Partnership announces plans to improve parking/river access at Wilson Creek

NEBO, NC (March 7, 2024) A diverse partnership is leading an effort to create a more sustainable future for Wilson Creek. The Wilson Creek Action Plan will provide a vision for outdoor recreation infrastructure development along Wilson Creek and present recommendations for parking areas, river accesses, and support facilities such as restrooms and picnic areas.

Over the past three years, the community has come together to support better stewardship of the Wild and Scenic River located in Pisgah National Forest in Caldwell County, North Carolina. As part of this partnership, the U.S. Forest Service is moving forward with plans to improve parking and river access.

The U.S. Forest Service is requesting public input to ensure the views of the community are represented in future developments. Public input is critical in ensuring that these recommendations will meet the current needs of the community and protect the Creek for future generations.

“We need to hear from our local communities and users to build better solutions to the issues that we have at Wilson Creek,” says Lisa Jennings, Recreation and Trails Program Manager for the Grandfather Ranger District. “Over the next several months we will be collecting feedback, working with designers and planners, and proposing options for improvements. We want to know what changes you would like to see.”

Share your ideas!

Visit and fill out the feedback survey.

Website and feedback survey also available in Spanish.

Visite y complete la encuesta de comentarios.

El sitio web y la encuesta de comentarios también están en español.

The project area covers nine miles of the Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor along Brown Mountain Beach Road from Adako Road to NC 90 at Mortimer. Landownership includes federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, state lands managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Caldwell County managed lands, and private lands. Opportunities for development will primarily focus on federal lands.

Carolina Land and Lakes Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is funding the action plan with local planning firm Destination by Design. The U.S. Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District is leading the effort in partnership with land managers from the NC Wildlife resources Commission. A diverse coalition representative of the local residents, businesses, and users is guiding the process. These partners include: A Clean Wilson Creek, American Whitewater, Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, Caldwell County Planning Department, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, G5 Trail Collective, Latinos Aventureros en las Carolinas, Northwest NC Mountain Bike Alliance, and Wild South.

“Wilson Creek is a special place to so many people in the community. As a partnership, our goal is to ensure everyone gets a voice in building the solutions to the issues we face on the Creek,” says Sandra N Aguirre, co-founder of Latinos Aventureros en las Carolinas. “Háganos saber qué cambios le gustaría ver en Wilson Creek. Let us know what changes you would like to see at Wilson Creek.”

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Wilson Creek was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River by Congress in 2000. Originating at its headwaters just below Grandfather Mountain, it flows 23 miles through mostly protected forest lands before it eventually joins the Johns River in Caldwell County. The Creek’s remarkable features include whitewater rapids, world class trout fishing, and picturesque boulders surrounded by sandy beaches popular in the summer for swimming and sunbathing. As with many popular National Forest sites, use has increased significantly in the past 5 years, leading to issues with parking and access. This current planning effort builds on goals within the newly adopted Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Management Plan to improve access in collaboration with community partners.