A project that includes timber harvesting has begun in the Harmon Den area of the Appalachian Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest, approximately 25 miles northwest of Asheville, North Carolina. Benefits of the timber harvesting include improved wildlife habitat for species including elk, deer, grouse and other species that benefit from areas of young forest in which sunlight reaches the forest floor. Harvesting is taking place pursuant to the Harmon Den Project Decision Notice that was signed by the District Ranger in 2010, following detailed project analysis and public involvement.
Exposed soil, freshly cut stumps and logging slash (tree tops) may be seen in the project area immediately following harvesting, however within one or two growing seasons these negative visual impacts will rapidly fade away and the areas will show a large increase in wildflowers, grasses, and healthy young tree saplings. A total of 96 acres of harvesting will take place between now and December of 2018 and all of the harvested areas will be reforested.
Timber harvesting for the Harmon Den project is being accomplished under a timber sale contract, in which the Forest Service has designated which areas will be harvested, as well as which specific trees within those areas will be cut. Timber sales are inspected frequently by Forest Service personnel throughout the life of the project to ensure contract requirements are met and natural resources are protected. In addition to the timber harvesting, the timber sale purchaser performs road maintenance and road reconstruction, including road grading and replacement of failing culverts and other road drainage structures.
A large portion of the money paid for the timber stays in the project area and is used for other forest improvement activities such as treating invasive weeds, timber stand improvement, wildlife habitat enhancement, road maintenance, and water quality improvement. The most recent timber harvesting in the Harmon Den area of the Pisgah National Forest was completed in 2006.
Log truck traffic may be encountered on Cold Springs Road (FSR 148), Brown Gap Road (FSR 148A), and along Max Patch Road (State Road 1182). Please exercise caution and drive slowly on these and all mountain roads.