Posted by: panthertown | July 1, 2020

Welcome Friends!

View our comments on U.S. Forest Service Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land Management Plan Revision (June 29, 2020)

In memory of our good friend Tom West

Panthertown Valley is a treasured 6,311-acre backcountry recreation area located in western North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest near the mountain towns of Cashiers, Sapphire, and Lake Toxaway, not too far from Asheville, Brevard, and Sylva.

The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.

We are a member and volunteer supported 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our hard-working volunteers maintain the 30-mile backcountry Panthertown Valley Trail System and our members support much-needed conservation projects with donations.

Avery Shawler Event

Avery Shawler is a PhD student at the University of California Berkeley studying how elk migrations affect patterns of wolf-livestock conflict. Her study area is in Cody, Wyoming, which is on the eastern frontier of Yellowstone National Park, and where she conducts winter and summer field seasons investigating wolf GPS locations. She grew up all over the world, but is from Cashiers, North Carolina, and spent a lot of her childhood recreating in Panthertown and other surrounding areas.

In her talk Avery tells us about her research and also give a glimpse of what it’s like to lead field research in a rugged place with the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48. She will also talk about how her research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem relates to wildlife management in western North Carolina, where wildlife populations are also expanding, leading to more encounters with humans.

Avery got her B.A. in Conservation Biology at Middlebury College in Vermont, and before graduate school she was working as an independent contractor in Idaho where she worked with several conservation nonprofits including the Idaho Conservation League, The Nature Conservancy, and the Central Idaho Rangelands Network. She was also the Project Coordinator for a predator-livestock coexistence collaborative, the Wood River Wolf Project, which is how she first learned about the many challenges of managing wolf-livestock conflict. She is currently a PhD candidate at U.C. Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

This webinar was recorded LIVE on Thursday May 28th, 2020. View Avery’s presentation to hear about capturing and GPS collaring wolves, tracking one of the world’s most spectacular elk migrations, challenges of coexisting with wildlife, and more!

The presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Avery.

Visit Avery’s website for more information about her research.

Play The Video

Here are the links from Avery’s presentation:

“Is the wolf a real American hero?” – NYTimes Op-ed by Arthur Middleton…

“Elk River” documentary – a film about tracking the Cody elk herd migration – 30 minutes

“The Trouble with Wolves” documentary – a film about the challenges of coexisting with wolves

More information on red wolves:…

More information on elk in North Carolina:…

More information on black bears in Panthertown:

More information on Avery Shawler’s research:

Posted by: panthertown | March 29, 2020

Important Information Concerning COVID-19


We encourage you during this time to
Stay Safe, Stay Home, & We Can’t Wait to Welcome You Back

Dear Friends of Panthertown,

In these uncertain times we want to give you an update on Panthertown and the work that we are doing to continue protecting and maintaining this special place.

We are working closely with the U.S. Forest Service and local authorities to monitor the situation and provide accurate information at this time. The health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors is of great concern to us.

Due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, we strongly encourage you to stay safe and stay at home as much as possible until all emergency orders have been lifted. We hope that you will understand and thank you for your continued support as we navigate through this global crisis together.

Trail use, backcountry access, and dispersed camping in Panthertown, following CDC social distancing guidelines, and in groups of 10 persons or less, currently remain open for local residents at this time. However, the U.S. Forest Service and local authorities are encouraging everyone to stay at home as much as possible, especially those from outside of our area. Future access to the trail system and backcountry may change. We will continue to keep you informed.

We have posted a public health notice on our website and on trailhead kiosks.

All organized volunteer activities and group trail work days in Panthertown and the surrounding National Forests in North Carolina are postponed until at least May 15, per the decision of the U.S. Forest Service.

Rest assured, our staff and volunteers are working diligently from home, together in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, as we continue our work planning for much-needed conservation projects in Panthertown. Your continued support and understanding during this time is essential for us to continue our important work.

We hope that you and your family stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to sharing brighter days ahead on the trails in Panthertown. We’re in this together.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via e-mail.


Jason Kimenker
Executive Director
Friends of Panthertown

Posted by: panthertown | March 28, 2020

COVID-19 Notice for Panthertown

All organized volunteer activities and group trail work days in Panthertown and the surrounding National Forests in North Carolina are postponed until at least May 15, 2020.

Please practice responsible social distancing by observing CDC guidelines, and follow all local, state, and federal orders.
Send a trail condition report.

MountainTrue (March 27, 2020):
Download COVID-19 Trail Etiquette from MountainTrue (PDF)

American Hiking Society (March 24, 2020):
Hiking Responsibly – FAQs for Hiking During the Covid-19 Pandemic

#1 Rule:  Always, always practice social distancing and follow the guidelines of your local government or the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whichever are more restrictive.

Asheville Citizen-Times (March 23, 2020):
Coronavirus: What is the trail etiquette
for staying safe on WNC hiking trails?

Updates about the U.S. Forest Service National Forests of North Carolina response to COVID-19 will be posted at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

Read More…

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