Panthertown Bear Alert

BEAR ALERT from U.S. Forest Service Nantahala District Ranger:

March 20, 2018 – Due to an increase in close and serious bear encounters in Panthertown, where campers have had to leave campsites and hikers have retreated from a local trail, the U. S. Forest Service is strongly recommending that back country campers use bear resistant containers for all food and scented items.

Bears quickly learn that a good food source is available at campsites where people have not properly stored their food and trash. We recommend no overnight camping without bear proof containers and some form of personal protection in the back country”, said District Ranger Mike Wilkins. “This will help reduce bear encounters until berries and other natural foods become available. Also, it is advisable to avoid abandoning food containers, backpacks, and other items to a bear one may encounter to avoid teaching the bear to associate people with food.

Use bear resistant canisters for back country camping. Carry a readily available can of bear pepper spray (rated as bear spray by the U.S. EPA) and follow manufacturer recommendations.

For more information about bears in Panthertown Valley, please visit

Black Bears in Nantahala

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 | 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

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