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Originally published: 2012-12-03 14:06:22
Last modified: 2012-12-03 14:06:22

Give nature a hand

Thank you Watauga Democrat for your recent editorial: "Maintaining Nature Often a Manmade Job" (Nov. 25).

In the past 100 years, much of our mountain environment has been impacted by human activity, and that impact is only accelerating. One of the greatest impacts has been to exclude fire from the pine and oak forests that benefit from it for nearly 100 years.  

Smokey the Bear, Bambi and other cultural myths have emphasized the destructive power of fire, and told of none of its benefits. Restoring the areas of the Grandfather Ranger District that have seen the worst impacts from fire suppression, invasive plants and hemlock woolly adelgid is a big job, but protecting the unique ecological diversity of the region is worth the effort. 

That is why the Western North Carolina Alliance worked so hard to secure the partnerships and grant funds to begin the 10-year Grandfather Restoration Project and continue to work hard to promote and implement the work we set out to accomplish. 

We know all too well that human activities can damage the natural world, and we are working to realize a more positive vision where humans and the environment interact in mutually beneficial ways.

It will take community support and involvement to accomplish this work, and as such, I urge interested people to contact the Western North Carolina Alliance, Wild South, Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, the Nature Conservancy, the Foothills Conservancy or any of 14 partner organizations to pitch in and lend a hand. 

Josh Kelly, public lands field biologist,
Western North Carolina Alliance