Riceville, NC – Now folks can leave their mark on the Pisgah National Forest without having to lace up their boots. A new online survey invites forest users to weigh in on a recent Forest Service proposal in the Shope Creek area of Riceville.
Adjacent to the Asheville watershed and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shope Creek provides excellent habitat for black bear and wild trout, but lacks sufficient public access. In April, the Forest Service proposed improving public access at Shope Creek, but the agency also included plans to log 68 acres and reconstruct five miles of forest roads, placing the entire 1,500 acre forest at risk.
“Shope Creek is Asheville’s best kept secret,” said Stan Cross, a resident of the area. “Those of us who use this amazing forest for recreation or hunting know how stunning it is. That’s why it’s critical that our community weighs in on this proposal—taking the survey is an important first step.”
Currently, the agency has provided limited information regarding their plans for Shope Creek. At the community’s request, Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project (SABP) is assisting residents and forest users to develop an alternative proposal, which the Forest Service has agreed to consider. To help gauge community sentiment, SABP has designed a brief online survey that examines the various goals of the Shope Creek Project.
“We hope this survey gives folks an opportunity to consider the options for Shope Creek and perhaps offer up some common sense solutions that meet the Forest Service’s goals,” said SABP’s campaign coordinator, Chris Joyell.