Front Porch Blog


Thanks and Luck to our friends at SABP/WildSouth!!

January 9, 2008

Chris Joyell, Wild South (f/k/a SABP) – 828.337.6927;
Doug Ruley, Southern Environmental Law Center – 828.258.2023;

Conservation groups vow to continue fight to save the rare old-growth forest

Asheville, NC – The U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday rejected an appeal by conservation groups to refrain from logging the Globe Forest near the resort town of Blowing Rock, in western North Carolina. The groups said the move was disappointing, though not unexpected, and vowed to continue their fight to permanently protect the forest as a national scenic area.

In November, the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Asheville-based groups Wild South, the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, and the Western North Carolina Alliance, filed an administrative appeal of the agency’s controversial decision to log 212 acres of the Pisgah National Forest, much of it mature hardwood forest, including some trees hundreds of years old.

“The agency’s decision is a huge disappointment for us, as well as the citizens and leaders of Blowing Rock who have pleaded with the Forest Service for two years to save this remarkable forest,” said Chris Joyell of Wild South, the lead appellant. “We are fully prepared to do whatever is necessary to prevent them from logging the Globe Forest. We’ve got the complete support of the community—from local businesses and political leaders, as well as the public at large—to protect the Globe.”

The Forest Service, in its decision, said it would work with the appellants to find a solution that will address their concerns and the community’s concerns. The conservation groups said Wednesday they intend to hold the agency to its word.

“For two years, we have worked diligently with the Forest Service—including a field visit to inspect old growth trees—in order to reach a balanced solution,” said SELC Senior Attorney Doug Ruley, who is representing the conservation groups. “Unfortunately, the agency seems to be ignoring ecological evidence as to the special character of the Globe, and ignoring the public’s strong opposition to logging there. We will take all available steps to protect the Globe, including going to court should that be necessary.”

For nearly two years, the Globe Project has served as a lightning rod for controversy. Since announcing their plans to log the Globe, the Forest Service has received over 1,800 comments from citizens, the vast majority of whom are opposed to any logging in the Globe. In 2006, the Blowing Rock Town Council, the Boone City Council, and the Watauga County Commission passed unanimous resolutions opposing the logging and calling for the creation of the Grandfather National Scenic Area to permanently protect the forest basin.

“We see this decision as a litmus test for the public process,” said Joyell. “The community has expressed overwhelming opposition to the logging, which may damage Blowing Rock’s economy and overall quality of life, yet at every turn the agency has dismissed their concerns and plowed ahead.”
The groups’ appeal focused primarily on the agency’s plans to log old growth forests within the Globe. Field surveys conducted by Wild South and the Southern Environmental Law Center revealed that many of the trees range from 100 years old to well over 300 years old. One chestnut oak was determined to be 328 years old.




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