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Brasstown Wilderness Extensions

Brasstown Wilderness Extensions

Approximate size: 5,056 acres
Old-growth known: 187 acres

The tower on top of Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak, is probably the best landmark in north Georgia. The mountain stands remote and separated from the main Blue Ridge that the Appalachian Trail follows, but ridges run from the peak all the way to the town of Young Harris. The 12,949-acre wilderness area designated in 1986 protects most of the higher elevations and the major spur ridges. However, the current boundaries stop short of full protection, both literally and figuratively, on several of the ridges.

These areas contain several significant features including rock outcrops and old-growth chestnut oak forests. Particularly noteworthy are the extensions on the north side. A band of unusual bedrock with exceptionally high concentrations of iron and magnesium runs under this area. Elsewhere around Brasstown Bald this band of rock is associated with showy rare species like fringed gentian and large-leaved grass-of-Parnassus. This area is outside the existing wilderness study area and is designated for dispersed recreation management.

Including these areas in the Brasstown Bald Wilderness would protect habitats associated with a fuller range of elevations and protect the integrity of the existing wilderness area. Protecting a full range of elevations will likely become increasingly important as climate change continues.

Help us protect this 16,000-acre oasis of waterfalls, old-growth, rare species, panoramic views, and world-class trails.

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