Pisgah National Forest

Scott McLeod / Smoky Mountain News

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(4p.m. Sunday)  Release from Haywood County Emergency Services: Search efforts today focused on locating the last remaining person still unaccounted for following Tropical Storm Fred.   Five individuals have been confirmed dead — Frank Mungo, 86, Franklin McKenzie, 68, Judy Mason, 73, Charlene Mungo, 83, all of Cruso have now been identified and families notified.

The fifth victim, Frank Lauer, Sr., 74, of Cruso was located today, and his family have been notified. “I extend my deepest condolences to Mrs. Lauer and her family. We are holding the Lauer family close in our hearts, and are praying for them now in the time of their loss,” said Sheriff Greg Christopher

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.

Lilly Knoepp

The U.S. Forest Service has announced new restrictions at Max Patch, a national forest area near the Tennessee state line in Madison County which includes a section of the Appalachian Trail. The 4,629 foot bald is a popular camping and backpacking destination but the trail saw an explosion of visitors during 2020.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

As visitors return to Western North Carolina’s trails and parklands, they’re leaving mounds of trash behind them.

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.  

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

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.