Buncombe County Commissioners are sending the Forest Service a message: Don’t cut trees in the Big Ivy community. On March 15, Commissioners unanimously approved sending their formal objection to portions of the Forest Service’s Revised Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan citing it’s in the best interest of the County for this plan to not move forward. Specifically, Commissioners noted: “The Forest Service decision in this matter failed to consider the impact of its management allocations on Buncombe County; failed to properly analyze as a reasonable alternative the protection of the entire area for its scenic, water, biological, and recreational values; failed to include these key conservation and recreation areas in its Forest Scenic Area designation; and failed to fully consider and analyze the proposed Craggy National Scenic Area with embedded wilderness designation for an expanded Craggy Mountain Wilderness Area.”
In fact, the Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest makes up most of the Craggy viewshed. Craggy Gardens is the most popular and photographed spot along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with more than 500,000 visitors annually.
“At the end of the day, it’s the Forest Services’ decision on this, we would be one of many voices weighing in,” noted Commission Chair Brownie Newman. “It reiterates our position for protection of the Big Ivy area so visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation that is popular in that area.”
According to the Forest Service, this plan would provide management framework for the area for upward of 15 years. The federal agency posted the revised plan on Jan. 21 and is taking comments about the plan for 90 days. If you would like to make a comment, you may do so online here.
You can read the formal objection letter here.