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Newly Re-opened Globe Forest: Public Allowed Back in to the Popular Recreation Area After a Year of Closures

Press release from Wild South.

April 9, 2012. BLOWING ROCK — Wild South staff and volunteers recently ventured into the historic Globe forest just outside of Blowing Rock to examine the results of a controversial logging project recently carried out in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has lifted closures on roads and trails leading into the heart of the Globe Forest along China Creek and Thunderhole Creek, where logging was carried out under the direction of the agency in 2011. Forest Service Road 4071 and portions of recreational trails in the area had been closed to the public during logging operations. These areas are now open to the public, although the gate at the entrance to Forest Service Road 4071 is still closed, prohibiting motorized travel.

The Wild South team ground-truthed six logging sites along Thunderhole Creek, China Creek, and Forest Service Road 4071. Despite significant hard-fought concessions won by Wild South and others to reduce logging impacts, the agency still logged on very steep slopes, and close to recreational trails and significant water bodies, changing the wild character of the landscape in the headwaters of Charlotte’s water supply. The logging scars can be seen from prominent tourist locations like the town of Blowing Rock, the deck at Canyons restaurant, and the Blowing Rock Scenic Attraction.

The Thunderhole and China Creek trails are affected by the logging, as is the New Year’s Creek watershed. All of these areas are significant recreation destinations for local anglers, hunters, rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, wildlife watchers and sight-seers. They also make up a significant portion of the view enjoyed by the millions of tourists from around the world who travel the Blue Ridge Parkway along Grandfather Mountain and visit surrounding communities, contributing substantially to the local economy.

“I find it unbelievable that after all the outcry the Forest Service heard from the local community about this logging project, they timbered directly above headwater streams anyway. It looks bad and it is bad; it’s just not right. They really messed up this stunning mountain property,” said local business owner Mark Kirkpatrick.

Wild South’s Associate Executive Director Ben Prater presented a different perspective: “As sad as it is to see these big logging scars in the Globe, the truth is that what we’re looking at is simply the result of the Forest Service following the current management plan they have for this area. If we want to see a different future for the Globe, we are going to have to bring about a different management plan for this part of the Pisgah National Forest.”

The public will have an opportunity to have their voices heard about what a new plan should look like for the Pisgah National Forest when the Forest Service revises its forest management plan in 2013.

For more information, visit wildsouth.org.