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Raven Cliff Wilderness Extensions

Raven Cliff Wilderness Extensions

Approximate size: 7,340 acres
Old-growth known: 103 acres

First set aside in 1986, the Raven Cliff Wilderness Area encompasses 6.8 miles of the Appalachian Trail as well as a handful of other highly scenic trails. The best known and most popular of those trails leads to the dramatic waterfall that lends its name to the area. The other trails lead to rocky summits that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lowlands.

Both extensions will protect and enhance the existing Wilderness, but they bring different strengths. Horse Range Mountain dominates the southern extension. A major spur off the main AT ridge, bedrock bulges through the thin soil on the higher elevations, and dense oak forests spread over the steep slopes. Those slopes loom large from the bypass around Helen and greatly enhance the scenic drive. The eastern end borders the popular Dukes Creek Falls Recreation Area. Much of this extension is an Inventoried Roadless Area.

The northern extension would move the boundary from arbitrary straight lines that cut across moist slopes and small streams down to the Helton Creek Road. The land on one side of the current boundary is no wilder than the land on the other side. Helton Creek Road is a quiet dirt path used to access a number of small inholdings and the impressive Helton Creek Falls, which lies inside the extension. The extension would help keep Helton Creek clean for trout, and strengthen the wildlife corridor connecting Blood Mountain Wilderness and Mark Trail Wilderness. The Helton Creek Inventoried Roadless Area covers most of this extension.

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

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