The Transylvania Times -

Officials Seek Input On Pisgah Twelve Mile Project


August 5, 2019

The map shows the project area for the proposed Twelve Mile Project (Courtesy photos from the U.S. Forest Service)

The Pisgah National Forest, Appalachian Ranger District, is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) for the Twelve Mile Project, a land management and timber sale project taking pace on approximately 18,096 acres of Forest Service Ownership.

As part of the scoping period for an EA on Forest Service land, the Forest Service is asking communities in the surrounding area for their comments on the plan – which would be the largest timber sale on Pisgah National Forest land in its history and also includes planning prescribed burns and culvert replacements in the project area.

"Your comments will help us complete the final environmental assessment," said a USFS press release. "The assessment will be used to determine whether to prepare an environmental impact statement or a finding of no significant impact."

The project is a landscape-planning project implementing the Nantahala and Pisgah Land and Resource Management plan and implements the following needs:

•Create a 10-year forest age class.

•Thin overstocked stands.

•Improve stocking and species distribution of young stands.

•Designate small patch old growth.

•Create permanent wildlife openings.

•Promote short leaf pine.

•Convert white pine dominated stands.

•Promote regeneration of oak species.

•Move ecological zones towards their natural range of variation.

•Create golden winged warbler habitat.

•Replace undersized culverts.

•Restore aquatic organism passage.

•Restore stream conditions in Cold Springs Creek and Fall Branch.

•Create a safe and efficient transportation system.

The Twelve Mile Project Area is in Haywood County adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Interstate 40 near Long Arm Mountain and Hurricane Mountain according to the release.

To view the EA and maps of the affected area visit ject/?project=48776 and click under the "Analysis" tab.

"We welcome your involvement with this project," said the USFS in the release. "Individuals or entities wishing to be eligible to file a pre-decisional objection must provide timely and specific comments regarding the proposed action during any designated opportunity for public comment."

Depending on outcome of the public commenting period, the USFS will either continue conducting research on how the environment is impacted by the project, or will decide no more analysis is need and move forward with the plan.

If approved, the Twelve Mile Project will be the largest timber sale on Pisgah National Forest land in the forest's history. The timber harvest will help improve forest ecology in areas, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The commenting period is scheduled to end on Aug. 24, 2019, and the preferred method to provide comments is by submitting comments electronically at http://www.cara.ecosystem-man

The link above will take users to a web-based form, and is only active until the end of the commenting period.

Comments may also be mailed to: Appalachian Ranger District, USDA Forest Service, Attn: Jason R Herron, 632 Manor Road, Mars Hill, North Carolina, 28754.

Additionally, comments may be oral or hand delivered to the Appalachian Ranger District Station within our normal business hours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Comments will be added to the official project record and will be public information per the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


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