11.15.07

Burr, Dole Introduce Bill To Expand Pisgah National Forest

Legislation would provide trail access to Catawba Falls

Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole introduced legislation today that would authorize the forest service to acquire twenty-three acres of land near Catawba Falls and the Pisgah National Forest. Congressman Heath Shuler recently introduced companion legislation in the house. Purchasing the property would allow the Forest Service to open a public trail to Catawba Falls. The land would be acquired from the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, who purchased the property in July using private funds.

"North Carolina's public lands are some of our state's greatest assets," Burr said. "The Pisgah National Forest provides tremendous environmental and economic benefits to McDowell County. Providing trail access to Catawba Falls will drive tourists to the area and allow North Carolinians to enjoy the beauty of their state."

"I am pleased to join efforts with Richard Burr to make Catawba Falls more accessible to the public," said Dole. "Not only will opening a public trail enable more people to enjoy the natural splendor of the falls, but it also will benefit the local economy by increasing tourism and recreation opportunities."

"The acquisition of this land will provide tremendous recreation benefits to the people of Western North Carolina and all Americans. Access to Catawba Falls and increased recreational opportunities will also promote our local economy and businesses through increased tourist dollars," Rep. Shuler said.

The Pisgah National Forest, established in 1916, contains over 519,000 acres of North Carolina land. Catawba Falls, located within Pisgah National Forest, was previously inaccessible because access to the falls was blocked by private land.