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Environment

New Wildlife Refuge Proposed for Western NC

North Carolina's Western counties are home to one of the country's rarest natural habitats, mountain bogs. As Asma Khalid reports, the federal government is on a mission to preserve this unusual landscape by creating a national wildlife refuge in Southern Appalachia.

Asma Khalid: If you've never visited a mountain bog, think of a mini swamp, but isolated and patchy. Mountain bogs breed diverse creatures, and sometimes even endangered species.

Gary Peeples works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Asheville.

Gary Peeples: We have several Southern Appalachian bogs on the landscape. Almost none of those bogs are completely protected.

That's why the government wants to create a 23,000-acre refuge.

Gary Peeples: You don't really have a solid, comprehensive approach to how to take care of these bogs. So creating a national wildlife refuge would allow us to have this kind of big picture approach to taking care of these rare areas.

Officials are seeking public comments on the proposed plan. They'll host a series of open houses this summer.

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