Hah! Wilderness. It’s not all in Alaska or Montana.
We have wilderness areas right here in our own backyard in Western North Carolina. That includes Shining Rock and Middleprong Wilderness. Should we get involved and speak up, we may have a wilderness area in Buncombe County.
Just north of Asheville lies one of the wildest forests in the East. Big Ivy is a section in the Appalachian District of Pisgah National Forest with waterfalls, over forty rare and endangered species, and more old-growth than any other eastern forest except Joyce Kilmer. You may know it as the Craggy Mountains, designated as a Mountain Treasure.
Last month, the Forest Service proposed allowing logging in 70 percent of Big Ivy, including most of its old-growth forests. Instead, a group of Big Ivy activists want to protect Big Ivy by working on making it a federally design wilderness. It’s not an easy process.
The first step is to convince the Buncombe County Commissioners to support an expanded wilderness recommendation for Big Ivy. Wilderness is the only way to permanently protect Big Ivy from logging.
On Tuesday, September 20, the Buncombe County Commissioners will vote on a resolution supporting an expanded wilderness for Big Ivy. If passed, it will support the first and only wilderness in Buncombe County.
The wilderness recommendation won’t affect any current uses of Big Ivy. No roads or trails will be closed. The wilderness recommendation will simply prohibit logging and development in trailless, high-elevation areas of Big Ivy where most of the old-growth forests are located.
The meeting will be on September 20 at 4:30 p.m. at 200 College Street, Suite 326 in Asheville.
We need a big crowd and a lot of voices willing to speak on behalf of Big Ivy.
Can’t make it? Not from the area? Pisgah National Forest is, well, national. Write, call or email:
District Ranger, Matthew McCombs
Pisgah National Forest – Appalachian District
632 Manor Road
Mars Hill, NC 28754
Photos thanks to Steven McBride