"Lovely As a Tree"
Naturalists can celebrate a symbolic victory on April 30
provided by Tusquitee and Cheoah District Ranger Steve Lohr
Nantahala National Forest, the (arguably) most beautiful and (inarguably) largest national forest in North Carolina, is a flora- and wildlife-thronged series of gorges best known for postcard-grade waterfalls and world-class rafting. Located in the southwestern-most corner of the state, it shelters a poetic stand of virgin timber (the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, dedicated 75 years ago this summer) and, most recently, the Jackrabbit Mountain Bike and Hiking Trail, which celebrates its grand opening on April 30.
Sponsored by The Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association, Clay County Communities Revitalization Project and Tusquitee District of the Nantahala National Forest, festivities start at 10 a.m. near the trailhead in Hayesville. Group rides, hikes and trail runs will follow speeches and a ribbon cutting. (As with any mountain revel, also expect food and music.)
Events around the country are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Weeks Act that marked federal funds for the protection of eastern American woodlands, including Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest. More than the sum of their individual attractions, these preserves have nourished the mindset for a century of gardeners, landscapers and naturalists of all kinds.
"The Weeks Act laid the groundwork for forest restoration partnerships on newly acquired lands," explains District Ranger Steve Lohr. "Today, these partnership have evolved to address the important issues facing our country including managing the effects of climate change, developing renewable energy sources, and combating invasive species."