A report highlighting a significant portion of the High Country’s forest management has been in the works since 2013, and with the draft version expected in February, it’s one that bears a public view.

When the draft version of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan is finally released — it was originally scheduled for the fall of 2019 — the public will have 90 days to comment about its proposals.

The important portions of the draft for our region will involve the Eastern Escarpment zone, the portion that encompasses Watauga County, and its issues are consequential: improving wildlife habitats and species diversity, facilitating hunting opportunities for game species, maintaining open and woodland forest conditions with a focus on appropriate fire frequency, connecting people to the land in sustainable ways and, critically, setting the goal of providing clean and abundant water through improved watershed conditions.

More details can be found on the Watauga Democrat’s website, and going forward, watch your hometown newspaper for reporting on the draft as it is released.

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