Protecting Panthertown Valley: F

  • Areas in Panthertown are best suited for Special Interest Area and Backcountry Management Area designations. The areas in Panthertown proposed in the draft Forest Plan as Matrix should instead be managed as Backcountry, while the core of Panthertown should remain as a Special Interest Area.
  • The Forest Plan should prioritize recreational use in Panthertown. Recreation and conservation should be prioritized over increased timber harvests, with a focus on protecting its trails, clean water, scenic views, rare species, wild places, and old growth.
  • The Forest Service should manage the Dismal Creek / Dismal Falls / Big Pisgah area on Pisgah National Forest as Backcountry with contiguous area in Panthertown.
  • The Forest Plan should specify that vegetation and ecosystem management within the Panthertown Special Interest Area should recognize recreation values and be solely for the purpose of restoring and enhancing the ecological integrity and values of the area.
  • Management of Panthertown should restrict prescribed burning and timber harvesting within 50 feet of system trails, kept outside of popular recreational corridors, and away from Special Interest Areas.
  • Panthertown Creek, Greenland Creek, and the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River (totaling 8.6 miles) should be reconsidered and found to be eligible for Wild and Scenic River designations to receive the maximum possible protections.
  • The Forest Service should strengthen water quality protections and ensure that all Outstanding Resource Waters are named and protected in the Forest Plan. Stream protection standards should meet or exceed those currently set for other Southern Appalachian National Forests such as the Chattahoochee, the Cherokee, and the Jefferson.
  • The Forest Service should protect existing old growth forest areas in Panthertown Valley.
  • A comprehensive trail inventory should be conducted to determine which trails are most needed by hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, climbers, anglers and other trail users. The Forest Service should add those priority trails to the official system, and partner with recreation groups, such as Friends of Panthertown, to ensure that the trails are maintained and made sustainable.


More Issues • Please Read

Protected Areas: F

The plan fails to protect over 101,000 acres of most important conservation and recreation hotspots. More than half of the most popular forest in the country is in highest priority logging designations.

Craggy National Scenic Area: D

The Forest Scenic Area designation for part of Craggy provides key support for the proposed Craggy National Scenic Area, and the final plan included an additional 700 acres. However, the plan places