The newest draft of the Nantahala Pisgah Forest plan has been out since Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Forest Service plan is a strategic framework for the way the over 1 million acres of the two forests will be managed for the next 10 to 15 years. In March, public meetings across the region will start. Cathy Dowd is the public affairs officer at the Forest Service office in Asheville.
“The public meetings are designed so that we can take time for the public to speak with planning team members,” says Dowd. “It’s a great opportunity to ask questions or discuss issues or concerns that they may have about the plan.”
The plan outlines desired conditions in the forest along with the environmental analysis of four approaches or “alternatives” that can be taken to implement the forest plan. Each alternative has compromises in it for the many different stakeholders who care about the forest, explains Michelle Aldridge, team lead for the U.S. Forest Service’s forest plan revision.
Dowd explains that these public meetings are a time for the public to ask questions and discuss topics with the planning team. However, the best place to make a comment on the plan is online so that it will be officially on record.
The meetings will be hosted from Morganton and Asheville to Robbinsville and Brasstown. The meetings in March run from 5:30 to 8:30pm. There will be an overview of the plan at 6pm, otherwise, it is a drop in meeting.
The public comment period ends May 14.
March 10, 5:30-8:30 pm at the Foothills Conference Center, 2128 S. Sterling St., Morganton, NC.
March 12, 5:30-8:30 pm at the NC Arboretum Education Center, 100 Frederick Law Olmstead Way, Asheville, NC (The Arboretum will be open to attendees as early as 4:30 pm. The parking fee is waived and each attendee will receive a parking pass. Pets are not allowed in the facility.)
March 16, 5:30-8:30 pm at the Rogow Family Community Room, Brevard Library, 212 S. Gaston St., Brevard, NC.
March 19, 5:30-8:30 pm at the Brasstown Community Center, 255 Settawig Rd., Brasstown, NC.
March 24, 5:30-8:30 pm at the First Presbyterian Church's Tartan Hall, 26 Church Street, Franklin, NC.
March 26, 5:30-8:30 pm at the Bentley Fellowship Hall, 265 Cascade St, Mars Hill, NC.
March 31, 5:30-8:30 pm at the Four Square Community Action Center, 196 Knight St., Robbinsville, NC.