Local Conservation Group to Host Third Public Forum on Long-term Impacts of the Party Rock Fire

Learn more about the long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire on the natural environment in Hickory Nut Gorge Wednesday, March 22nd at 6 p.m. in the Community Hall at the Lake Lure Municipal Building. 

While our visitors' experiences and enjoyment of Lake Lure's enduring natural beauty will not be impacted by the Party Rock Fire of November 2016, a panel of environmental experts continues to explore how the natural environment will be impacted.

As part of that continuing discussion, a panel of local experts will focus on non-native invasive plants and native landscaping in Hickory Nut Gorge on March 22nd., in the Community Hall at the Lake Lure Municipal Building.

The expert panel includes: David Lee with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Marshall Ellis with North Carolina State Parks, and Bob Gale with MountainTrue. 

The Party Rock Fire burned 7,142 acres in the Hickory Nut Gorge this past fall. While the immediate threat of the fire is gone, there are long-term effects that need to be considered. The area was historically adapted to periodic fire, but after years of fire suppression, what effects could this recent fire have on the region?

How will the natural environment respond?

While there were no fatalities and no structures were lost during the fire, there are other ways that the fire will affect the local community.

The local economy relies heavily on tourism; the Hickory Nut Gorge’s natural beauty and unique plant and animal species are a major draw for visitors.

The disturbance caused by the Party Rock Fire could create the ideal conditions for non-native invasive plants to thrive, which can lower biodiversity and affect the beauty of the gorge. Most people have seen the fields of kudzu on the sides of the gorge, princess trees shading out the shrub layer of the forest, or oriental bittersweet strangling trees along the roadside; these species might create more problems as a result of the fire, but there are things the community can do to help!

The panel will present and discuss information about how non-native invasive plants will respond to the wildfire, why native landscaping is vital in preventing wildfires, and what the community and landowners can do. The panel will be hosted and moderated by the Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

It is free and open to the public.

The forum is free and open to the public!

About the Weed Action Coalition:

The Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG), based at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, is composed of area partners whose mission is to protect the natural environment of the Hickory Nut Gorge by managing the exotic invasive plants on public and private land. WAC-HNG can be a major force in helping to mitigate the possible long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire; support from landowners in the gorge and volunteers from the local community will be critical for WAC-HNG in the months and years ahead.