Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - 14

mountain report

Acreages Protected in North
Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky
And in West Virginia, importance of outdoor rec is quantified.
by Cathryn McCue
LINE FORK PRESERVE ~ PHOTO BY PRESTON LACY, KNLT

About 2,000 acres of Pine Mountain, in Harlan and Letcher counties in Kentucky, have been set aside in preserves.

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ArouNd The regioN

KeNTuCKy

TeNNessee

virgiNiA

wesT virgiNiA

More than 1,600 acres
have been added to
public lands in North
Carolina and Tennessee
thanks to a partnership
of public and nonprofit
entities and philanthropic
leaders. The 1,098-acre
Cut Laurel Gap tract will
be added to the Cherokee National Forest. The
tract includes Bald Knob,
where a visitor can see
three states, premier
brook trout habitat and
the headwaters of South
Holston Lake which supplies the city of Bristol.
In North Carolina, 586
acres were added to Pond
Mountain Game Land
that will be overseen
by the state Wildlife
Resources Commission.
www.conservationfund.
org

Three new preserves
totaling some 2,000
acres have been established on Pine Mountain
in Harlan and Letcher
counties. The preserves
-Line Fork, Hurricane
Gap and Kingdom Come
- protect key habitat for
endangered bats, and
add to the ongoing effort to establish the Pine
Mountain Wildlands
Corridor, a refuge for
bear, warblers, salamanders and thousands of
other plant and animal
species. The Kentucky
Natural Lands Trust
purchased the lands,
which will eventually
be turned over to public
ownership as part of the
efforts to develop the
1,800-mile long Great
Eastern Trail for hiking.
knlt.org

Severe drought driven
partly by climate change
was an underlying factor
in the massive blaze
that ripped through the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
and Gatlinburg in 2016,
leaving 14 dead. Those
conditions are likely to
become a "new normal,"
according to a recent
federal review, meaning
major fires in the park
are more likely to reach
residential areas. To
better prepare for more
potentially catastrophic
fires in the future, the
park will undergo a $2.5
million radio communications system upgrade
and do more to clear out
dead and dying trees in
the park, among other
changes.
www.apnews.com

A proposal to raise
entrance fees in the
Shenandoah National
Park from $25 to $70 has
drawn criticism from
outfitters, conservationists and others. The National Park Service plan
would prohibit many
families from enjoying
the park, and hurt business, says Scott Osborne
with Albemarle Angler.
"It's going to lead to a reduced level of visitation
and we need the visitors
to be able to flourish
in our business." Susan
Sherman of the Shenandoah National Park Trust
says a bipartisan bill now
pending would do much
more to address the
maintenance backlog in
the parks for the longterm. snptrust.org

Hikers, skiers, paddlers,
anglers, ATV-riders and
other outdoor lovers
contribute mightily to
the state's economy,
according to the Outdoor
Recreation Association,
including supporting
91,000 jobs (more than
twice the coal jobs) with
$2.4 billion in wages. The
association also reports
$9 billion in consumer
spending and $650
million in state and local
taxes from outdoor activities. Many state tourism
leaders support creation
of a "Birthplace of Rivers
National Monument" to
grow the economic sector
even further. A recent
West Virginia Rivers Coalition poll shows strong
support for the designation. outdoorindustry.
org/state/west-virginia

14 BlueRidgeCountry.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018

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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - 3
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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - Cover4
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