The Summit Team is proud to work with the newly formed Pisgah Conservancy! Their website launched this week and you will soon see their bumper stickers and brochures popping up all over western North Carolina.
Coalition Forms New Non-profit to Support Pisgah
PISGAH FOREST, N.C., April 12, 2016: Representatives of a variety of Pisgah user groups, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, announced today the formation of a North Carolina non-profit corporation called The Pisgah Conservancy.
The new organization’s mission is to provide funding to preserve the natural resources and scenic beauty of the Pisgah Ranger District and to enhance the experience of all visitors to Pisgah. The Pisgah Conservancy’s efforts will be focused on sustainable recreational usage of the Forest, watershed improvement, eradication of invasive species, removal of waste, litter, and graffiti, wildlife habitat improvement, and education.
The need for The Pisgah Conservancy is undeniable. “Forest usage in recent decades has grown exponentially, creating the need to find ways to increase efforts to protect these valuable natural resources,” explains Pisgah District Ranger Derek Ibarguen, “It has been a goal of mine since I took this job to find additional means of support to sustain and improve the Pisgah we all cherish so deeply. It’s exciting now to see The Pisgah Conservancy come into existence.”
John Cottingham, founder and volunteer Executive Director of the organization, also recognized the need for The Pisgah Conservancy. A native of Hendersonville, Cottingham has hiked and camped in Pisgah for over 40 years. When he retired from a corporate legal position he wanted to give back to Pisgah but found no way to do it.
“Two years ago, there was no way to make a financial contribution to Pisgah – other than sending a check to the federal treasury,” Cottingham explains. “Today, I’m excited to say, that we have an organization through which people can make tax deductible contributions that will directly benefit this national forest that means so much to us.”
Last fall Cottingham, Ibarguen, and Carlton Murrey, Executive Director of the Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association, recruited others and formed an Advisory Council to consider the feasibility of establishing such an organization. The Council includes representatives of the Carolina Mountain Club, Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, Pisgah Backcountry Horsemen, Trout Unlimited, NC Mountain Trail Runners, and local businesses (Headwaters Outfitters, Sycamore Cycles, and Trail Dynamics). In addition to Ibarguen, five other U.S. Forest Service employees with expertise in a variety of disciplines have supported the Council from the outset.
The Pisgah Conservancy is launching a campaign to develop financial support for the enterprise, a broad membership base, and a core of dedicated volunteers. The organization will be featured at the upcoming “Schenck You” event at the Cradle of Forestry on May 3.
“This is the 100th anniversary of Pisgah National Forest, and we benefit every day from the contributions of those who came before us,” says Cottingham. “What happens in the next hundred years is up to us. We want to leave a legacy we can all be proud of, that we were exceptional stewards of Pisgah’s extraordinary resources.”
You can find more information about these efforts at www.pisgahconservancy.org. Media Contact: Lavoe Davis, 207-837-7090