Jill Gottesman, Conservation Specialist
About The Wilderness Society
The Wilderness Society (TWS) is the leading American conservation organization working to protect our nation’s public lands that are collectively owned by the American people and managed by our federal government. Founded in 1935, TWS continues its mission to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Backed by more than 500,000 members and supporters, we have been at the forefront of nearly every major public lands victory over the past 81 years and have profoundly improved the way our public lands are managed and enjoyed. The biodiverse and dynamic Southern Appalachian region is a focal landscape for TWS, and in Western North Carolina we are focused on the management plan revision process for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, one of the most visited national forests in the United States. We have been working for years with a broad group of collaborative partners and the US Forest Service to forge the plan that will guide how our forests are managed for the next 20 years.
In WNC, our main focus has been the NC Mountain Treasures, Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest's most intact and ecologically important conservation areas. The Wilderness Society and its partners have identified over 300,000 acres that we feel should receive some high level of administrative protection in the plan. Over 170,000 acres of these areas are currently inventoried as roadless areas. Other areas have ecological features such as old growth, aquatic biodiversity, or important recreational resources. We have worked specifically with recreation partners to create a conservation-recreation vision for management and designations for Western North Carolina.