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Blue Ridge Commons

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Most of the managed wilderness in America is not national park but national forest. In North Carolina for instance, we have 4 of them, the Pisgah, Croatan, Uwharrie and the Nantahala, and together they are the size of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, more than a million acres.

The history of our National parks is well known and not without controversy, particularly when it comes to the people displaced by their creation. But the history of our National Forests is less well known, farm more complicated and arguably far more important. Kathy Newfont believes that understanding the history of the Southern Appalachians is the best way to understand National Forests in America. Her new book is called, “Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina.” (The university of Georgia Press. 2012) Kathy Newfont joins host Frank Stasio today to discuss the history of North Carolina's National Forests.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.