Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cherokee National Forest on Top 10 Endangered List

Last week the Southern Environmental Law Center released their list of the top 10 most endangered areas in the south as a result of immediate and potentially irreparable threats in 2009. On that list, and coming in at number 10, was the Cherokee National Forest in Northeast Tennessee.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) placed Cherokee National Forest on the list due to "The U.S. Forest Service is moving forward with its plans to log several areas of this remarkable landscape, endangering trout, unbroken wildlife habitat and rare species."

The SELC states that logging thousands of acres would significantly impact the forest, wildlife, waters, and recreation. Additionally, logging operations would be visible from the Appalachian Trail.

The SELC is the largest environmental advocacy organization dedicated solely to protecting the Southeast. They perform law and policy work throughout the six states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

The Cherokee National Forest is located in Eastern Tennessee and stretches from Chattanooga to Bristol along the North Carolina border. It also borders Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the southwest and northeatern areas of the park as well. The 640,000-acre forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. Millions of people every year visit the national forest to hike, camp, fish, canoe, kayak or view wildlife.

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smoky scout said...

Just so happens I was in Cherokee National Forest this weekend, doing a little bit of the AT to Kincora Hostel. The temperature Friday night went down to -8 degrees! Laurel Falls was mostly frozen, a rare sight, and just stunning. We need to hang onto places like this.

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Smoky Scout - based on your comment, I would assume that the Kincora Hostel doesn't have any heat. Must have been a rough night.

Also, I take it there must be a falls in Cherokee called Laurel Falls - I wasn't aware of that. I went over to your site to see if you posted any pictures of the frozen falls. I would love to see any if you have any.

Just curious, how come you weren't hiking in the Smokies?

smoky scout said...

Kincora is heated by a wood stove that didn't get stoked until we arrived - Friday night our high temp inside was 25 degrees. By Saturday night we were toasting at 45 degrees. I was with the local hiking club from Charlotte, the Carolina Berg Wanderers. Although it wasn't Smokies hiking, anywhere this group goes is a great and I needed some fellowship time. I was planning a side trip to hike Mt. Cammerer in the Smokies today, but road conditions kept me from getting there last night.

Here is a link to Laurel Falls:

I will have my own report posted on sometime this week.

If you want to see photos before then, you can look at

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

That is an awesome photo! I've never seen anything like that before. I look forward to seeing your posting....