Panthertown Valley Bog

Panthertown Valley Bog photo by Kelvin Taylor
Panthertown Valley Bog (Photo by Kelvin Taylor)

Panthertown Valley Bog is a rare high-elevation Southern Appalachian mountain bog found on Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina. It is one of the rarest wetland types located in the southeastern United States in an unmatched setting of granitic domes.

The wetlands in Panthertown Valley are a series of swamp-forest bog complexes, seeps, and spray cliffs, which co-occur with the bog in this unique high elevation valley in the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River. The bog supports several state-listed rare and endangered species including Timber Rattlesnake and Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies. Watch the virtual tour

The Carolina Wetlands Association selected our bog as one of their 2020 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas.

Panthertown Bog, located in Jackson County NC, is a large (>15 acres) example of a Southern Appalachian Bog, the rarest of wetland habitats in the southeastern U.S. The Bog is located in the 6,300 acre Pantherrown Valley Backcountry Area within the greater Nantahala National Forest. A series of wetlands, swamp-forest bog complexes, seeps, and spray cliffs, co-occur with the bog in this unique high elevation valley in the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River. Flanked on all sides by steep high elevation granitic domes, rising several hundreds of feet above the large flat valley, the landscape has been denoted as the “Yosemite of the East”. Distinctive white sandy flats occur along portions of the slow meandering Panthertown Creek. As a result of both the unique lowlands and uplands habitats, species diversity is outstanding. Prior land use history has shaped this landscape. In the early 1990’s, logging camps, housing over 100 people, occurred across the valley. Intense wildfires resulted from the logging slash during the 1930’s helping to maintain the open bog as well as the granitic domes. In the mid 1960’s, many of the less steep forests were harvested again resulting in the current configuration of mid-age forests and off-site white pine plantations.

Fact Sheet provided by The Carolina Wetlands Association

FLORA & FAUNA

Sphagnum moss dominates the open bog with scattered amounts of silk willow, red chokeberry, hardhack, and bushy Saint John’s-wort. Cinnamon fern and rushes occur on tussocks among a diversity of grasses and sedges. Various wetland herbs, such as turtleheads, cowbane, monkey flower, and Canada burnet occur within the bog. The bog supports several state-listed rare and endangered species. Timber rattlesnake dens have been located within Panthertown Bog as well as the rare Baltimore checkerspot butterflies. The Valley has also been designated as part of the Panthertown-Bonas Defeat Bear Sanctuary (NC WRC).

THREATS

Recreational activity, including hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding, is common across the many trails within the valley resulting in a high risk of introduction and spread of invasive plant species. In addition, as experienced with many other southern Appalachian bogs, woody plant invasion is resulting in closure of the open portions of the bog.

ARTICLES

Saving Our Rare and Beautiful Mountain Bogs
by The Carolina Wetlands Association (July 31, 2020)

VIDEO LINKS

Panthertown Valley Bog Virtual Tour (5:58)
by The Carolina Wetlands Association (May 2020)

Carnivorous plants of North Carolina (1:46)
by ncwetlands.org (April 2019)

Panthertown Valley Bog (4:49)
by ncwetlands.org (March 2019)


Mountain Bogs – Threatened Heritage

Season 4 Episode 8

27 minutes

One of the most threatened ecosystems in the United States are the Southern Appalachian Mountain Bogs. These small wetlands support many unique and threatened species. The survival of these rare creatures rely on our management and understanding of these systems which are still very poorly understood. Join Patrick as he explores our mountain bogs in a race to understand this ecosystem on the edge.

Aired: 02/20/19 | Rating: NR