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Wednesday, 22 October 2014 15:12

Park plans prescribed burn in Cataloochee

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out burnPrescribed burns will light up the Canadian Top Knob, Mathews Branch and Noland Mountain areas adjacent to Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park later this week or early next week. Exact dates are dependent on weather. 


The burns are part of a multi-year project using a series of low-intensity controlled burns to restore fire and drought-tolerant natural communities that are in decline throughout the Southern Appalachians. These areas boast high native grass, vegetative and wildflower diversity and offer valuable forage for elk. This year’s installment could continue intermittently through mid-November. It will be conducted by 

park staff and partially funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 

“The prescribed burns in Cataloochee are critical for the health of oak and pine woodlands,” said National Park Service Fire Ecologist Rob Klein.  “The restoration of this habitat will help to sustain populations of elk and numerous other plants and animals native to Cataloochee Valley.” 

Roads and trails will remain open to the public throughout the burn operations, although Little Cataloochee Trail may be temporarily closed if fire activity warrants. Visitors should expect to see smoke in the area. 

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