The U.S. Forest Service will soon begin the first phase of an ecosystem improvement project in the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, that includes 64 acres of timber harvesting. The effort, called the Brushy Ridge Project, will provide a number of environmental benefits such as controlling non-native species, improving fish habitat and promoting wildlife habitat.
To help ensure public safety during timber harvesting activities the Forest Service will close trails and roads in the Trace Ridge Area of Henderson County in the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, beginning in early February 2014 and continuing through May 2014. The following trails and roads will be closed during this time:
* Hendersonville Reservoir Road (FS 142)
* Fletcher Creek Road (FS 5097), to intersection with Spencer Gap Trail (Trail 600)
* Wash Creek (Trail 606)
* Trace Ridge (Trail 354)
* North Mills River (Trail 353)
* Yellow Gap Trail (Trail 611)
Trace Ridge Trailhead will not be accessible and the use of the trails and roads is prohibited. Please use caution while traveling in the area, particularly Wash Creek Road as logging truck will be on the area roads.
The Forest Service designed the Brushy Ridge project to fulfill management objectives in the current Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest management plan. This project allows the agency to implement a variety of management activities to improve ecological diversity, as well as promote forest health and sustainability.
The Forest Service’s management practices will:
* Regenerate favorable tree species such as oaks and hickories and maintain a variety of hardwood tree species
* Improve the growth and health of remaining trees through thinning treatments
* Improve habitat for aquatic species, including trout, by replacing culverts and bridges that are restricting flow and causing erosion issues
* Improve habitat for wildlife, including game species such as turkeys and non-game species
* Control non-native invasive species
* Plant hybrid American Chestnut trees as a first step toward restoring them to Southern Appalachian forests and plant blight resistant butternut seedlings
* Designate an additional 231 acres of old growth forest areas
The Forest Service will implement the second phase of this project, which involves an additional 63 acres, this spring or summer. Seniard Mountain Road (FS 5001) and Bear Branch Trail (Trail 328) will be closed during this phase. The agency will issue a news alert to announce the closures.