Nantahala Development in the Works

A private inholding within one of the most rugged and pristine sections of Nantahala National Forest will soon be developed, and parts of the epic Fires Creek Rim Trail system will be bulldozed to accommodate the development. The U.S. Forest Service announced that it will allow parts of the Fires Creek Trail system to be removed in order to provide road access to private landowners of the Nantahala development nearby. The easement will allow the landowners to construct, at their expense, a road across Forest Service lands to their 50-acre tract of private property. The route of access involves reconstructing and repairing portions of Rockhouse Branch Road (Forest Service Road 340A) and Phillips Ridge Road (Forest Service Road 340A1) and constructing approximately one-third of a mile of new road on Forest Service lands. The private tract is completely surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands in the Tusquitee Ranger District of Nantahala National Forest in Western North Carolina.

Park Ranger Shot, Ruled Accident

In a sad, strange tale, a ranger was shot and a woman was killed last week on the banks of north Georgia’s Lake Lanier. Lower Buford Dam Park ranger D.P. Wright was struck in the stomach by a bullet fired by Qiana Moore. The 70-year-old Wright approached Moore as she sat in her car to tell her the park was closed when Moore shot herself. The bullet traveled through the window of her truck and into Wright, according to police. A suicide note was found in the car. Wright is expected to make a full recovery and his family says he “looks forward to returning to the job he loves and particularly interacting and teaching children about water safety.”

DuPont Gets Upgrade

North Carolina’s DuPont State Recreation Forest unveiled a significant upgrade to its infrastructure Monday. Before a crowd of hundreds, N.C. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler dropped the rope on two structures aimed at improving visitor safety and enjoyment. The new 120-foot-long, 10-foot-wide Hooker Falls Bridge spans the Little River from the Hooker Falls parking area on Staton Road, to the trails leading to the popular Triple and High waterfalls, while also doubling the size of the parking area. The Aleen Steinberg Welcome Center was remodeled from an existing 2,600-square-foot building, and will be the main contact point for visitors to the park.