The draft version of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan is set to be released in February.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the draft plan for the million acres of both forests “for the benefit of the public” has been in the works since 2013.

Between 2014 and 2017, the Forest Service held 42 different face-to-face meetings and took in thousands of public comments.

Once released, the draft plan will be subject to a 90-day public comment period.

The Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership worked with the National Forests of N.C. on the projects, including the Southern Off-Road Mountain Bicycle Association, Columbia Forest Products, Audubon North Carolina, Back Country Horsemen of Pisgah and many more.

The plan divides the forests into geographic regions, with part of the High Country in the “Eastern Escarpment” and the Tennessee border areas of Avery County down to Haywood County in the “Bald Mountains” geographic area.

The Eastern Escarpment includes areas such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Overmountain Victory Trail, Linville Gorge Wilderness, Harper Creek and Lost Cove Wilderness Study Areas, Wilson Creek and Linville River, and others.