Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Revised Plan Finalized

February 17, 2023 -- The USDA Forest Service released the final revised Nantahala Pisgah Forest plan that will guide future management of the national forests in western North Carolina.

“The forest plan is a framework to address incredibly complex challenges like climate change and invasive species, impacts from development on adjacent private lands, and high levels of visitor use,” said James Melonas, forest supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina. “Ensuring our forest ecosystems are healthy and resilient is critical to long-term sustainability of all the habitats and ecosystem benefits on which we all depend.”

Screenshot of video overviewing National Forests in North Carolina and the Revised Forest Plan

(Click on the video to learn more about the revised plan framework and how it sets us up to meet 21st century challenges.)

The planning team developed a balanced plan that supports the multiple uses and benefits of national forests, including recreation, water, wilderness and wildlife habitat, healthy and resilient forests, and sustainable management. The new plan specifically emphasizes the ways people use the forest and the places that are important to them.

Infographic with an overview of the primary statistics from the revised Nantahala Pisgah Forest Plan

In developing the plan, the Forest worked with representatives of other agencies, local government, tribes, partner and collaborative groups and individuals to consider the best available science and various approaches to managing the forests.


“The revised plan has been developed with extensive input over many years,” said Melonas. “We appreciate the passion, creativity, and patience of all our partners and communities working with us to build a plan that reflects multiple values while ensuring our national forests are sustained for generations to come.”

Read the full press release here.

Building on more than 100 years of sustainable forest management

The Nantahala and Pisgah are the first National Forests in the east, and are home to the birthplace of scientific forestry in America. These forests that we all love and enjoy are the result of sustainable forest management by the Forest Service for more than 100 years.

We look forward to the work we can do together as we move into the next generation of managing these incredible places.

Video link for the history of National Forests in North Carolina and western NC

(Click the video to learn more with Forest Service Historian Lincoln Bramwell.)

Plan Documents

Record of Decision (including the rationale for the decision)

Final Revised Plan

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Appendix A. Response to Comments

Appendix B. Description of the Analysis Process

Appendix C. Ecological Sustainability Analysis

Appendix D. Vegetation Modeling Methods

Appendix E. Wilderness Evaluation Process

Appendix F. Wild and Scenic River Evaluation Process

Appendix G. Coordination with other Public Planning Efforts

Appendix H. Public and Government Involvement

Appendix I. Maps or Geodatabase

Related documents

Past Planning Documents

Pieces of the plan where shared with the public at every stage of development. See past milestones and previous versions here.