Save Linville Gorge Wilderness Updates & Projects
Prescribed Burns of the Linville Gorge Wilderness
In the pursuit of Wilderness preservation in conjunction with principles under the 1964 US Congressional Wilderness Act, Save Linville Gorge Wilderness (SaveLGW.org) has been working for the prohibition of "prescribed" burning of the Linville Gorge Wilderness to prevent significant man-made impact on the Wilderness character of the Gorge. The U.S. Forest Service 2011 Grandfather Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Proposal to burn the entire Linville Gorge Wilderness Area by dropping incendiary devices from helicopters was protested in 2012 and eventually put on hold in January 2014 due to strong public opposition and the lack of a substantive basis for the proposal. Through this site, many individuals signed a petition and provided substantive comments with alternatives to the Forest Service.
The Pisgah - Nantahala Forest 15 Year Land Management Plan Revision is currently underway. This is the formal process in which the USFS reviews its assets, assesses the current forest plan, analyzes the need for change, proposes a revision, and adopts a plan for forest land management and utilization. This multi-year long process is initiated in 15-year intervals. The Management Plan Revision will set forth the strategic plan and provide the long range guidelines and underlying authorization for decisions in forest management of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. It is the second Plan in the country that is following the new planning rules.
The Forest Management Plan Revision has completed the assessment phase and the plan is now in the development phase. While the plan includes increased emphasis on a stated need for "prescribed" burning throughout these western North Carolina National Forests, we are pleased that the preliminary draft plan excludes burning of Wilderness. A second petition, also initiated through this site, provided comments to the US Forest Service on leaving prescribed burning out of wilderness management in the Forest Plan Revision. We hope that this exclusion of "prescribed" burning in the Wilderness will remain as the plan is finalized.
While we are encouraged by the initial release of preliminary draft plan documentation, we realize the draft position on burning in the wilderness is not yet guaranteed. This petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-burning-of-linville-gorge-wilderness requests that no prescribed burning in the Linville Gorge Wilderness be authorized by the US Forest Service Pisgah-Nantahala 15-year Forest Management Plan Update. Please sign and share with your friends and others that care about wilderness. By signing the petition you will also get updates on the plan status.
15 Year Plan Revision and Wilderness Additions
The 15 Year Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Land Management Plan’s assessment identifies considerable additional acreage for wilderness designation across the forests, with two tracts adjacent to the Linville Gorge. The USFS is now seeking comments on Wilderness proposals ended February 27, 2015. There are two areas (6,000 and 3,000 acres) adjacent to the Gorge that are listed as potential Wilderness additions. We are advocating for additional wilderness designation around the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, to keep areas with wilderness characteristics wild. We will be watching these Wilderness addition proposals as they move forward and how we may support actions that can get this nomination to Congress.
Stop the Shooting Range On the Linville Tract of US Forest Service Game Lands below Shortoff Mountain
We have been working to stop a proposed shooting range within the Linville Tract of State Game Land, within earshot of the 11,700 acre Linville Gorge, which would be impacted by the sounds of regular gunfire. In addition to noise, lead pollution is a major problem from outdoor shooting ranges that can impact area residents and wildlife. The location is also within habitat that eagles occupy ranging from the shores of Lake James through the Gorge. Our campaign to support locally initiated efforts to end plans for the proposed shooting range began in the summer and has since helped inspire the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to consider other locations.
July 14, 2015 NC Wildlife Resources announced: Due to overwhelming public opposition to both proposed sites, the Wildlife Commission will continue its search for a more suitable site in Burke County or surrounding counties.
Thanks to all that participated!
Wilderness Celebrations, Education, Activism and Fellowship
September 26th SaveLGW celebrated its second annual Keep It Wild get together at the Linville Falls Picnic Area. Approximately 65 attended the event to share food, experiences, history, and good times. The next Keep It Wild - Linville Gorge Celebration will be held on September 24, 2016 to promote Wilderness education, activism and fellowship.
Please contact us if you are interested in helping to plan this event: info@SaveLGW.org
2016 Keep It Wild - Linville Gorge Calendar
The 2015 Keep It Wild - Linville Gorge Calendar was a success and we are now working on the 2016 calendar. The calendar will contains 12 months of superb photography of the magic of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, each accompanied by inspiring wilderness quotes. All photography and preparation work were donated to SaveLGW by volunteers. A 16% donation is made to SaveLGW with each calendar purchase. See the News section for more information.