now more than ever, the forest needs your voice.

 

I Heart Pisgah has a simple goal: protect more of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest.

 

Our coalition consists of more than 150 businesses and organizations and thousands of individual supporters.

 

The Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is the most popular national forest in the country. More than six million people visited the forest last year, and most forest users want to see stronger protections for Pisgah.

The one-million-acre Pisgah-Nantahala is also one of the country’s most biologically diverse national forests. It shelters more salamander species than any national forest, and it’s home to some of the last and largest old-growth forests in the East.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Forest Service has targeted 44,000 acres of old-growth forests for logging in its proposed Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Plan. The plan will also increase logging 400%  to unprecedented levels, open most of the forest to timber harvest, and authorize up to 300 miles of road building while reducing protections for water, trails, and biodiversity.

As a result, the plan has drawn widespread opposition. More than 36,000 public comments have flooded the Forest Service, including a record-setting 14,000 legal objections filed against the forest plan. 96% of all comments support more protections for Pisgah.

PROTECT PISGAH RALLY DRAWS RECORD-SETTING CROWDS

 

More than 500 people attended the Protect Pisgah Rally. It ended up being the largest forest rally ever in North Carolina.

 

Read more about the rally here.  Watch TV news coverage of the rally here and video from the rally here

 

The Protect Pisgah Rally was the last chance for the public to weigh in on the 30-year forest plan, which will decide how much of the Pisgah-Nantahala is logged and how much is protected for the next three decades. The public made sure their voices were heard, loudly and clearly. Hundreds arrived in front of the Forest Service headquarters with hand-made signs, chanting: “Our Forests! Our Future!” The Mayor of Asheville, youth leaders, and indigenous elders urged the Forest Service to protect the ancient forests of the Pisgah-Nantahala.

The Forest Supervisor spoke briefly, but he and more than a dozen Forest Service employees huddled together for most of the rally as crowds swelled on their doorstep.

It was an intentionally positive, love-themed rally, and the message was simple: we love Pisgah and want to see a lot more of it protected. The love fest culminated with the unfurling of a nearly quarter-mile-long banner of 34,000 hearts—one for each of the 34,000 comments supporting more protections for Pisgah. Rallygoers surrounded the Forest Service building with the banner, chanting: “Pisgah-Nantahala: Worth More Standing!”

The rally was organized by Center for Biological Diversity and the I Heart Pisgah coalition, with support from eight additional conservation organizations. But it ultimately was led by the people who attended. An open mic at the end of the rally allowed anyone to speak. Teenagers with quivering voices spoke courageously. So did veteran forest activists who warned of tree-sits and direct action if the Forest Service failed to protect the ancient forests and biodiversity of the Pisgah-Nantahala.

The rally wasn’t just a feel-good moment. It played a pivotal role in forest plan objection meetings that began the next day. The three-day meetings concluded with an objector telling the Forest Service: “This plan does not have social license. It faces widespread public opposition. You have betrayed a decade of public input. The good news is that you have a simple, easy solution: protect more of Pisgah, especially its old-growth forests.”

The Forest Service will issue a final plan this fall.

The Forest

The Pisgah-Nantahala is the country's most popular national forest, with nearly 7 million annual visitors. Learn why it's a critical recreational, ecological, and economic asset.

Special Places

Pisgah-Nantahala's iconic trails, creeks, and waterfalls need permanent protection. Learn about these special places and be a voice for their future.

The Plan

A Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest plan has been released. The plan is a blueprint that guides how much of the forest is logged and how much is protected. Find out how the forest plan affects you and the areas you love.

Our Partners

Over 150 organizations, groups, and businesses—and thousands of individuals—are standing together to protect the Pisgah-Nantahala.

Who We Are

I HEART PISGAH is a coalition of over 150 organizations and businesses—and thousands of individuals—who support more protected areas for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. 

I HEART PISGAH supports strong, lasting protections for the Pisgah-Nantahala and its old-growth forests, headwaters, pristine streams, trail corridors, rare species, and recreational hubs. 

The U.S. Forest Service has released its 30-year forest management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala this year. 96 percent of the 36,000 public comments on the plan support protected areas in Pisgah. However, the plan fails to protect the most important recreation and coonservation areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala.

I HEART PISGAH works to ensure that the public's voice is heard and the most important recreation and conservation areas are permanently protected.

Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest

The Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is the second-most-visited national forest in the country. Nearly 7 million people visited the forest last year, and most of them came to hike, camp, and enjoy its scenic wonders. Over 92 percent of visitors to Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest are hikers, bikers, runners, paddlers, climbers, anglers, naturalists, photographers, and nature-seeking outdoor enthusiasts. 

I HEART PISGAH supports strong, lasting protections for the Pisgah-Nantahala and its old-growth forests, headwaters, pristine streams, trail corridors, rare species, and recreational hubs.

A vast and overwhelming majority of forest users want more protected areas in Pisgah. The U.S. Forest Service is finalizing a 30-year forest management plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala this year, and 96 percent of the 36,000 public comments on the plan support protected areas in Pisgah.

The Forest Plan

You are the owner of a 1.1-million acre mountain estate called the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams.

You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. Every 20 to 30 years, you write a plan that describes how your estate should be managed. You get together with the other owners to hash it out, and your staff writes it all down. This plan is the most important document of your property. It spells out the rules for your property and decides how your taxes are spent.

This year, the U.S. Forest Service is finalizing its Forest Plan for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. This plan will guide the next two to three decades of forest management. It will decide which areas will be logged and which areas will be protected. The forest plan has become a blueprint for the future of Southern Appalachia, with the potential to bring together different groups—rural and urban, locals and newcomers, hunters and hikers—in a shared vision for the region.

I HEART PISGAH is encouraging the Forest Service to protect the most important recreation and conservation areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala. We support multiple uses of the forest, and we support multiple-use designations such as National Scenic Areas, National Recreation Areas, National Heritage Areas, National Scenic Trails, National Wilderness Preservation System Areas, and Research Natural Areas. 

96% of the 36,000 public comments to the Forest Service support more protected areas for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. However, the plan does not reflect the overwhelming, record-setting public input. It fails to protect the most important recreation and conservation areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala.

We want to protect the wild forests, rivers, and trails for future generations.  

Party for Pisgah—and help protect it—on August 1st!

This is our last chance for to stop a 30-year plan that quadruples logging and weakens protections for the trails, rivers, trout streams, and scenic vistas of Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. ...
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The World’s Tiniest Tarantula Depends on the Pisgah-Nantahala

The Spruce-Fir Moss Spider, known by its scientific name Microhexura montivaga, lives exclusively at high altitudes, above 5,400 feet, most commonly in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest and Cherokee National Forest. ...
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An Endangered Species in the Pisgah-Nantahala That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

You may think there’s not much mystery to a snail, but the Noonday Globe is one of the rarest and least studied creatures in the Pisgah-Nantahala region. Known by its ...
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Send Valentines for the Forest at Second Gear

Throughout February, we will be sending Valentine cards to the Forest Service showing our love for the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. Stop by Second Gear in West Asheville any time this ...
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Recover Brands Launches I HEART PISGAH Shirt Collection

Recover Brands is a proud member of the I HEART PISGAH coalition, and they have just launched a special I HEART PISGAH t-shirt collection to support our efforts. You can ...
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New Story about Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Plan

The Laurel of Asheville published this story about the Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Plan in their most recent issue. The story features I HEART PISGAH and the U.S. Forest Service planning team ...
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