Mill closure looms large in discussion of challenges facing Western North Carolina forests

By Holly Kays
The Smoky Mountain News
May 24, 2023
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US East

ASHVILLE, North Carolina — The familiar challenges of climate change, invasive pests and development pressure peppered the conversation during a May 18 panel discussion on the issues facing forests in Western North Carolina — but the impending closure of Canton’s century-old paper mill dominated it. …The discussion came at a critical time for forestry in Western North Carolina. In February, the Forest Service adopted a new management plan for the million-acre Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest, concluding a decade-long process. The document will likely guide management decisions for the next 20 years. A month later, Pactiv-Evergreen announced plans to close Canton’s 115-year-old paper mill, a decision that will have a critical impact on regional demand for timber in the years ahead. …A crowd of about 150 people attended the event, which was held at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville, representing a cross-section of conservation and forestry organizations.

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