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Thursday, January 26, 2006

U S Forest Service agrees to protect old growth forest

More than 700 acres in the Nantahala National Forest near Highlands — some if it never before logged — will be protected following a compromise reached between the U.S. Forest Service and environmental groups protesting a proposed logging operation.

Environmental groups contended the U.S. Forest Service neglected to recognize and protect significant stands of old growth forest in an area slated for selective logging.
“This error might have gone unnoticed, leaving the huge, old trees open to logging, if not for the careful forest watch role played by the conservation groups and their members,” stated a press release issued by a coalition of five local environmental groups that opposed the logging operation.

Read the rest of the story here.

Image right: HikeWNC, View from the summit of Whiteside Mountain overlooking the Nantahala National Forest.

Nantahala (nan-ta-hala) is an Indian name meaning "Land of the Noonday Sun." This name is most appropriate as the sun only reaches the floor of the deep gorges and valleys when directly overhead at midday.

The Spanish Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto, explored the area in 1540 and in 1920 the Forest was established. It is the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina lying in the mountains and valleys of western North Carolina with elevations as high as 5,800 feet at Lone Bald in Jackson County, to a low 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along the Tusquitee River and is the home of many western NC waterfalls.

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