MagazineJune 2008Grandfather National Scenic Area

Grandfather National Scenic Area

BLOWING ROCK, NC -The proposed Grandfather National Scenic Area lies across the 5th and 10th Congressional Districts, with the majority of the 25,500 acre area found in Caldwell and Avery Counties. Economists agree that the Grandfather National Scenic Area designation, while costing taxpayers nothing, would provide a significant boost to the local economy.

The concept for the Grandfather National Scenic Area (GNSA) was borne from an ill-conceived Forest Service logging project in the Pisgah National Forest one mile south of Blowing Rock, NC. Following a series of controversial clearcuts in the late 1980s, U.S. Forest Service promised the community that they would not log in the area again.

Lacking institutional memory, however, the agency caught the community off guard when they returned in Feb. 2006 with plans to log the beloved Globe Forest yet again. The Forest Service exacerbated the problem when they neglected to inform the Blowing Rock community, who learned about the project only after Wild South brought it to their attention in August 2006—one week before the comment period closed.

The community responded with an unprecedented 1,800 comments to the Forest Service opposing the project. The Blowing Rock Town Council followed suit and in a unanimous resolution they called for the creation of the Grandfather National Scenic Area.

At the request of the community, Wild South and the Southern Environmental Law Center helped draft proposed language for a bill that would set aside 25,500 acres of Pisgah National Forest as a National Scenic Area. While the bill has the support of other NC delegates, Rep. Virginia Foxx (5th Dist.) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (10th Dist.) remain uncommitted.

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