The Nantahala River Bogs Natural Area in the Nantahala National Forest protects some of the few remaining “fens,” commonly known as bogs, in the North Carolina mountains. The Nantahala bogs provide habitat for numerous species of rare plants and animals, including the bog turtle.
So much of the region’s high elevation bog land has been drained for farms, ponds, and pastures that the bogs themselves are becoming endangered. Once nearly 5,000 acres of bogs existed in the mountains. Today only 500 acres remain. The Nature Conservancy, the US Forest Service, and other organizations are working to protect and restore these valuable mountain wetlands.
The Nantahala River Bogs Natural Area includes five wetlands, several of which support bog turtles. Bog turtles are easily distinguished from other turtles by the large, conspicuous bright orange, yellow or red blotch found on each side of the head. Adult bog turtle shells are 3 to 4½ inches in length and range in color from light brown to ebony.
The Nantahala National Forest is located in the far southwestern counties of North Carolina. Maps and information about the Forest and its bogs can be obtained by contacting:
US Forest Service Supervisor’s Office
160A Zillicoa Street
Asheville, NC 28802
National Forests in North Carolina website