Intro Photo by: Susan Stamey
It’s a challenging time in Pisgah – with historic flooding in the last few weeks, and more weather events continuing to come through the region. As you know, Pisgah has taken a hit, with landslides, blow downs, wash outs, and clogged culverts. Many of you will have seen the recent extensive closure announcement from the Forest Service.
Please be keenly aware of the stresses on our local emergency responders (especially in Haywood County) where they are stretched very thin due to their extended response requirements. Many of these responders have experienced very personal loss during this event, and our thanks, support, and prayers go out to them as they work hard to keep us safe while also dealing with their personal challenges.
We will be dealing with the aftermath of this flooding for a long time. Our employees are out working with the Forest Service on a daily basis, addressing critical needs and making quick repairs where possible. We were gratified recently to receive an email from a Forest Service employee stating that “TPC truly supports us in the strongest ways I could imagine, and I am so grateful to have this organization and you as a strong partner.”
But there is much to do. There’s so much, in fact, that we still are in the assessment phase and don’t even know the full extent of the damage. The Forest Service is working hard to provide as much access to the land as is safely possibly while stressing that they have not yet been able to access all trails. So, visitors should expect to see trail damage and especially at stream crossings, e.g. bridges out, etc.
But you know what? The forest is resilient. Just look at a photo below from 100 years ago when poor logging practices had devastated the forest, and compare it to today. The forest will bounce back, and so will we.
We learned a few days after the largest storm that a landslide had covered 50-75 yards of the Graveyard Ridge Trail that our contractor had just finished reconditioning (see photo below). But it is what it is. The good news is that the rest of the work he had done on the trail had held up well and had channeled the water as intended. We immediately started discussing how to make the slide area safe and secure for hikers. That’s what we, and the Forest Service, and the many Pisgah trail maintainers are starting to do, issue by issue.
Thanks for all of you who have reached out and asked how you can help. We wish we could organize a big volunteer clean up immediately to get after it. But with unsafe conditions in many areas, with the Forest Service essentially in crisis management mode, and with the continuing challenge of the pandemic, that’s not something we can do at present. What you can do is contribute to The Pisgah Conservancy. With your generous support we will continue take direct action and to partner with the Forest Service to address the most pressing needs.
It’s a bright day. We’re blessed with the ability to help preserve and protect this beautiful forest. Your help in this time of special need is greatly appreciated.