Submit a Comment on Courthouse Creek Project
Help keep all of Summey Cove trail open by sending the FS comments on their proposed actions.
Although Summey Cove is lightly used by mountain bikers it is an important connector for that part of the forest and is a delight to ride. It is also the furthest West trail in the district and provides an unique experience. Decommissioning - Closing - the western terminus of Summey Cove is not in the best interest of local mountain bikers as it would eliminate the single track connector to hwy215. Even if the proposed action of making a loop option using FR5029 happens the 215 connector would be lost. Furthermore I have to question whether the new loop would actually be built or if 5029's designation would be changed from a LWC to allow bicycle use.
We have four days to get comments in and have our voices heard
National Forests in North Carolina
U.S. Forest Service
160A Zillicoa St.
Asheville, N.C. 28801
FOREST SERVICE NEWS ALERT
Jan. 11, 2013
Submit a Comment on Courthouse Creek Project
PISGAH FOREST,N.C. — The U.S. Forest Service encourages the public to comment on the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Courthouse Creek project in the Pisgah Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. All comments should be received by Jan. 18, 2013.
This project is designed to meet the goals and desired conditions set by the Nantahala-Pisgah Land and Resource Management Plan by improving wildlife habitat, creating ecological diversity and promoting healthy and sustainable forests.
The project seeks to:
Improve habitat for important game species such as black bear, grouse and deer.
Improve Golden-winged warbler (a forest concern species) habitat.
Designate an additional 127 acres of old growth areas, adding to the existing 1,386 acres of designated old growth.
Promote oak regeneration through timber harvesting (thinning projects) on 472 acres of the 7,120 acre area, less than 7 percent of the area. There will be no clear cuts, only thinning projects.
Improve trout habitat and restore brook trout.
Remove non-native/invasive plant species.
Plant hybrid American Chestnut trees to determine their viability. This is part of a larger effort to restore Chestnut trees to Southern Appalachian forests.
Address sedimentation and maintenance issues by seasonally closing the Courthouse Creek Road (FR140), replacing a bridge and culverts that are washed out and undersized and decommissioning a portion of the Summey Cove Trail.
Comments can be sent to:
Learn more about the proposed project at:
USDA Forest Service - Pisgah Ranger District NEPA Projects - Courthouse Vegetation Management
To Whom It May Concern,
I have read the proposed trail closure for Sumney Cove as a part of this project. Being an avid cyclist, hiker and steward of the forest, I would like to see a relocation of this connection to 215 rather than closing. From reading the details the proposal is indicating that a connector would not be likely if Alternative A is not implmented. This would impact loop opportunities for Mounatin Bikers, Trail Runners and hikers alike.
I understand the environmental impact that Sumney is having currently. I would argue heavily against Alternative B which as I read it proposes that portions of Sumney is closed with no opportunities for further Mountain Biking recreation in that part of the forest.
Alternate C in my opinion is the best alternative since this addresses the concern of limited trail opportunities in the section of the forest.
The following (copy and pasted from the proposal) is what I am concerned with:
Decommissioning a section of a system trail and changing designated trail uses may impact recreationists, specifically mountain bikers.
• Miles of system trails and designated uses"
My best alternative is C and I would like to know that at least as much if not more Mountain Biking opportunities are being considered. Also, please note that a connector to 215 is highly desirable.
Alternative C >>
Alternative C responds to public concern that there should be loop opportunities for mountain bikers on Summey Cove Trail. While the section of trail between SR 215 and FSR 5029 would still be decommissioned in this alternative, the section of trail between FSR 5029 and Courthouse Falls Trail would remain open to hikers and bikers, thereby maintaining a loop opportunity for hikers and mountain bikers. >>
In order to respond to some public concerns regarding limited trail opportunities in the area, Alternative C keeps FSRs 5037, 5038, and the first 1.2 miles of 5029 as D1, in order to allow for non-motorized use. Additionally, a biking/hiking loop opportunity would be developed along the upper section of Trail 129, and FSRs 140B and 5029. To facilitate this, the section of FSR 140B between FSR 140 and FSR 5029 would have the RMO changed from D5 (foot traffic only) to D1 (foot, horse, and bike traffic).
Thank you for your consideration of my comments and the attention to recreation as a concern.
Concerned Recreational Forest User
BOD UpState SORBA and Founding Member
Here's my less educated letter, but hopefully also helpful.
To Whom it May Concern
U.S. Forest Service
I’m writing to voice my opposition to possible plans to eliminate some recreational access, specifically for mountain biking, in the area of Sumney Cove Trail and surrounding roads. Although this area is lightly used, that is no reason to take away access. On the contrary, it gives this area the benefit of lacking user-caused erosion or potential user conflicts. Additionally, I’m horrified by the idea of increasing the designation of any roads as hiking—only wildlife openings. I would argue that mountain biking has no more impact that hiking on singletrack, but it CERTAINLY has no more impact that hiking on a doubletrack and no more impact on wildlife.
I rode 140A and nearby doubletrack this weekend in an effort to avoid putting stress on the muddy trails closer to the Fish Hatchery. That area is wilder, and a different experience from the more popular areas of Pisgah. I hope you will take the opportunity of the Courthouse Falls project to INCREASE the recreational possibilities on this edge of the forest for ALL non-motorized users rather than eliminate them.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Comment letter sent. Thanks for doing this.
Thanks for sending comments and posting your sample letters
It really doesn't matter what you say. You don't have to sound all smart like tomato or as sophisticated as litespeedchick, you just need to say something. The more people who comment, the better. My suggestion is to just say you want as many roads and trails kept open and opened to mountain bikers as possible. It doesn't matter if you have never ridden Summey Cove or 140A before, one day you might want to...
Personally, I am opposing Alternative C as I feel the current alignment with a connection to SR215 is important to mountain bikers. Also, if FR140 becomes seasonally closed and the 215 end of Summey Cove is closed the only ways for any users to get to Summey Cove trail would be to walk or ride up the closed 140 or to approach from the Hatchery side. And then there is the question of if 5029 would actually be changed from D5 to D1. What makes the most sense to me is to leave Summey Cove in its current alignment. There are other ways to address sedimentation than decommissioning that section of trail.
Last edited by driftwood; 01-15-2013 at 01:19 PM.
To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Nantahala-Pisgah Land and Resource Management Plan Your goals to improve habitat, foster diversity, and increase ecosystems health are laudable . The techniques you propose for achieving these goals are scientifically sound and reasonable from a management perspective. I enjoy studying western North Carolina's ecology by reading written literature (for example, the Nantahala-Pisgah Management Plan), and especially appreciate learning about it through first-hand experiences in the forest.
Most of the strategies and methods in the Plan are ones that I support wholeheartedly. A few of the points, however, are ones that I oppose. I oppose the plans to close completely and for perpetuity any roads or trails that are currently open to mountain biking, unless some alternatives are created. Summey Cove is the trail that stands out most here. The plan to close portions of Summey Cove is somewhat understandable because of the steepness and fragility of the trail. Please -- if you feel it is necessary to close Summey Cove -- build an alternative connector to Hwy. 215 before you do that. INCREASED access to the forests and the construction of ADDITIONAL, SUSTAINABLE trails and roads would be most valuable to the mountain biking community.
The roads and trails in western North Carolina's forests hold tremendous meaning for me. I sincerely admire and respect the ecological conditions and those of you who manage them. Therefore, I desire to minimize the impacts of my activities on the soils, waterways, plants, and animals in the forests. I truly believe that mountain bikers are assets for the Nanatahala and Pisgah NFs -- when we are both on and off bikes. We love the western North Carolina forests, and they have immense meaning in our lives.
Alternative C is the best option among the ones offered in the Nantahala-Pisgah Plan, in my opinion.
Thank you for considering my comments. Please feel free to contact me. I would very much like to discuss these issues or any others related to our National Forests with you.