked at both USFS Tusquittee and Cheaoh Ranger Districts (clear-cutting crew in Cheoah) and value the need for careful long-term management and harvesting of timber products.
But more road building, and cutting old-growth trees is terribly short-sighted and does not serve the public’s greater interest in healthy, accessible forest resources. The forests are for future generations, as much if not more than for ourselves.
Please noooooooo. It will ruin the beautiful land.
We know that logging can be good when it is selectively clearing areas for new growth. Is ths what is being proposed? or is there going to be a carte blanche openness for foresting companies?
If you can assure responsible foresting, please post it on your website. If not, there are many angry people ready to defy you.
The economics do not make sense. Current Tiber prices are low and there are plenty of private timber farmers that can provide plenty of timber! This should be thought of as a safety net. Something you would not EVER part with unless the circumstances were dire!
It appears that the blanket statement of the “U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park,” has started an uproar. Before I make any personal belief statements I would like to know a few facts which were not quoted and cited in the above announcement.
Is there a Forest Management Plan for each area to be harvested? Has each forested area had a wildlife and timber study completed recently to include overall forest heath, special ecological systems, special uses, timber basal area, endangered species, water quality, etc.
When generating a timber harvest plan, typically it includes how many trees can be cut to reduce the basal area to sustainable re-growth levels. What will the harvesting intervals be 30 years 50 years? How will the trees be harvested? clear cut? buy selection? using heavy equipment, small less invasive equipment, horses? What will the section of forest be maintained for wildlife? water quality? timber? endangered species? people? What best management practices will be used for slope stability, water quality, regrowth, wildlife, roads, uses for people.
I do not personally believe in cutting old growth areas, but not all parts of the forest are old growth. Each area of the forest is used in a different and unique way. If we want to maintain the forest for just ourselves by not harvesting to maintain “a natural look” it would be selfish. If we truly want to let the forests be their natural selves then we as a society should not build roads and trails, we should not suppress fire, we should not fly airplanes over the area, we should not dam up the rivers changing the ecosystems in this wilderness area.
I am neither for nor against the beginning blanket statement. Until someone completes the scientific research needed to prove what is ecologically occurring or may need to occur to restore ecological health, I can not speak for or against this plan.
What a terrible, terrible, terrible idea. 700,000 acres to ruin. No. Let’s not let this happen.
No one is going to harvest 700,000 acres at one time you goof ball. Goodness…get some common sense.
Comment sent to: NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us
As you continue to study the proposed plan for large scale logging in Pisgah & Nantahala Forests of North Carolina, I feel the responsibility to speak strongly against this practice. I, like others, have a vested interest in protection of these forests for personal and global reasons.
1. As pastor of a Presbyterian church, our Denomination’s last church camp is Camp Grier near Old Fort. Camp Grier is surrounded by National Forest on much of its border. Logging in this remote and environmentally sensitive area will completely destroy the natural sanctuary that now exists.
2. As a land-owner in Swain County, my family often spends time camping, hiking in, and enjoying the great diversity of plant and animal life in the Nantahala region. Massive timber operations will permanently alter the landscapes that make western NC what it is. Not only will this affect our personal enjoyment of the land, it will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the economies near areas of logging as tourism will dry up.
3. Economic development studies should be part of your examination of this proposal. Specifically, you should look into how exactly local economies will be affected across the western NC region. I am confident that any trend toward retirement planning/construction would shift dramatically, along with associated service industries as retirees begin looking elsewhere to call home.
4. Lasty, and perhaps most importantly, please pay attention to the tremendous damage that will be done to fragile and rare ecosystems that play critical roles in the true beauty of the NC mountains. It is my observation as an avid hiker, that the forests are dense and healthy in much of the area providing much needed habitats for wildlife and vegetation. The health of these forests also contributes directly to the health of North Carolinians, specifically in terms of air and water quality.
Thank you for your attention and for reconsidering this proposal. Please let me know if I can provide any further support for my position.
Humans trying to control nature always fails .
Commercial logging is not “eco-friendly”. Land management is (was) the objective of the U.S. Forest service. Selective cutting could be beneficial and not create a wide spread negative impact. In this senario both viewpoints could be satisfied. The question is who can stand up against big money to broker such a solution?
There is virtually no information in this PR piece. What does the actual proposal call for? Clear cutting 700,000 acres at once, or selectively logging a few acres at a time over the next 100 years? That would seem to be a pretty important detail.
I live in this area, in a valley with limited jobs or opportunities, cultural and educational challenges of every kind, struggling small businesses, high rates of high school dropouts and drug addiction. There’s not enough decent stores or restaurants to create any kind of town life any closer than an hour from here.
There’s just not that much going for this area, is what I am trying to say–except for the wilderness. The mountains and streams and forests are WHY people come here, and WHY we live here. Take that out of the equation and you’ll have another nasty, blighted American landscape, most of which isn’t easily accessible and is economically disadvantaged, to boot. It’ll be nasty.
To the sitemaster– the dark text on the dark green background in this comments section negatively affects its legibility and accessibility; please consider changing colors to heighten contrast.
Is this in proposed fracking region?
70% is a lot of trees that are the Lungs of the earth. Money can’t buy clean air. You will have a desolate area, and then cause all kids of problems. Animals? Hey, go somewhere else…really?
Flora and fauna …hope you pop up somewhere else? Follow the money and see who is really benefiting. Yes, let’s hear all of the story.
Please do not log ANY of the Pisgah/Nantahala national forest land. Those acres of forest are what makes our area so special to the local residents AND the millions of tourists that visit every year. Not to mention all of the wildlife and ecosystems that depend on it. It is also home to many pristine water ways that feed our water systems.
This would the biggest mistake ever made by the Forest Service. Not worth the little money made in the sale. Please do not do this!
No way. Nantahala and Pisgah are home to the most diverse eco-system on the planet. The forests and their understory are home to rare birds, plants and amphibians. The Smoky Mountains are already the most polluted park in the nation because of coal-fired electrical plants and if we de-forest, we only cause death to our fragile eco-system. Nantahala and Pisgah are pieces of Heaven. They better not mess with this. Forest service, do what is right.
Please, please reconsider.
Forests have survived on their own for thousands of years. Trees die and fall and rot back into the earth…opening up that area to sunlight and new growth. Leave it alone!!
Sometimes you need to harvest but leave the ‘National Forests’ out of it. I spend a lot of tme hiking in thw woods as a youth and I enjoyed it. Lets leave some for the future generaltions.
This would be absolutely wrong. What is wrong with them. We need these forest for our kids. I vote no live it the way it is
The benefits of reforestation are not as great as the preservation of the existing forest and the animal habitat. The beauty of the mountains is one of the areas sought after and enjoyed by tourist. We should never ship logs or lumber to Japan or any other country.
You shall be met with heavy opposition.
I Propose that we come up with new ways for the Forrest economy to thrive here besides the logging industry. There are SOOO many tourists, there must be a way to capitalize off them, instead of the tree’s.
What else can be done to help prevent this from happening? It looks like the following meeting has already taken place:
“The Forest Service will also hold a public meeting with opportunities for public questions and comments at the McDowell Technical Community College in Marion, N.C. on Thursday, Nov. 13.”
Does anyone know if there will be future public meetings about this?
The origional intention of protecting land in north American was to produce timber. Currently the forest services mission statement is towards multiple use which does include the harvesting of trees as well as providing recreational opportunities. We use wood, that’s a fact, from building to heat to furniture, I doubt a single one of you that is decrying this measure lives in a wood free house. If we aren’t going to harvest from our national forests then we are just going to import wood from other countries that may not have the public scrutiny on their wood industry. We would be making our consumption someone else’s problem, instead of using our national resources in a responsible way. That would be the real crime.
I have hiked and camped in both of these parks it is beautiful and I would like it be there in the future. Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest are both ecological and economic resources to many types of communities. Logging would destroy these communities. Some places need to be protected. Practice sustainable logging and timber growth in where logging/ forest removal has already taken place. Some places need to be left alone.
After reading some of the comments I am starting to think the people against this proposal are clueless when it comes to our environment. When clear cutting a forest the benefits for the forest and wildlife are endless. The forest gets a new life, lol at what happened to Yellowstone in the 80’s. Conservation groups were upset because of a fire that “destroyed” the park, well now look at it. Wildlife has increased, the forest has increased and both populations have doubled. This is the same thing that happens during a clear cut. Most of you hippes should really look at the big picture.
LOL Forest fire and clear cutting are very different. I do value the creativity you put forth in your answer, however, next time it might help to get a scientific basis before stating fact.
Actually, as a forester he is correct. Catastrophic wildfire as occurred in Yellowstone during the 80’s had the same stand replacement effect as a large clearcut. Fire regenerated the serotinous cones of the conifer species present. Much like reforestation after a clearcut. So ….who knows more about trees?….Lol
Large scale logging is not sustainable, clear-cutting is destructive to the forest eco-system and to the watershed. That said, I would support carefully planned and managed logging which creates jobs and benefits the local economy. The only way to get any reasonable positive local impact is to REQUIRE that all logs are fully processed (finished goods) within the region. No logs can be exported out of region, period. All the milling, drying, cutting, and manufacture of finished products should be done within a short distance of the logging project – say within 50 miles of the forest. No raw product can be exported – PERIOD!
And BTW – none of the forest plan even considers that the forests contain the headwaters of some of the highest quality rivers in the country – rivers which supply drinking water and water for industry to MILLIONS of people downstream.
Folks, we have really got to take some time to learn the science of Wildlife Management.
Too many folks on this site have got the facts ALL screwed up, and jumping to false conclusions based on what the alarmist media is saying.
The fact is, Wildlife and Plants are the primary and most precious forest user.
So you must get past your anthropogenic perspective of what you deem as “beautiful”. The fact is, an animal doesn’t give a dang about a places “aesthetics”, especially a human’s perspective. They NEED 1. steady supply of Food 2. Water 3. Shelter (Habitat, which often needs a certain structure, sometimes at a particular elevation,) 4. to procreate, in order to thrive.
Learn about what it takes for wildlife populations to stay healthy. Certain amounts of protein, fat, etc. at particular times of year for many species. Protein from insects, which are much more prolific in areas that are grassy, shrubby, etc. Or protein from certain herbaceous plants. You will only obtain healthy flush of herbaceous growth with SUNLIGHT hitting the forest floor, and this will happen most efficiently in a place that has had (mosaic patches) of timber management done, and can even be better improved using prescribed fire, to grow herbaceous forage of high quality.
How many of you folks on this forum have ever attempted to grow a vegetable or fruit garden? Would any of you dare to plant it under full canopy? How successful would your plants fruit?? THEY WOULDN’T! It would fail miserably. That is what is happening in our Forests in Western NC. They are becoming a food desert for wildlife that thrive and need food coming from a young forest/shrubby/old field setting. Please, go and study those critters that need what’s called Early successional habitat/young forest. Ruffed Grouse, Golden winged warblers, eastern cottontail, whitetail deer, even the occasional Bobwhite quail that were found out here, are declining significantly, on MOSTLY on Public lands, or are hardly to be found (the Quail). We also need sunlight to get to the forest floor to grow varieties of soft mast (berries, grapes, pokeweed, etc), in order to provide food before the later uncertain hard mast (acorn/hickory) in the fall.
Also, how many of you realize that the lovely Max Patch is an area of “early successional” habitat, that at one time had to have tree’s removed from it? Now they maintain it with both mechanical removal and fire.
All that is proposed in this Draft plan is the opportunity to utilize various tools to enhance habitat. lets get over the fright of ” logging” and realize, it’s not the old school logging any more. Please, take the time to study the facts. This is scientific timber management. There are checks and balances in place. Start paying attention to the vast amount of life that exists and concentrates in areas where timber has recently been removed, after a season of spring/summer growth. There are Multitudes of songbirds, insects, and much much more!
This USFS proposal is also strongly being supported by the state Wildlife agency, the professionals of monitoring and restoring wildlife to the state of North Carolina. Go and learn about the successes this agency has had, or just take a look at all the black bear and wild turkey, that have gone from nearly gone in this state, to flourishing.
Personally, I look forward to viewing much more wildlife when this science based timber management is implemented across the landscape in the small patchwork pattern that it will be. These critters’ FOODSHED will be improved drastically, as will my own foodshed. Local and natural plant harvest like wild berries will improve, and maybe i can harvest some animal protein with my bow. I’d personally rather harvest it from the woods, that buy it at EarthFare.
My goodness, please please please take the time to learn about the science of wildlife managment and timber management, and stop overreacting. Then make your decision.
There is a written plan that has been worked on for years and has been worked on by scientists, researchers and professionals in the wildlife and forest health fields. Clearly a lot of commentors here have not done their own research and have not read these plans. People educate yourselves before you comment.
The media needs to do the same before they publish such articles.
If you are GENUINELY concerned about the fate of animal populations on our local forests, take the time to learn the true science behind the needs of wildlife in our National Forests. Don’t rely simply on your emotions, or what your anthropogenic (human) perceptions are regarding the needs of animals.
Habitat mgmt – Clemson
Golden winged warbler, in decline needs “early successional habitat” (=more open/shrubby/grassy areas!)
please read and learn about habitat management. Attached is a link to Penn state http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/trans_pecos/habitat_management/
see page 2 about plant succession
If memory services me correctly, the majority, if not the entire, GSMNP was private property which was seized for public use from it’s rightful owners. The justification for this seizure was to create the GSMNP and preserve the area as a national treasure. If I am wrong about this, please let me know. My question: What bureaucrat decided that we no longer needed our national treasures and it was time to harvest them. Is this beind done for the good of the people of our great nation? What will they think of next??
I’d like to add that I concur with Sally. The NCWRC as she said brought back the turkeys (we actually had to trade for them because they were extirpated), the black bears, the deer and just about every other major game species in the state. They agree with plan, the Quality Deer Management Association, and the Ruffed Grouse Society, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation all concur with the NCWRC and the USFS that early succession/young forest types are way too low. Something we should all keep in mind is that the ‘natural’ state of the forest would include large numbers of elk and bison, both of which are grass obligate species, and both would have kept large areas of land open by grazing.
Another thing to keep in mind, as Sally pointed out, Max Patch, not to mention the many many grassy balds in the GSMNP and places like Roan Mountain are early succession habitats. These are some of the most popular hiking areas. Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Ocanaluftee, these are all grassland habitats which are extremely popular.
Also, as an elk enthusiast, I have to say that we need more grassland habitat. The elk are one of the great success stories in wildlife reintroduction, but they’re starting to encroach on human/agriculture areas. The NCWRC is in the process of identifying suitable elk habitat to purchase, and groups like the Conservation Fund are doing this as well, but without the National Forests, it’s going to be hard to have much of an elk population out here. If you like going to Cataloochee, you should support expanded grassland habitat in the forests.
I can’t believe that someone (who is very uninformed) said the GSMNP was home to one of the largest pop. Of ruffed grouse……this is why the forestry service needs to log..,…logging attracts wildlife.,…..please get informed and realize that logging helps a forest…..all one has to do is take a look at the upper Midwest…..lots of logging and lots of wildlife……yes we need to log and yes I’m a huge environmentalist…….cause I’m a hunter ( of ruffed grouse) and I’ve hiked all but a small section of the GSMNP……..
Not happy about this. Why deforestation here. You can use other materials to build or ultiize reclaimed materials. Structures as in homes and buildings can be built using silicon polymers. Where still part Caveman and Locust. Stop destroying forests.
On October 21st, the Forest Service unveiled draft management area boundaries that put 692,700, or about 69% of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, in management areas that make “timber production, for the purposeful growing and harvesting of crops of trees to be cut into logs” the “primary or secondary use of the land.” The last time the Nantahala-Pisgah has such a large timber base was in 1987, the year their first Forest Plan was finalized. The 1987 plan was also called a “50 year plan,” and it called for up to half-a-million acres to be cut by 2037 with little regard for steep slopes and mountain springs. Throughout the 1980’s, the Forest Service got a good head-start on that figure, averaging over 5,000 acres of logging annually. In 1988, 7,556 acres were cut, according to Forest Service records.
The 1987 plan, and the clear-cutting it encouraged, was incredibly unpopular. The outcry across western North Carolina was fierce. The Western North Carolina Alliance collected a petition with enough signatures to circle the Forest Service headquarters. When challenged, the Chief of the Forest Service under George H.W. Bush remanded the 1987 plan, and set in motion the significant amendment that led to the 1994 Plan, which left 528,000 acres in the “suitable timber base” and allowed approximately 3,000 acres of logging annually.
In 2014, the Nantahala-Pisgah is acknowledged as one of the jewels of the National Forest system, receiving over 7 million visitors annually and playing a crucial part in our region’s 2 billion dollar tourist economy. People still love the forest for the water, wildlife, scenery, wood, plants, and recreation it provides. Timber harvests for the last 12 years have been sustainable, averaging less than 800 acres annually, and there is an opportunity to increase that number while doing ecologically beneficial work. Yet, the divisions of the “timber wars” of the 80’s and 90’s still persist needlessly.
When we saw the proposal to add 163,000 acres to the “suitable timber base” and the 200,000 acres of trail corridors, backcountry areas, and rare species habitat that remain unprotected, the Alliance and its partners sounded the alarm. Since then, I have heard a variety of responses, but the most interesting is the Forest Service’s assurance that it has the budget to log “only” 1,500 acres a year, so don’t worry about how big the suitable timber base is.
But that’s not what the Forest Service’s proposal says. And the same folks supporting this proposal, assuring us that only 1,500 acres could be logged in a given year, are the same folks advocating for logging a minimum of 4,500 acres annually on our beloved National Forest. That starts to seem a lot like a brave new 1987 to me. This push for more logging has been accompanied by a hostility to protecting old-growth forests, natural heritage areas, and backcountry areas. All this has resulted in the swollen proposal for timber production unveiled in October. This is unfortunate, especially when protective conservation groups like The Wilderness Society and the Western North Carolina Alliance have publicly endorsed increasing logging over current levels if rare species habitat, old-growth forests, and backcountry areas are protected, and if management is done in service of ecological restoration.
If all backcountry areas, old-growth forests, natural heritage areas, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail were off-limits to timber production, how much land would be left over? Approximately 450,000 acres. By pursuing a program of ecological restoration in that area, the Forest could more than double its current timber harvest levels without controversy.
We are at a crossroads for Western North Carolina’s National Forests. We can veer back towards the 1980’s and prolong the conflicts that have plagued National Forests since that time, accept the common Forest Service cliche “we are doing a good job when no one is happy”, or we can work together to help one another accomplish our goals.
Please rethink this. Most of our forests in the Pacific NW are a shell of what they used to be. An ecosystem needs to be in tact to thrive. Logging decimates everything from animal habitat to silt in the streams.
It’s inconceivable that an agency wants to destroy something that benefits so many people – animals and nature. It’s also high time to think about future generations and what type of world we leave behind. Shame on you!
Kristin (US Forest Service)
While it is not easy to be in your position, I urge that you not succumb to the status quo – the easy answer. Be a true leader – not only for environmental stewardship – but the sustainment of the environmental well being of our future generations.
Take a stance – be innovative. Send a message that logging here is NOT the answer. Identify viable alternatives and stand by them. I will guess that you became a member of the forest service because somewhere deep down you have a passion and love for the environment and what it does not only for human capital but for environmental capital. I ask that you now reach deep down and do what is right. Do NOT allow logging.
I am hopeful that you will be the true environmental leader and do what is right.