Middle Prong Wilderness was designated in 1984 and it covers 7,900 acres (32 km2) within the Pisgah National Forest in Haywood County, Western North Carolina. The Wilderness Area spans steep, rugged high-elevation ridges ranging from 3,200 to over 6,400 feet, and borders Shining Rock Wilderness to the northeast. The area gets its name from the Middle Prong of the Pigeon River finding whose headwaters are located in the area.
|Middle Prong Wilderness|
Middle Prong Wilderness in North Carolina
|Location||Haywood County, North Carolina, USA|
|Area||7,900 acres (32 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
|Website||Middle Prong Wilderness|
The Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests is an ecoregion in the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests Biome, in the Eastern United States. The ecoregion is located in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, including the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It covers an area of about 61,500 square miles (159,000 km2) in: northeast Alabama and Georgia, northwest South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and central West Virginia and Pennsylvania; and small extensions into Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York.
They are one of the world's richest temperate deciduous forests in terms of biodiversity; there are an unusually high number of species of both flora and fauna, as well as a high number of endemic species. The reasons for this are the long-term geologic stability of the region, its long ridges and valleys which serve both as barrier and corridors, and their general north-south alignment which allowed habitats to shift southward during ice ages. The mountains also contain a large variety of diverse landscapes, microclimates and soils all constituting microhabitats allowing many refugia areas and relict species to survive and thrive.Mountains-to-Sea Trail
The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) is a long-distance trail for hiking and backpacking, that traverses North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail's western endpoint is at Clingman's Dome, where it connects to the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its eastern endpoint is in Jockey's Ridge State Park on the tallest sand dune on the east coast. The trail is envisioned as a scenic backbone of an interconnected trail system spanning the state. As such, the trail's route attempts to connect as many trail systems and natural scenic areas as practicable. A little over half of the trail is complete in multiple segments across the state.
The Mountains-to-Sea State Park Trail was made an official land-based unit of the state park system by the General Assembly on August 2, 2000. Since that time, the State Trail unit has grown to encompass 691 acres (280 ha) in three tracts and 87 acres (35 ha) in conservation easements. Each of these tracts is leased to local governments for management as nature parks, under the guidance of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR). The vast majority of the foot trail is located on lands not directly managed as part of a state park unit.
The trail is a part of the North Carolina State Trails Program which is a section of NCDPR, and as of January 2011, 530 miles (853 km) of trail has been designated as a part of the MST by NCDPR.
The segments of MST along the Blue Ridge Parkway were designated as National Recreation Trail in 2005.
The MST has the distinction of being the highest elevation long-distance trail in the eastern United States as it crosses Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m).Pisgah National Forest
Pisgah National Forest is a National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. It is administered by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Pisgah National Forest is completely contained within the state of North Carolina. The forest is managed together with the other three North Carolina National Forests (Croatan, Nantahala, and Uwharrie) from common headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. There are local ranger district offices located in Pisgah Forest, Mars Hill, and Nebo.Shining Rock Wilderness
The Shining Rock Wilderness is a protected Wilderness Area in Haywood County, North Carolina. Its first 13,400 acres (54 km2) have been part of the National Wilderness Preservation System since the System was created in 1964. It now includes 18,483 acres (74.80 km2), and is managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the Pisgah National Forest. It borders Middle Prong Wilderness to the southwest.
Within the wilderness, the Art Loeb Trail can be followed to the base of Cold Mountain, where a spur trail leads to the summit. Cold Mountain is the namesake of a historical fiction novel by Charles Frazier, and its film adaptation; both are set in the time of the American Civil War.
Due to conflicts with black bears, in 2015 the Forest Service implemented a requirement for all overnight campers to carry bear-resistant canisters. Canisters are required year-round in the Wilderness Area and south of it to the Blue Ridge Parkway.