ASHEVILLE, N.C.— At a pivotal moment, the Center for Biological Diversity is organizing a rally on Monday, Aug.1, to protect the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest from logging. The Pisgah is the country’s most-visited national forest.
The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a 30-year forest plan that would quadruple logging in the 1-million-acre Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest, one of the most biologically diverse in the country. The plan would build hundreds of miles of new roads and weaken protections for trails, trout streams and old-growth forests.
Eight environmental organizations and a coalition of more than 100 local businesses will be involved in the Protect Pisgah Party + Rally for the Forest. The event will highlight the overwhelming public and political support that exists for protecting the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. Final forest plan negotiations begin the next day.
“The Forest Service needs to know just how many people love the Pisgah and want to protect it, not cut it down,” said Will Harlan, a senior campaigner and scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is our last chance to save this forest from a disastrous logging plan.”
What: Rally to protect the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest from logging.
When: Monday, Aug. 1, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Outside Forest Service headquarters, 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801.
Who: Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Buncombe County Commission Chair Brownie Newman and Buncombe County Commission Vice Chair Amanda Edwards will speak at the event. Eight environmental organizations and more than 100 local businesses and organizations are also supporting the Protect Pisgah Party + Rally for the Forest, including more than a dozen bike shops and breweries.
More than 36,000 public comments have flooded the Forest Service, with 96% of them voicing support for increasing protected areas and strengthening protections for the Pisgah-Nantahala.
However, the Forest Service released a draft plan that fails to protect more than 100,000 acres of its most biologically diverse and ancient forests.
The Protect Pisgah Party + Rally for the Forest aims to make a lasting impact on the next three decades of forest decisions. On the eve of final forest plan meetings, the public can show decisionmakers the vast, overwhelming love and support that exists for protecting the Pisgah.
The City of Asheville and the Buncombe County Commission have passed unanimous resolutions supporting more protections for the Pisgah. Asheville and Buncombe County have also formally objected to the forest plan.
“If you love Pisgah and want to see more of it protected, join the party and make yourself heard,” Harlan said. “Now more than ever, the forest needs your voice.”