Pisgah Forest, NC, August 25, 2021— It has now been a week since historic flooding took place on the Pisgah Ranger District. Crews have worked hard to assess and open areas in that week, but many areas remain closed. It is now clear that Tropical Storm Fred caused large scale damage across a geographical area not limited to the District alone. The National Forests of North Carolina are working hard to support multiple districts reporting damages, with Pisgah National Forest the hardest hit. This support is made even more challenging with resources already spread thin across the Forest. Many employees are out West working on raging fires and local emergency response departments have been busy responding to damage and recovery in local communities.
As result, the Pisgah Ranger District continues to ask the public to remain patient as we conduct ongoing assessments. Access is fragmented and areas are taking longer to reach and assess because of damage to roads making them unsafe or impassable. These necessary assessments require focused, methodical, and thorough work, so the process is neither fast nor easy. District Ranger Dave Casey states, “We recognize that communities rely on access to our Forest and we do not take that responsibility lightly. The safety of our team, the visiting public, and our local communities is always our highest priority, but that is immediately followed by providing access to your public land.”
The public’s love for the Forest has been clear throughout this process in their vocal support and interest in volunteering. At this time staff are working to determine what areas are the hardest hit, but we are looking forward to providing opportunities for the public to participate in cleanup efforts in the near future. If you are interested in volunteering, there are many trail clubs that do great work on the Forest including Pisgah Area Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association, Carolina Mountain Club, Backcountry Horsemen, and Carolina Climbers Coalition, among others. You can reach out to Natalie Lester, the Pisgah District Volunteer and Partnerships Coordinator, at Natalie.Lester@usda.gov to inquire about those groups or to provide your contact information for future workdays. Once again, please remain patient and assume that if you are headed into the Forest you will encounter hazards that may change your plans. All closures and updates can be found on the National Forests of North Carolina website and social media channels.