• The Cohutta Wilderness Area is under threat from an invasive species known as the princess tree. Georgia ForestWatch is working in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service to find princess trees growing in the woods, and is seeking volunteers to hike and scout for the easily-identifiable species.

Call for volunteers: Cohuttas under threat of invasive species

Last fall’s wildfires were a threat in many ways: they forced people to evacuate, killed patches of forest canopy and covered towns in smoke. The biggest threat to our forests, though, may just now be getting started. The Rough Ridge Fire produced ideal conditions for non-native princess trees to reproduce and invade the Cohutta Wilderness.

Native to Asia, princess trees’ extraordinarily fast growth allows them to outcompete and choke out native species. Populations are beginning to explode in the Cohuttas.

To help get this situation under control before the problem becomes too big to deal with, the first step is finding out exactly where the problem is.

We need volunteers to hike the trails in and around the Cohutta Wilderness and record where you see princess tree seedlings.

Seedlings are easy to identify, and equipment, nothing more than a smartphone or GPS unit, can be provided if needed. If you haven’t hiked in the Cohuttas since the fire, know that the area is as beautiful as ever.

Keeping the Cohuttas from turning into a grove of princess trees will be an ongoing process.

Georgia ForestWatch will work with the U.S. Forest Service to document locations of princess trees and assist in their removal from the Cohuttas. For that to work, though, we need help to quickly assess the situation.

Contact Georgia ForestWatch at 706-867-0051, or email Jess Riddle (jriddle@gafw.org) if you would like to help.

Times Courier

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1076
Ellijay, GA. 30540

Phone: 706-635-4313
Fax: 706-635-7006