Category: National Forests
The Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests and partners are hosting Kids' Fishing Days as part of National Fishing and Boating week, June 1 to 9.
Two sites in the Pisgah National Forest will hold events May 10 and 31.
No experience is needed for families to participate. Adults must accompany all children.
Events are scheduled for:
* Cedar Swamp Pond, just south of Newport off of Hibbs Road – June 8, 8 a.m. (catch hybrid sunfish or catfish)
* Boone Fork Pond, near Lenoir. Two events, one for the handicapped on May 10, 10 a.m. (register with the Grandfather Ranger District office at (828) 652-2144) and a second May 11, starting at 9 a.m.
* Lake Powhatan, near Asheville. Two events, one for special needs children on May 31 at 10 a.m., and a second June 1 at 9 a.m.
* Carolina Hemlocks, near Burnsville – June 1, 9 a.m. (Registration begins at 8 a.m.)
* Max Patch, near Hot Springs – June 8, 9 a.m. (Registration begins at 8 a.m.)
* King’s Mountain Point, on Badin Lake near Troy – June 8, 9 a.m. (catch hybrid sunfish or catfish).
The National Forest Service is proposing* a ban on alcohol at Fishers Landing, a small campground overlooking the Neuse River in the Croatan National Forest.
"The restriction is the result of resource and facility damage along with visitor complaints of alcohol-related incidents at this recreation site," a news release says.
Fishers Landing offers nine sites for tents and access to riverbank fishing, along with vault toilets, access to running water, fire rings and picnic tables. It is about eight miles south of New Bern on U.S. 70.
The Forest Service is taking comments for the next two weeks via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Croatan National Forest, 141 E Fisher Road, New Bern, N.C. 28560; or by fax at 252-637-9113.
*This post originally said the ban was in effect. The National Forest Service issued a correction to its news release moments later.
Damage to the property and "visitor complaints of alcohol-related incidents" have prompted a ban on alcohol at Fishers Landing campground in the Croatan National Forest. Click on the photo below for more information about Fishers Landing.
Several National Forest campgrounds and day-use sites in the North Carolina mountains opened for the season on April 1, the National Forest Service reminds us in a news release.
Nantahala National Forest campgrounds opening this week include:
* Appletree Group Camp
* Cable Cove
* Horse Cove
* Van Hook Glade.
The Cheoah Point and Standing Indian campgrounds in the Nantahala opened March 29.
There are about 16 designated campgrounds in the Nantahala National Forest.
In addition, Balsam Lake Lodge in the Nantahala just recently opened after repairs to the dam and lake. Groups of up to 20 people can rent the fully equipped Balsam Lake Lodge for $170 to $200 a night.
Pisgah National Forest campgrounds that opened Monday are:
* Curtis Creek
* Lake Powhatan
Davidson River and North Mills River campgrounds are open year-round, as are the Pisgah’s three group camps.
There are about 20 designated campgrounds in the Pisgah.
Day-use areas in the Nantahala that opened Monday include:
* Cliffside Lake
* Cherokee Lake
* Wayehutta ATV System.
Pisgah day-use areas that opened Monday include:
* Brown Mountain OHV Area
* Murray Branch
* Poplar Boat Launch
* Stackhouse Boat Launch.
The restroom facilities at Sycamore Flats and Coon Tree picnic areas opened for the season on Monday, too. Flush-toilet restrooms in the moluntains are closed during the winter to prevent damage from frozen water in pipes.
There are also eight campgrounds in the Croatan National Forest near the coast, all but one of which are open year-round, and 10 Uwharrie National Forest campgrounds in the central part of the state, most of which are open year-round.
Users straying from designated trails in the Uwharrie National Forest have caused the indefinite closing of two trails in the Badin Lake Recreation Area, the U.S. Forest Service said today.
Rocky Mountain Loop Off-Highway Vehicle Trail and Hang Glider Horse Trail have been "closed for further review."
The closings are "because of excessive damage to the natural resources of these areas," a news release says. "The damage is directly related to the recreational uses of OHVs, horses and dispersed camping in these areas."
An emailed version of the release, but not the online version, says: "The damage was caused by some users venturing off designated trails and out into the Forest."
Rocky Mountain Loop is a 2.8-mile moderate trail near parking for the Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex's Art Lilley dispersed camping area. It is blazed with orange diamond trail markers.
The Hang Glider Trail is a 1.4-mile trail rated as difficult that leads to a scenic view of Hang Glider Rock. It is blazed with salmon blazes.
The Forest Service will keep the trails closed until they figure out how to protect the sensitive resources in these areas.
The Badin Lake Recreation Area has 17 miles of OHV trails and about 40 miles of hiking, biking and bridle trails.
Tickets will be issued to anyone found using OHVs, horses or dispersed camping in or along the closed trails, the news release says.
Higher fees are likely at seven National Forest recreation sites in North Carolina, the National Forest Service said in a news release this morning.
The proposed increases are for:
* Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest. Fees would increase from $12 to $20 per night for single campsites. The electrical surcharge would increase from $5 to $7.
Campsite fees at Cedar Point have not increased in 15 years, while operation and maintenance costs have risen, the Forest Service says.
* Arrowhead Campground in the Uwharrie National Forest. Fees for single campsites would increase from $12 to $18 per night and from $24 to $36 at double sites. The electrical surcharge would increase from $3 to $7 per night.
High visitation has increased maintenance costs, the Forest Service says. Additional revenue will help pay for the costs of campground hosts, as well as maintaining and operating water, sewage and other facilities.
* Canebrake Horse Camp in the Uwharrie. Fees for single and double campsites, which are $12 and $24, respectively, would be $18 and $36, the same as at Arrowhead Campground. All sites have free electrical hookups, but an electrical surcharge of $7 would be instituted.
High visitation has increased maintenance costs. Additional revenue will help pay for the costs of campground hosts, as well as maintaining and operating water, sewage and other facilities.
* Sliding Rock Recreation Area in the Pisgah National Forest. Daily admission would increase from $1 to $2. Annual passes would remain at $25.
"Additional revenue is required to operate this extremely popular site, which often receives 1,000 or more people a day," the Forest Service says. Fees will pay for expanded hours for lifeguards and maintenance of the site.
Shooting ranges in the Nantahala National Forest would see fee increases that would, in part, standardize rates. Also with the new fees, an annual pass would allow shooters to use all three ranges in the Nantahala. The fees are needed to address maintenance needs and other costs associated with increased visitation, the Forest Service says.
* Dirty John Shooting Range daily fees would increase from $3 per vehicle to $3 per person. Annual fees would increase from $7 per vehicle to $25 per person.
* Moss Knob Shooting Range fees would be instituted at $3 per person for daily passes and $25 per person for an annual pass. This is the only new fee across the four national forests, the Forest Service says.
* Panther Top Shooting Range daily fees would increase from $2 to $3 per person. Annual fee would remain $25 per person.
If approved, the increased fees would be implemented over a two-year span.
The Forest Service will accept comments through February, at email@example.com.
Campsite fees at Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest, below, are to increase from $12 to $20 per night for single campsites. Charges for electricity will increase as well, according to the proposal. Click on the photo for more information about Cedar Point.
"We look forward to the stocking of fish in the spring, so visitors can again enjoy this majestic water," Mike Wilkins, a ranger in the Nantahala District of the Nantahala National Forest, said in a news release.
The recreation area's season runs from April 1 to October 31.
Balsam Lake, right, is normally stocked with rainbow trout twice during the spring/summer season, and a creek supplies native mountain trout.
The lake has several accessible fishing piers and allows bank and small boat fishing. The recreation area also has a picnic shelter and toilets, and short easy trails.
Groups of up to 20 people can rent the fully equipped Balsam Lake Lodge, seen from across the lake below, for $170 to $200 a night.
Splash boards on the eight-acre lake's dam allowed too much water to pass around them, so a slight adjustment was made to help maintain proper lake levels, the news release says.
If you want to keep up as plans are made for managing the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests over the next 15 years, now is the time to let the Forest Service know.
The Forest Service will revise the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land and Resource Management Plan over the next three to four years, according to a news release.
The Nantahala and Pisgah encompass more than 1 million acres in western North Carolina. They provide a variety of public recreation sites, including dozens of day use areas, campgrounds and hiking opportunities (scroll down at each link for Pisgah sites). Together, they are among the most visited national forests in the nation, the Forest Service says.
The management plan revision process begins with the Assessment Phase, about a year's worth of collecting and compiling data about the two forests. Next comes the two-to-three-year Planning Phase, which is followed by the Monitoring Phase, which lasts until the next plan revision.
Rules for developing these management plans were revised this year to strengthen the role of public involvement and dialogue throughout the planning process, the news release says. An explanation of the process online says the Assessment Phase is to include "numerous public meetings ... to receive input from stakeholders" beginning in February.
The Forest Service is to provide details about public meetings and "other information to foster public participation" over the next few months. To receive email updates, visit www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc and click on "To receive News and Alerts by Email," then select Nantahala or Pisgah National Forest.
The Forest Service published the original management plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah forests in 1987. A significant amendment to the plan was published in 1994, and smaller amendments occurred in subsequent years.
Each national forest and grassland is governed by a management plan in accordance with the National Forest Management Act. These plans set management, protection and use goals and guidelines.
The 2012 Planning Rule revision guides the planning process. It includes stronger protections for forests, water and wildlife "while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities," according to the news release. It also requires the use of the best available scientific information to inform decisions.
A Forest Service map shows the 18 counties of western North Carolina affected by plans for management of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.
We noted work to rehab the Appalachian Trail's Cold Springs Shelter in a roundup of National Forest Service announcements in September, which said the work would go through mid-December. But the Forest Service said last week the shelter has reopened.
The Nantahala Hiking Club repaired the bottom seal and footers to add stability to the shelter, the Forest Service says.
Cold Springs Shelter is one of about 250 shelters along the 2,181-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail available for hikers.
The shelter is in the Nantahala National Forest 1.3 miles north of Burningtown Gap, a trailhead accessed from State Road 1310 (Wayah Road), between U.S. 64 west of Franklin and U.S. 19 at the Nantahala River rafting put-in location, according to the Nantahala Hiking Club.
Three recent incidents involving bears in the Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area of the Nantahala National Forest have prompted a warning from the National Forest Service.
The Forest Service "is discouraging people from backcountry camping and from bringing food into the Panthertown Valley area," a news release says. Camp in areas that are used infrequently if you choose to camp in the area, it says.
Recent bear encounters near Mac’s Gap, Green Valley and the Little Green Mountain area resulted in damaged tents and stolen food, but no injuries.
The 6,300-acre backcountry northeast of Cashiers has about 25 miles of trails offering routes to scenic views, rock outcrops and waterfalls.
Here are some more opportunities for camping in the Nantahala National Forest.
A series of bear attacks in recent weeks has caused the U.S. Forest Service to halt camping in the Shining Rock Wilderness and Graveyard Fields areas of the Pisgah National Forest, the Forest Service said today.
A bear damaged a tent and food bag in the area Monday night. Two people were in the tent at the time of the encounter, but no one was injured.
The Shining Rock Wilderness is a rugged 18,000-acre area with about 40 miles of trails among steep elevation changes off of U.S. 276 and N.C. 215 southwest of Waynesville. Graveyard Fields is a high valley within the wilderness.
The Forest Service says it will monitor conditions to determine when it is safe to reopen the wilderness area to camping. Contact the Pisgah Ranger District at 828-877-3265 with questions.
Here are some additional Pisgah Forest camping sites.