WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. (Feb. 3, 2014) — The N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission is holding two public meetings this month to seek input in developing management plans for three of its western North Carolina game lands.
The first meeting,scheduled for Feb. 17, will be held at the Ashe County Arts Council Building, 303 School Ave., in West Jefferson, to hear public input on Pond Mountain and Three Top Mountain game lands.
If the meeting is postponed due to bad weather, it will be rescheduled for Feb. 24 at the same location. The Commission will post on its website, www.ncwildlife.org, on Feb. 17 if the meeting is cancelled.
The second meeting, scheduled for Feb. 20, will be held at First Presbyterian Church Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., in Franklin to hear public input on Needmore Game Land.
Both meetings will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m., although attendees should arrive early to sign in and receive materials.
Wildlife Commission staff will use public input from the meetings to help guide management and user activities on the game lands for the next 10 years.
Pond Mountain and Three Top Mountain game lands are located in Ashe County. Both game lands feature elevations near 5,000 feet and offer outstanding views. The 2,272-acre Pond Mountain Game Land contains 750 acres of grassy, open areas, while Three Top Mountain Game Land, a 2,891-acre tract, is almost completely forested. Popular game species on these game lands include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit and ruffed grouse. Several rare plant and animal species are located on both game lands.
Needmore Game Land is a 4,800-acre tract located in Macon and Swain counties. It is mostly forested, but also features some old home sites and old agricultural fields maintained for wildlife habitat. The most outstanding physical feature of the game land is the Little Tennessee River, which traverses approximately 26 miles of the property. The lower portion of the Little Tennessee River is noted nationally for several endangered and threatened species, like Appalachian elktoe and spotfin chub. Popular game species on the game land include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit and ruffed grouse.
“We are encouraging everyone who has an interest in these game lands to attend the meetings to provide input on how the properties should be managed,” said Gordon Warburton, mountain ecoregion supervisor with the Wildlife Commission. “We hope to hear from not just hunters and anglers, but also from wildlife watchers, photographers, birders and others who use or have an interest in using these game lands.”
The Wildlife Commission also will create an online comment form that will be available on the Commission’s website by the start of the first meeting. People who do not attend a meeting will be able to submit comments for each game land management plan at www.ncwildlife.org. Click on “Comment on Game Land Plans” in the scrolling icons at the bottom of the homepage. Comments also can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type the name of the game land on which you’re commenting in the subject line.
The Wildlife Commission will provide updates on development of new game land management plans on Facebook and Twitter.