craggy national scenic area
what's happening now?
The Pisgah-Nantahala Forest Plan targets 4,000 acres of Craggy's most important recreation and conservation areas for its highest-priority logging. These include over 1,500 acres of old growth forests, popular trails like the Snowball Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail, panoramic vistas from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the headwaters of the Ivy River—the drinking water source for Weaverville and local communities. The Forest Service can still fix the plan and protect Craggy, but they need to hear from you now.
what is the craggy wilderness and national scenic area?
The Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area will permanently protect 16,000 acres of ancient forests, waterfalls, trout streams, world-class trails, and panoramic vistas less than 15 miles from downtown Asheville.
The United States only has ten national scenic areas. Craggy could be our eleventh. The Craggy Mountain Wilderness would be the first and only wilderness in Buncombe County, and the National Scenic Area will be the first-ever in North Carolina.
The Craggy Mountain Wilderness and National Scenic Area will permanently protect the panoramic viewsheds from Craggy Gardens, the most popular and most photographed spot along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. Over half of Craggy will be designated as wilderness, the highest protection possible.
How Will This Help Our region?
The Craggy Mountain Wilderness and National Scenic Area will double the size of the core Wilderness Study Area and protect the entire 16,000-acre Craggy-Big Ivy section as a National Scenic Area. It also will protect one of the largest old-growth forests in the East, home to over 44 rare and endangered species. Its pristine headwaters are home to native trout and part of a protected watershed and drinking water source for the region. Craggy National Scenic Area will be a cornerstone of recreation and tourism less than 15 miles from downtown Asheville.
What Forest Users Will This Affect?
None! The designations ensure that everything in Craggy stays the same. All existing roads and trails will remain open to all current uses, including horseback riding, hunting, fishing, biking, paddling, rock climbing, trail running, hiking, and camping. Craggy has become a world-class mountain biking destination, and all mountain bike trails—including the 20-mile trail network from Laurel Gap to Corner Rock—will remain open to mountain bikes.
The Craggy Mountain Wilderness and National Scenic Area is endorsed by a broad and diverse coalition of over 100 organizations, dozens of Buncombe County businesses, and thousands of local supporters. The Forest Service received over 10,000 comments supporting permanent protections for Craggy-Big Ivy—more than any other area in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. The Buncombe County Commissioners and Asheville City Council passed unanimous bipartisan resolutions supporting the complete Craggy Mountain Wilderness and stronger protections for all of Craggy.