DateThursday, January 25, 2018 -
Please join us to share your ideas for the future of the larger Waterrock Knob and Plott Balsam region during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m., January 25, at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville. This open house is hosted by the Foundation in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), and multiple local, state and federal land managers in the region. Light refreshments will be served.
The open house is an opportunity for members of the regional community to share their feedback on the future stewardship of this area’s natural and cultural resources and its role in the broader landscape. Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Sylva, and Cherokee are among the neighboring communities.
The open house will also serve as an opportunity for the public to comment on the NPS proposal to manage NPS owned lands at Waterrock Knob as part of a larger landscape collaborative focusing on shared management goals across the region.
In 2016, the Blue Ridge Parkway announced plans to acquire 5,329 acres near Waterrock Knob, Milepost 451, for the largest expansion of the park in 60 years. The Waterrock Knob region of Western North Carolina is one of the highest points along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and is one of the most rare and biodiverse landscapes in the Eastern United States. Elk, rare salamanders, flying squirrels, and slowly disappearing high elevation spruce-fir forests all inhabit this breathtaking landscape also known as the Plott Balsams. The area is also home to rich Cherokee and Appalachian cultural history.
Feedback from the open house will help inform a collaborative visioning effort for the area that involves the NPS, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, neighboring communities, land trusts, nonprofits and stakeholders. Additional comments specific to the NPS approach to large landscape collaborative management for lands at Waterrock Knob are also welcome via the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/waterrockknobvisionplan. Sharing comments via the website is recommended; however, written comments may be submitted to: Blue Ridge Parkway, ATTN: Suzette Molling, 199 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, NC 28803. Public comments will be accepted through February 25, 2018.
The meeting and overall planning process are made possible by grants from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and the Pigeon River Fund at The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.