NC Wilderness Talking Points

1)  The top Priority Areas for Wilderness designation are: Black Mountains, Craggy Mountains (Big Ivy) for the current WSA boundary, Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Extensions, Linville Gorge Extensions, Mackey Mountain, Middle Prong Extension for the IRA acres,Shining Rock Extensions for the IRA acres, Snowbird WSA, Southern Nantahala Extensions, Tusquitee Bald, Unicoi Mountains. None of these areas have designated mountain biking trails and all have Inventoried roadless acreage, old-growth forest acreage, opportunities for solitude, and outstanding Wilderness characteristics.

2) The Overflow Wilderness Study Area (Blue Valley) should be included in the PWA inventory and also recommended for Wilderness.

3) All of the NC Mountain Treasure Areas should be recognized and placed in a Management Area that maintains their roadless and natural character, and is not suitable for timber production and road building, such as a Backcountry, Special Interest, or Special Biological Area management.

4) The Forest Service should be using timber harvest as a tool to promote ecological integrity rather than for the goal of timber production and increasing the amount of the forest reserved for backcountry recreation.

5) All natural heritage areas identified by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program should be placed in Management Areas unsuitable for timber production.

6) Existing old-growth forest and old-growth forest designations from the last Forest Plan should be unsuitable for timber production.

7)  All Potential Wilderness Areas should be placed in either Wilderness Study or Remote/Backcountry Management Areas.

8) National Recreation Area designations should be considered on the Pisgah and Grandfather Ranger Districts to protect the recreational, scenic, and wildlife values these areas provide. The NRA’s should: a) ensure appropriate protection and preservation of the area’s scenic quality, water quality, natural characteristics, and water resources; b) protect and manage vegetation to provide wildlife and fish habitat consistent with (a); c) provide areas that may develop characteristics of old-growth forests; and d) provide a variety of recreation opportunities that are consistent with the preceding purposes.

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