Neighbors build a national coalition to create the Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area
Four years ago, a small group of farmers, teachers, and carpenters sat around a wobbly table in their community center and spitballed ideas about how to save the old-growth forest that surrounded their valley. Logging threatened the forest, and that evening, they all committed to protecting it. That pact ignited a national movement to create the Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area. It aims to permanently safeguard 16,000 acres of old-growth forests, pristine streams, world-class trails, and panoramic vistas in the Appalachian Mountains, only 15 miles from downtown Asheville, N.C.
Part of Pisgah National Forest, Craggy is one of the oldest and most biologically diverse forests in the country. It shelters dozens of rare and endangered species. Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed in Craggy’s enchanted forests, including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans. Waterfalls thunder down its rugged slopes.
The grassroots gathering in the community center has quickly grown into a national coalition that includes hundreds of organizations and businesses—and thousands of members. The coalition has built overwhelming public, scientific, and political support for the Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area. The Forest Service has received thousands of comments endorsing permanent protections for Craggy. Young leaders have organized rallies, speaking with quivering voices to protect the forest. City council and county commissioners have passed unanimous bipartisan resolutions supporting the Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area.