Posted by: panthertown | February 1, 2018

Welcome Friends!

button     Volunteer Survey

 Celebrating our 13th year of Panthertown conservation!

Panthertown Valley Autumn 2015
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.

>> Our volunteers maintain 30 miles of public trails in this treasured backcountry.

>>  Our members support our conservation efforts through membership donations.

Friends of Panthertown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Posted by: panthertown | August 23, 2017

USFS: Bear-Proof Canisters Strongly Recommended in Panthertown

Bear-Proof Canisters Strongly Recommended on Nantahala Ranger District

BlackBearUSFSAugust 23, 2017 – Due to an increase in close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown and along the Appalachian Trail, the U.S. Forest Service Nantahala Ranger District is strongly recommending that backcountry campers use bear-proof containers for all food and scented items.
This applies to National Forest lands in and adjacent to bear sanctuaries, which includes Standing Indian Basin, Wayah Bald to Tellico Gap, and Panthertown. “At this time of year before trees have produced a mast crop and as berries dry up, bears quickly learn that a good food source is campsites where people have not properly stored their food or trash. So we are recommending no overnight camping without bear-proof containers in the backcountry,” said District Ranger Mike Wilkins. “This will help reduce bear encounters until acorns and other nuts appear in the fall.”
Backcountry campers should store all food and scented items like toothpaste in commercially-made canisters manufactured for the specific purpose of resisting entry by bears. Keep stored food well away from camping and cooking areas. Before sleeping, make sure you have not inadvertently left anything edible or sweet smelling like personal hygiene items near your campsite.
BearContainer1Bear encounters have been a common occurrence this year in several parts of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. In most cases encounters have been in areas where people have not properly stored food or trash and bears have become dependent on human foods.
Visitors are encouraged to prevent bear interactions by practicing these additional safety tips:
  • Never leave food unattended
  • Never store food or other scented items like lotions and toothpaste in tents
  • Immediately clean up food or trash around fire rings, grills, and other areas of your campsite

For more tips, visit or go to and click on “Learn about Bear Safety.”



Black Bear Activity Report for Panthertown (August 2017)

Forest Service issues Warning about Black Bears in Panthertown (April 17, 2017)



Update: A video of this presentation has been provided courtesy of Canary Coalition.

Upcoming Event: Saturday, Sept. 2 – Panthertown Guided Hike & Trail Cleanup


View of Panthertown Valley from Blackrock Overlook. Photo by Thomas Mabry.

Whence These Mountains?

The Geology That Makes Cashiers and Panthertown Special

A Free Presentation at Albert Carlton – Cashiers Community Library

Tuesday, July 18 from 5:30 – 7:30pm

Presented by Friends of Panthertown
Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.

Add this event to your FacebookWant to know the history of these mountains? Ever wonder about those big rock walls down in Lonesome Valley and Panthertown Valley? Or why is Cashiers Valley so much higher than the valleys down in Sylva or Franklin, and why do the roads get so steep (and curvy) in all directions?

Panorama from Salt Rock

Panorama of Panthertown Valley from Salt Rock Gap (Photo submitted by Bill Jacobs)

Bill Jacobs got an itch to understand these things, and for the past several years has been taking courses, reading the literature, and doing field trips to get answers. He is not a geologist, but has become a pretty serious geology buff. He has found a remarkable story that he enjoys sharing with his Cashiers neighbors and friends. He will do this in a lecture full of illustrations, photos and rock samples, and with the bare minimum of technical jargon – he has read doctoral dissertations, but he is a layman who uses language and concepts that don’t require a graduate degree.Yeti_Hopper_Raffle_Poster

Learn more about Friends of Panthertown, Panthertown Valley, and the geology of the Cashiers area at this free presentation.

Arrive early for a chance to win one of several Panthertown-related door prizes.

We will also be drawing a winner for our raffle for a YETI cooler. More info about the raffle is here:

Posted by: panthertown | June 27, 2017

Forest Plan Revision Open House

Geographic Area Map of Panthertown

USFS Pre-Draft (May 2017) Revised Forest Plan Proposed Management Areas For Panthertown

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are in the process of revising the Forest Plan that will provide a strategic framework for managing the Forests, including Panthertown, over the next 10-15 years. The plan includes desired conditions that describe what the public wants the Forests to be in the future and objectives that describe the actions that the Forest Service will take.

While the Forest Plan is being developed, the U.S. Forest Service has been gradually releasing pieces of the pre-draft to provide an opportunity for the public and partners to see building blocks of the plan as they are being developed

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision.

“Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your needs, concerns, and values and helps you understand Forest Service programs and activities,” explains Allen Nicholas, Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina.

The open houses allow the public to talk directly with Forest Service staff one-on-one. Each District Open House will highlight the areas within that district. District rangers and members of the Forest Plan revision team will be available to discuss the materials, including as they relate to Panthertown, on each of the following days and locations:

  • July 11, 6-8 pm: Nantahala Ranger District at Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., Franklin
  • July 13, 6-8 pm: Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard

Nantahala Ranger District To Host Forest Plan Revision Open House – July 11, 2017


Franklin, N.C., — The Nantahala Ranger District will be conducting an open house on July 11 at Tartan Hall, 26 Church Street in Franklin from 6-8 PM. The public may drop in at any time during these hours to learn about the Forest Plan Revision Process on the Nantahala Ranger District, and to informally ask questions on any other local National Forest management issues.

There will be a 15-minute presentation, repeated as necessary, covering current district activities, as well as a brief overview of Geographic Areas before proceeding to one on one discussions. Subjects included in the current Forest Plan include Geographic Areas, Special Interest Areas, and a starting point for Interface, Matrix, and Back Country Management Areas. Those attending will find it helpful to review the current Forest Plan Revision website at


Geographic Area Map of Panthertown

  Panthertown is part of the “Highland Domes” Geographic Area:

Description and Goals

Context Map

Management Area Map



How can I provide feedback?

Send comments to with the subject line: “Geographic and Management Area building blocks,”or by mail at the following address:

Attn: Plan Revision Team Leader,
National Forests in North Carolina
160 Zillicoa St., Suite A
Asheville, NC 28801

In order to provide strongest input for the draft, comments will be most useful when received by August 31, 2017.

You may also direct your specific Panthertown comments or questions to:

Forestwide Direction

Posted by: panthertown | November 8, 2016

Extreme Wildfire Risk – Forest Service Bans Campfires

Burn Ban In Effect - NO FIRES

UPDATE (December 6, 2016) – The U.S. Forest Service – National Forests in North Carolina has lifted fire restrictions on the Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie National Forests. Although campfires are allowed, visitors are asked to be careful with fire.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued an emergency campfire restriction for Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina.

The N.C. Forest Service has issued a burn ban for western North Carolina.

Panthertown Valley is at high risk for human caused wildfire.

No campfires are allowed in Panthertown until further notice.

Please be extremely vigilant to help protect our precious forests from additional wildfires.

U.S. Forest Service Fire Restrictions


  • fire danger extremeUntil further notice, the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have the following fire restrictions in place due to the extremely dry conditions, high fire danger, and little chance of rain in the immediate forecast.
  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire (including charcoal based fire whether in a grill or not) is NOT ALLOWED anywhere on the National Forest.
  • The use of commercially available portable lanterns, stoves, or heating equipment that utilize gas or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed.



Fall colors begin to arrive in Panthertown (Photo by Christopher Denning Smith)


Friends of Panthertown will be sharing information about Panthertown Valley and the Panthertown Valley Trail System at our annual meeting and social event on Wednesday, October 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. Find out more about the work that our organization has done this year to protect and maintain this special place, and learn about upcoming conservation projects we have in the works. Meet and socialize with Friends of Panthertown volunteers and other local hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and explorers. A moderated panel of Panthertown experts will be on hand to share information with the public and to answer questions. Everyone is welcome, including families with children (a kid’s activity table will be available). Light refreshments will be served and there will be door prizes. Send e-mail, visit our Facebook, or call (828) 269-HIKE (4453) for info.

Invite your Friends on Facebook


Join us at Jackson County Public Library in Sylva on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.

We will be meeting in the Community Room at the Jackson County Public Library Complex located at 310 Keener Street in downtown Sylva, NC. Everyone is welcome!


Friends of PanthertownBecome a supporting member of Friends to help us protect and maintain Panthertown Valley for all to enjoy. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. 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. Get involved, join us, or sign-up to volunteer today!

Posted by: panthertown | June 20, 2016

Benefit Horse Exhibition Saturday June 25, 2016

Benefit Horse Exhibition Saturday June 25 at Bald Rock

Bald Rock and The Divide at Bald Rock are hosting a Panthertown Benefit Horse Exhibition & Silent Auction to benefit  Friends of Panthertown on Saturday, June 25 from 10 AM to 2 PM. Admission is free and everyone is invited. There is a parking fee of $10 per car and carpooling is encouraged. All the fun will take place in the Bald Rock Equestrian Community at the top of Trays Island Road off US Highway 64 E in Sapphire, NC. Turn at the entrance to Sapphire National Golf Club then follow signs.

Benefit 1Beginning at 10 AM when gates open you will be able to bid on silent auction items in the barn, listen to music, engage in kid’s arts and crafts activities, meet Friends, and visit various booths. Kid’s face painting by Macon Faces Face Painting from 10 to 12.

Rounding out the auction will be guided hikes, a whitewater rafting river trip, a lake tour, local art, photography, dining experiences, gift baskets, and much more.

Starting at 11 AM a delicious BBQ lunch will be for sale or bring your own picnic.

Meet and greet horses up close from 11 to 11:30 and again from 1:30 to 2. The exhibition will begin at 12 noon with a grand parade of horses.

Over a dozen different breeds will be on display showing off their attributes. Some include quarter horses, bred to be a fast powerful sprinter over a quarter mile tract. These horses have huge hindquarters that enable them to pull a cow or jump a big fence. The Paso Fino and Trote y Galope breeds are called gaited horses. This means that they can move their feet very quickly with very little forward advancement in a four beat gait with three feet on the ground at all times.

Horse Exhibition

Arrive early to meet horses up close!

Listen for their gait. It’s fascinating! Gypsy Vanner horses only first came to this country in 1996. Their name refers to a horse selectively bred for over half a century in Europe to create the perfect caravan horse. These are typically a people-sized Draft Horse with heavy bone and broad body but on a smaller scale than the larger drafts. The manes and withers add to the Gypsy Vanner’s amazing looks. The breed possesses a temperament that is friendly and engaging – sometimes referred to as a Golden Retriever with hooves!

The Laurel Magazine - June 2016 Article

The Laurel Magazine – June 2016

Bring your children, family, and friends – but please leave your dogs at home for the safety of all the animals! Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome. Come rain or shine. In the event of heavy rain or lightning, activities may change.

Thank you to the residents of Bald Rock, to our silent auction donors, and to our event sponsors for helping to make this exhibition possible: The Divide at Bald Rock, Landmark Realty Group, McKee Properties, Silver Creek Real Estate Group, The Carolina Cone Team (Keller-Williams), SonRise Sanitation, and WhiteWater Equestrian Center. Special thanks to: The Laurel Magazine, Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Mountain Towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva.

Horse Exhibition

Bring your family on Saturday June 25!

All proceeds from this event will benefit Friends of Panthertown, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which protects and maintains 30 miles of public trails in Panthertown Valley, a 6,295 acre backcountry recreational area in the Nantahala National Forest. Panthertown offers some of the area’s most scenic public trails. Visitors enjoy its gorges, waterfalls and mountain views, all accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Dedicated volunteers maintain the trail system for the public’s enjoyment. This is a great chance to give back and support a worthwhile cause.

For more information or to make a donation call (828) 269-HIKE (4453) or e-mail

Posted by: panthertown | May 31, 2016

National Trails Day Guided Hike in Panthertown

National Trails Day Group in Panthertown

National Trails DayYou are invited to join us on Saturday, June 4, 2016 for our annual National Trails Day Guided Hike in Panthertown.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® is the country’s largest celebration of trails. Make sure you don’t miss out on this fun and casual exploration of Panthertown Valley led by Friends of Panthertown volunteers. Group size is limited. Call (828) 269-HIKE (4453) for more info or send an e-mail to RSVP.

Everyone is welcome. Some hiking experience is recommended. There is no fee to participate, although donations are appreciated. Hikers should meet at the Salt Rock trailhead (located at end of Breedlove Road in Cashiers) at 9:30am to join Friends of Panthertown guides on a loop hike into Panthertown Valley. We expect to hike 5-6 miles on moderate to intermediate trails (subject to group experience) and be back to the parking lot by 2pm. Don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear, bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated, rain gear (just in case), snacks, and a lunch to enjoy on the trail.

 Invite your friends on Facebook.Invite on Facebook

National Trails Day Hikers in Panthertown

Friends of PanthertownOur seasonal newsletter filled with Panthertown news will soon be mailed out to our members! Become a supporting member of Friends to help us protect and maintain Panthertown Valley for all to enjoy. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. 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. Get involved, join us, or sign-up to volunteer today!

Posted by: panthertown | April 21, 2016

USFS: Fire Danger High Across North Carolina

Fire Danger High

Fire Danger High Across North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C., April 18, 2016 –

The U.S. Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are warning the public of high fire danger across North Carolina.

Fire danger is high across the state due to lack of rainfall in recent weeks and low humidity. Conditions across North Carolina are forecasted to remain dry for the next couple weeks.

April typically marks the height of wildfire season in North Carolina. This year, with limited rainfall throughout March and April, forests are especially receptive to spreading fires. Concern is highest in Western North Carolina where trees have not fully leafed out.

Both agencies would like to remind the public to use caution in any outdoor burning. “The public is an important partner in fire prevention,” says Riva Duncan, Fire Management Officer for National Forests in North Carolina. “Right now, with fire danger at critical levels, we are urging the public to use common sense when it comes to outdoor burning.”

99% of wildfires in North Carolina are human caused, with the greatest number caused by back-yard debris burning. Even when burn-bans are not in effect, conditions may not be advisable for outdoor fires. The public is discouraged from lighting campfires and burning yard waste during periods of low humidity or high winds.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and North Carolina Forest Service are currently responding to multiple wildfires across North Carolina.

Source: USFS Press Release

Smokey Bear Sign "Only You"

Friends of PanthertownIf you enjoy hiking in Panthertown Valley and would like to help Friends of Panthertown protect this spectacular natural resource, we ask that you become a supporting member of our organization by volunteering at one of our upcoming trail work days, or by becoming a member. Donations are tax-deductible and new volunteers and members are always welcome to join us. For more info call (828) 269-HIKE (4453) or e-mail

Posted by: panthertown | April 1, 2016

Polar Bear in Panthertown! USFS Closes Hiking Trails

Rare Polar Bear Sighting in Panthertown

A rare polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sighting in Panthertown

PANTHERTOWN VALLEY, NC (Published 4/1/2016) –

A rare polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sighting in Panthertown has prompted U.S. Forest Service officials to close all trails in the forest until further notice.

Nantahala District Ranger Mike Wilkins was reported to have been heard discussing the situation with North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission biologists, “Unlike other bear species, polar bears are almost exclusively meat eaters (carnivorous). We don’t want any hikers to become an easy food source for these beasts.”

Sources claim the bear was first seen bathing in the pool below Schoolhouse Falls and again on top of Little Green Mountain. Be safe out there folks. Don’t feed the bears.

Story update: Ranger Wilkins has issued an official statement encouraging mountain bikers and equestrians to continue using the trails since they can move more quickly than hikers and would provide tasty bear bait. Officials hope the rare polar bear will follow the horses and bikes out of Panthertown and into nearby neighborhoods.

News at 11.

Bears in PanthertownFriends of Panthertown is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Join Friends to help us protect and maintain Panthertown Valley for all to enjoy. Even polar bears. Click here for info about black bear activity (Ursus americanus) in Panthertown.

Older Posts »


%d bloggers like this: