In Virginia, swaths of forest hundreds of miles long are being clearcut for pipeline corridors, drawing protests from Virginians across the political spectrum. Pipeline construction crews are bulldozing a path across Jefferson National Forest and blasting under the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail.
Could similar pipelines be routed through North Carolina’s Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in the coming years? The Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is finalizing a 30-year forest plan this winter. No pipeline restrictions currently exist in the forest plan.
I HEART PISGAH—a coalition of over 100 organizations and thousands of individuals—is hoping to change that. They and other outdoor groups are encouraging the U.S. Forest Service to prohibit pipelines and other rights of way from passing through the Pisgah-Nantahala.
“We are seeing the damage and destruction caused by pipelines in the Jefferson National Forest,” says Hannah Furgiuele, organizer for I HEART PISGAH. “We want to make sure the Pisgah-Nantahala avoids a similar fate. The Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Plan is our best opportunity to prevent pipelines from bulldozing through our Blue Ridge backyards.”
Already, a gas pipeline has been proposed to run through Pisgah National Forest from the Duke power plant in Asheville to Canton. Other gas and infrastructure rights-of-way through the Pisgah-Nanthala may also be proposed over the 30-year lifespan of the forest plan.