Trails Corner

The hot, humid days, building thunderheads, and afternoon downpours of July have arrived in the Pisgah. Summer is in full swing with many visitors out there enjoying the trails, the rivers, and the open balds at high elevation offering massive views of our corner of the Southern Appalachians. All trails and most roads in the Forest are currently open, as are the majority of roadside recreation areas. Roadside camping is still prohibited, and closures are still in place for all back country shelters. The following roads are currently closed: Lickstone Road (#97), Courthouse Creek Road (#140), Yellow Gap (#1206), and Pilot Mountain (#229). Although currently closed at press time, the latter two roads, Yellow Gap and Pilot Mountain, will be reopening very soon. With the majority of the Forest open, many much-needed opportunities exist to get out of our homes and into the mountains among towering trees and tumbling cascades. Let us do so, but let us also remember to follow the practices necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Be safe and responsible out there!

The River Rangers have officially kicked off their second season! River Rangers is an education and outreach program sponsored by The Pisgah Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and Trout Unlimited. We aim to educate the public on stream health, ecological stewardship, and species-specific problems, like threats to hellbenders and the problems that rock-stacking can incur in benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Additionally, we work to remove dams and rock stacks, pick up trash, and clear fire rings from areas that should not have campsites. 

Last year was our pilot season. Our team was made up of three college interns and one lead educator, we removed over 1,500 lbs of trash and interacted with over 6,000 visitors. This year, we are up to six rangers and we hope to reach 10,000+ people! Our team consists of (left to right in image) Emily Treadway, Lance Underwood, Roean Allen (lead educator), Hunter Boyd, Cassidy Dale and Cheyana Bassham (NCWRC intern).

Learn more about us and our goals for the season in our introduction video on our Facebook page, “Pisgah River Rangers.”

 

Summer is here. Laurel blossoms are alive, blooming in the brush and flowing in stately, slow cascades down the rivers and creeks of Southern Appalachia. Trillium past, Fire Pink, Striped Prince’s Pine, and Pink Lady Slippers gather and fill our mountain draws. The air is sticky, days are long, and rhodo slicks and hardwood coves are alive with bird song in the early hours. The sun cresting above or dipping below the blue ridges, dappling oranges and pinks on the highest reaches of our Pisgah mountains, the rolling, roiling clouds of thunderstorm, the delicate fluctuations of butterfly and sharp dives of hawks dropped from circlings — these are daily revelations for those of us lucky and plucky enough to behold them. The forest is still there, necessary, granting us the boon of our bond with the natural world. We are lucky indeed.

Pisgah trails volunteers now have a reference library of resources and materials that will help them in their work with Pisgah. Read about the development of the new Pisgah Trails Academy website in this update from Trail Specialist Jeff Maitz, then visit it here

Josh Reynolds came on board in January as TPC's Trails and Recreation Technician, assisting Trail Specialist Jeff Maitz. Read his introduction letter, which includes his background, his duties as Trails and Rec Tech, and what he's working on at home during the current "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order!