This year, the US Forest Service is releasing its updated draft on the next 15+ year management plan that defines the rules for all activities in Nantahala and Pisgah Forest.

Over the next couple weeks, MountainTrue is hosting a series of events across Western North Carolina titled: The Future of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests: An Expert Panel on the Forest Management Plan.

Organized by Susan Bean, the Community Engagement Manager of MountainTrue, these events consist of a panel of representatives from various interest groups. They will take part in a constructive dialogue to determine the future of these forests.

Planning For The Future

The goal is simple: Create a win-win plan for everyone who relies on the forests, whether for recreation or business. You can view the latest draft of the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan here. Keep in mind, this is the “big picture plan.” There are amendments added as time goes on and interests change.

Both forests play host to millions of visitors every year. From outdoor recreation and conservation to timber companies and other interests, everyone is affected.

Combined, the forests consist of twelve geographic areas across more than a million acres. Home to thousands of unique species of plants and animals, they are two of the most biodiverse temperate forests on the planet.

The parties involved in the planning are as diverse as the forests themselves.

So who is responsible for their future?

The Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership

The Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership is a collaborative group of representatives from cultural, timber, water, wildlife, recreation, wilderness and more. Members range from organizations and networks to individuals and of course, The US Forest Service. Together, they have an all encompassing vision for the future of the forests.

We envision a thriving, resilient forest within its natural range of variation, able to support healthy ecosystems, wildlife populations, local economies, and traditional uses. We envision a forest with the connectivity and integrity to remain resilient in the face of the changes and challenges of the future.

How You Can Get Involved

There will be four events held this month in where you can learn more about the proposed solutions for a multi-use, win-win forest plan. These are the combined efforts of MountainTrue, the Nantahala Pisgah Partnership, forest experts, and other participating groups. Each event will feature a constructive dialogue with the panelists and will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Everyone who shares and loves these forests will be impacted by this plan. This will be an opportunity for the public to learn more about the plan and have their voice heard.

For more information on each event, click on the links below:

March 15 in Sylva at the Jackson County Public Library

March 22 in Boone at the Watauga Public Library

March 27 in Brevard at the Transylvania County Public Library

March 29 in Andrews at the Andrews Community Center


Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.