Grandfather Ranger District Restored

Published Nov 19, 2012

There's an old saying, "Many hands make light work."

That still applies today to the coalition of conservationists who worked to restore hundreds of acres in Pisgah National Forest's Grandfather Ranger District in North Carolina for more than six months in 2012.

Kristin Bail, forest supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina, said several conservation organizations helped to restore hundreds of acres by treating invasive plants and working on other vital projects. "One of the unique aspects of this project is the large number of partners who are involved," said Bail. "I am grateful for the support our collaborators have provided as part of this important initiative."

The Grandfather Restoration Project is a 10-year plan designed to restore 40,000 acres of the Grandfather Ranger District in Pisgah National Forest. The project is restoring fire-adapted forests by enhancing conditions for a variety of native plants and wildlife, controlling non-native species and protecting hemlocks against hemlock woolly adelgids.

The coalition accomplished these goals:

  • Hazardous fuels were reduced on close to 4,600 acres of the Grandfather Ranger District through prescribed burning;
  • Approximately 2,600 hemlock trees (spread across 130 acres) were saved from hemlock woolly adelgids;
  • 750 acres were treated to remove invasive land and water species;
  • Approximately 200 acres of forests were thinned or received other forest management treatments to promote the growth of native tree species such as yellow pine, white oak, red oak, hickory, black oak and chestnut oak that are often out-competed by species such as yellow poplar; and,
  • Two miles of hiking trails were maintained.

Grandfather Restoration Project partners include:

  • Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network
  • N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
  • N.C. Forest Service
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Wild South
  • Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition
  • Trout Unlimited
  • The Southern Forest Network
  • Land-of-Sky Regional Council
  • Western North Carolina Alliance
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Appalachian Design
  • Friends of Wilson Creek and
  • The Foothills Conservancy.

The Grandfather Restoration Project was one of 10 new projects announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in February 2012, under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program. The initial funding for the first year of the project came to $605,000.

Prescribed fires in parts of the Grandfather Ranger District is a primary goal of the project. Prescribed burns are being considered for the Linville Gorge and Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River areas. By implementing prescribed fires, the Forest Service and partners will promote the growth of native, fire-adapted and fire-dependent plants, including threatened and endangered species.

Click Here for the Grandfather Restoration Project

Workers with The Wilderness Society restore Hawksbill Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, under the Grandfather Restoration Project. (photo courtesy Bill Hodge, The Wilderness Society)

On National Public Lands Day 2012, Wild South volunteers removed a dozen populations of non-native, invasive plants along trails in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. The effort was conducted as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project. (photo courtesy of Wild South)

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About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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