The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are in the process of revising the forest plan. The public comment period for the evaluation of potential additions to wilderness has been extended until Feb. 27th, 2015. The agency is welcoming all public comments to the overall plan revision project.
Please help support a future of mountain biking in these forests and use this extended opportunity to send in your thoughts! Send comments by email to NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us or by USPS mail to 160 Zillicoa St, Ste A, Asheville, NC 28801. New comments can also be filed through the collaborative mapping tool, and can be left anonymously.
Please use the IMBA-SORBA position statement as a guide for comments on the forest plan. For more information on Wilderness, which prohibits mountain biking, also consider reading the Wilderness FAQ published online by IMBA.
As a subordinate of IMBA-SORBA, the Northwest NC MTB Alliance does not support Wilderness additions in areas where mountain biking exists or in areas that contain significant mountain biking opportunities. In Pisgah Natioanl Forest, specifically, our Board of Directors has voted to oppose the Wilderness recommendations for Harper Creek and Lost Cove “Wilderness Study Areas.” We do support highly protective designations such as a National Recreation Area, which would provide the land maximum protection while still allowing mountain biking.
Quick Facts on Mountain Biking in the Pisgah Grandfather District:
• The Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest (192,000 acres) includes mountain biking trail complexes in Wilson Creek, Boone Fork/Globe, Old Fort/Curtis Creek, and Woods Mountain Areas. All of these are in the Northwest NC Region.
• The Grandfather District has 267 miles of trail with 61 miles designated to include mountain bikes (22%). *
• For comparison, Pisgah Ranger District has 380 miles of trails and 180 miles designated for bike use (47%). *
• The “Wilson Creek Area,” roughly 49,000 acres has a large concentration of the District’s trails, 78.8 miles (with 18.6 designated for bikes, 24%). Of the 29 trails, 4 trails are designated for mountain biking (7.25%).**
• The Wilson Creek Area contains two Wilderness Study Areas, Harper Creek (7,138 Acres), and Lost Cove (5,708). Combined, these 12,846 acres are geographically located in the middle of the Wilson Creek Area.
• Harper Creek and Lost Cove have held Wilderness Study Area designations since 1984 (thirty-one years). Wilderness bills that were introduced to permanently designate these areas as Wilderness have failed to pass through Congress on three occasions.
• 136% increase in recreation on National Forests in the past 24 years*
• Trail use is the most popular recreation activity on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests*
• Out of all Trails in Pisgah National Forest 16% are reported as meeting the National Trail Quality Standards *
*Source: Nantahala and Nantahala Forest Non-Motorized Trail Strategy
**Source: Wilson Creek Map, USFS, 2009 edition