Nantahala National Forest

National Park Service

There isn’t enough wild ginseng to harvest this year. That’s according to the U.S. Forest Service which will not be issuing any ginseng harvesting permits for the Nantahala or Pisgah National Forests in 2021.  

“We need to pause the harvest now to help ensure that these plants will be available in future years and for our grandkids and their kids,” said Gary Kauffman, botanist for the National Forests in North Carolina in a press release.

U.S. National Park Service

As temperatures warm up and COVID restrictions are lifted more tourists are hitting the streets - and the trails of Western North Carolina.

However, this is the time of year when natural food for bears is most scarce.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver explained that most bear-human conflicts occur from mid-May through August because of this lack of food. Stiver says June is the most challenging month. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio


The U.S. Forest Service is closing several popular trails and recreation spots in the Pisgah National Forest due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The U.S. Forest Service says is arson is the suspected cause of a wildfire reported Sunday night near the Lake Appalachia Dam in Cherokee County.  It’s estimated at 80 acres in size on land owned by the Forest Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  

Lilly Knoepp

The newest draft of the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan as well as the plan’s environmental impact statement are now available.

The beginnings of the plan were started in 2013, says Michelle Aldridge, team lead for the U.S. Forest Service’s forest plan revision. She say the plan has involved hundreds of people from the Forest Service, local nonprofits, county governments and national organizations. 

Lilly Knoepp

  After years of waiting, the Nantahala Pisgah Forest Plan is being released this month.   

The Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan has been in development for over five years. 


“I think one of the downsides of it being such a long drawn out process is that it's easy to even forget it's happening.”  


Lilly Knoepp

Today is the Nantahala National Forest’s 100th birthday! The forest was established on January 29, 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson. 

Nantahala is the largest of North Carolina’s four national forests with 531,148 acres. It includes the Appalachian Trail and the Bartram Trail, which follows the path of early naturalist William Bartram.  The highest peak in the forest is Lone Bald in Jackson County at 5,800 feet and the lowest elevation is 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along Hiwassee River.

Lilly Knoepp

The U.S. Forest Service has announced that its long-awaited forest management plan will be released in February 2020.

The Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan has been in development for over five years. The plan is a strategic framework for how the over 1 million acres of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will be managed for at least the next 10 years.

Lilly Knoepp

Record numbers of public comments, the government shutdown and innovations have all been factors in the slow pace of the release of the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Management Plan. 

Here’s an update from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. 

The new plan will provide strategies for managing both forests over the next 15 years.

The forest plan doesn’t just impact conservationists. Fisherman, horsemen, rock climbers and business people are all interested in how the management of over 1 million acres of forest will change.

Lilly Knoepp

 The partial shutdown of the federal government is in to its third week. BPR headed out past the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on the edge of Macon Country to see what effects, if any, the shutdown is having on the area.


Standing Indian Campground is in the Nantahala National Forest. The campground is always closed this time of year but people are still able to access the trails within the forest.  So the area still has plenty of visitors. Right now downed limbs and trees litter the roads and trails at Standing Indian.