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Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala National Forest is a United States national forest that is located in North Carolina. The forest holds 531,270 acres of land and water that is divided into three ranger districts known as The Cheoah Ranger District, the Nantahala Ranger District, and the Tusquitee Ranger District, all of which were named with words from the Cherokee language. The national forest itself was given the name Nantahala, which means “Land of the Noonday Sun” in Cherokee.

The Cheoah Ranger District of the forest holds 120,110 acres and is located in Swain and Graham counties. The name of this district means “otter” in Cherokee. This district holds many streams, four large water reservoirs, and the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. The Nantahala Ranger District holds about 250,000 acres and is located in Swain, Macon, and Jackson counties. This district is the largest in the forest and it holds Roy Taylor Forest, Standing Indian Mountain, Nantahala Gorge, and many other features. The Tusquitee Ranger District holds 158,348-acre and is located in Cherokee and Clay counties as well as in a small portion of North Carolina County. The name Tusquitee means, “Where the water dogs laughed” in the Cherokee language. This area of the forest holds Jackrabbit Mountain and Lake Chatuge, among other lakes.

Nantahala National Forest holds three designated wilderness areas including Ellicott Rock Wilderness and Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, which has about six thousand acres of the forest’s 30,800 acres of old growth forest.

Image Caption: Cullasaja Falls. Credit: Sdrtm/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Nantahala National Forest


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