Wednesday - June 20, 2018
Forest Service Thanks Eclipse Visitors
Written by Staff   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 09:06

ASHEVILLE -- U.S. Forest Service officials thank the public for the consideration they showed for one another and forest resources after thousands of people visited the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests to view Monday's solar eclipse.

"We also thank our partners including county sheriffs and emergency management offices, NC Department of Transportation, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and the National Park Service," said Allen Nicholas, Forest Supervisor of the National Forests in North Carolina. "There were months of planning and coordination meetings and on the day of the eclipse we saw the benefits of that investment in the smooth operations among multiple agencies across western North Carolina."

The Pisgah Ranger District partnered with Blue Ridge Parkway staff to assist visitors who covered mountain balds in the Black Balsam/Graveyard Fields area. "Our work with partners allowed us to provide a safe and enjoyable experience to both Parkway and National Forest visitors," said District Ranger Dave Casey. "We were privileged to serve so many gracious members of the public for such a rare event."

Other popular sites included the Cherohala Skyway, the granitic domes in Panthertown, the Appalachian Trail, mountain top balds such as Siler Bald, and Wesser, Albert Mountain, and Panther Top fire towers.

Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins explained that his entire staff was out serving the public by keeping roads open for emergency and incoming traffic and providing visitor information and directions. "Parking lots at Whiteside Mountain and the road leading to Wayah Bald were closed by noon. Forest staff had never seen cars parked for such long distances. At multiple site folks were parking and walking 1-3 miles just to access a trail head," said Wilkins. "While the crowds were huge in some very small places, the public was incredibly courteous and seemed to be having a great time in their National Forest. Afterwards, we noticed that people had practiced a 'leave no trace' land ethic leaving virtually no trash in recreation areas or campsites."

Cheoah and Tusquitee District Ranger Angela Gee agreed. "I would like to give a shout out to all the campers and forest visitors during the eclipse. We had a record crowd and everyone was very respectful of one another and the forest. Campsites were the cleanest I have ever seen them! I'm very impressed with the crowd of people we had on the districts." She added, "I hope everyone enjoyed their stay and had an amazing solar eclipse experience."

 

 
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