Big Ivy loses a legend

Hoyte Dillingham, one of the pillars of the Big Ivy community, passed away on Monday, March 23, at age 76. He and his wife Judy founded the D&D Grocery Store and Restaurant, which remains the hub of Barnardsville community life. Hoyte knew the Big Ivy forests better than anyone, and he played an important role in protecting them from massive logging in the 1990s. Hoyte will be deeply missed. His obituary appears below. 



BARNARDSVILLE – Hoyte Neal Dillingham, age 76 of 1001 Dillingham Road died Monday, March 23, 2015. 

Hoyte was born October 11, 1938 in Buncombe County where he had lived most of his life. He lived in Alexandria, VA for about 5 years where he managed ACME Markets. After returning home Hoyte worked at A&P Grocery and later started D&D Grocery and Restaurant in Democrat. He attended Barnardsville School, was in the first graduating class of North Buncombe High School and attended Western Carolina University. An avid bear hunter and member of the American Plott Hound Association, Hoyte’s interest in hunting came from his father. In 1955 he started breeding and raising his own Plott Hounds and was known in the area as a breeder of U.K.C. Registered Plott Bear Dogs. Hoyte was instrumental in getting the Plott Hound as the North Carolina State Dog. Living in the Dillingham Community was next to heaven to Hoyte, he loved all of his friends just as he did his family. 

Son of the late Thomas Lester and Connie Bumgarner Dillingham he was also preceded in death by brothers, Thomas L. Dillingham, Jr. and William S. Hyatt and sisters, Helen Shuford and Marie Haynes. 

Surviving are his wife of 55 years Judy Dillingham Dillingham; daughters, Cheri Dillingham Bettilyon and husband Scott of Barnardsville, Lisa Dillingham Bonner and husband Sparkie of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Amy Dillingham Webb and Justin of Barnardsville; special friend, Kevin Proffitt of Barnardsville; sisters, Carolyn Banks of Barnardsville, Irene Richards and husband Ken of Asheville; grandchildren, Alex Bettilyon, Caroline Bettilyon, Taylor Lake, Bradley Hill, Carley Neal Buckner, and Maddey Webb; great grandchildren, Brylan and Hatley Lake and Connor Neal Banks. 

His funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Dillingham Presbyterian Church, 16 Stoney Fork Rd., Barnardsville, with Reverend Richard Hicks officiating. Burial will be in Lester Dillingham Cemetery, Barnardsville. 

The family will receive friends 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday at the funeral home. 

At other times, the family will be at the residence. 

Fresh flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to Barnardsville Fire Department, PO Box 126, Barnardsville, NC 28709 or Big Ivy Historical Society, PO Box 402, Barnardsville, NC 28709. 

For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Hoyte’s obituary at 

A Barnardsville resident reflects on the Big Ivy Forest meeting

by Deborah Anderson

In the way back of the foothills, bumped up against the ranges of the great

Pisgah and Nantahala, is an area called the Big Ivy. Driving state road 197

before it turns into gravel, turning off to pass weathered barns and white

churches, slowing down to approach the split rail fences and iconic log cabin

of Dillingham’s first residents--you might miss the sign for the Big Ivy

Community Center. But on this night there’s no chance of missing the turn.

The parking lot is overflowing and there’s a steady stream of 4x4‘s lighting up

the dark.


We arrive at the same time as the forest rangers, the reluctant stars of this

particular evening’s gathering. They are dressed in neat green uniforms with a

brass buckle emblem on their belt. “Caring for the Land and Serving its

People.” They look nervous and they should be. The people are not happy.

By 7:00 it’s standing room only. Some folks are holding green placards

--“Don’t Cut the Big Ivy!” But the hand-made signs are not held in the air or

pumped in protest. They hold them close to their chests, one arm cradling the

signs and the other draped around their kids. There are lots of kids. They are

not running around but watchful, like their parents. There are nervous smiles

and familiar nods. But no one can ignore the sheriff deputies in the back of

the room. Just in case things get unfriendly. Mostly, people look worried.

An old-timer shakes his head at the crowd. His hunting jacket smells of

woodsmoke and whiskey. “No one is from here,” he growls beneath his hat.

It’s a decree and an accusation but I get what he means. Most of the accents

aren’t local. You don’t get to claim that unless your great granddaddy was

buried here. And his daddy too.


But as the people start to speak--some softly sincere, some blatantly

accusing--there’s no doubt about the shared sentiment. No matter how deep

your family’s roots are planted here, no matter if you’re a farmer or a builder,

college boy or biologist or transplant from Ohio--you are here on a cold night

in February in a crowded room with no place to sit, because you care. The

calling is clear: The Big Ivy is special. The Big Ivy needs protecting. The

bureaucratic engines poised to clear- cut her forests and whittle away her

natural habitat must be stopped in their tracks. Now. Tonight.


A kid whistles to shut everyone up. In front, dressed in coat and tie, is the

County Commissioner. Other commissioners get a brief intro as someone

shouts to please speak up! Someone else yells that there’s people outside in

the cold who can’t get in. We’re at capacity now, with folks sitting in windows,

standing on ledges and crammed in every lip of space.


Three forest rangers stand and with a courageous nod, the District Ranger

starts to speak. His opening line is not what anyone expects.

“I just want to say that there is NO current plan to log anywhere in the Big



The people weigh in on this statement that is repeated over and over as the

night progresses. The rangers choose their words carefully. But it is the word

“current” that does not go unnoticed.

We had seen the “Draft Management Areas for Big Ivy” map with the bright

orange staining 700,000 acres “designated suitable for logging.” The rangers

explain that the management areas1A and 2A are part of the strategy for

“forest habitat diversity” and for “restoration and connectivity.” What they

don’t say is that all those red stains are proposed timber production sites for,

among other purposes, to “...regulate crops of trees to be cut into logs, bolts,

or other round sections for industrial or consumer use.”


The ranger continued: “What we want to hear from you tonight are your

ideas to guide the future project for the next 15 years....”

He is interrupted. “No Logging!” a woman calls. She gets immediate



Hands are raised and folks wait patiently to be recognized. Some read

prepared statements, some get their children to speak for them and almost all

tell personal stories of why the Big Ivy should be preserved. Whenever the

ranger’s answers lapse into “government speak” citing “timber sales

administrators” and “potential wilderness inventory areas”, the crowd brings

them back to the same simple mantra: We don’t want any logging. The

County Commissioner stands up to join the chorus.


The District Ranger concludes with an invitation to visit his office. He

says,“Come bang on my head” instead of his ‘door’, which gets a laugh. He

thanks us. Another ranger had one final comment. She uses the terms

“stewardship” and “shareholder input” as inherent and valuable to the

process. The people interrupt. Who are these shareholders? What committee

of politicians and Big Money gets to decide the fate of the Big Ivy?

The ranger tells them simply: The shareholders are You.



THANK YOU! Over 350 people attended tonight's meeting with the Forest Service. The room filled to capacity, and many stood outside in the cold waiting for a chance to get in. Everyone expressed powerful, heartfelt questions and comments, and we sent a very clear message to the Forest Service: Don't Cut Big Ivy. Thank you all immensely for your passion, patience, and perseverance.

Sign the petition to protect Big Ivy!

Big Ivy Forest needs your voice. The Forest Service needs to hear from you. Please take a few seconds to add your name to this petition asking the Forest Service to protect Big Ivy's old-growth forests, water, and recreational opportunities. A flood of letters from concerned forest advocates could change the future of this beloved mountain treasure. Click here to sign the petition.


It's confirmed: The Big Ivy Forest meeting with the U.S. Forest Service will be held Thursday, February 5, at 7 p.m. at the Big Ivy Community Center.

We hope to pack the room with folks who want to protect the forest. Already, over 800 supporters have joined our efforts to stop the proposed logging in Big Ivy.  

The Forest Service district ranger and his staff will provide a brief overview of the proposed forest plan followed by discussion and questions from the audience. This is an important opportunity for the Forest Service to hear directly from the people who care about this wild mountain treasure.

Everyone is invited. Please spread the word and bring as many folks as possible.

The Big Ivy Community Center is located at 540 Dillingham Road, which is about 25 minutes from Asheville. Arrive early: seating will be limited, and we expect a very large crowd.

What do those designations really mean?

The Forest Service recently released their proposed maps for managing Big Ivy for the next two decades. The maps contain confusing alpha-numerical designations for different parts of the forest.

The Forest Service proposes to designate most of Big Ivy as 1 or 2a. Friends of Big Ivy advocates changing those designations to 3, 4b, 5, and 6.

 What exactly does that mean? Here is a brief layman's explanation of those designations.

An area designated as 1 is managed mainly for commercial timber production. Roads are built to access the timber, and trees are cut and actively managed every few years. 

A 2a designation is managed very similar to 1, though the purpose of its designation is different. Trees are still cut and harvested on a regular basis, but its purpose is not just financial but also to benefit deer hunting, species habitat, or some other use.  

3 protects backcountry recreation and areas primarily shaped by natural processes. Older forest conditions, roadless areas, and large tracts of backcountry recreation are emphasized. Timber harvests are still possible, but the primary management focus is recreation. 

4b protects viewsheds and scenery. These are recreation corridors managed for scenic and natural qualities. Timber harvests are also technically still possible here, too, but the primary management focus is on scenery.

5 is a special interest area or research natural area managed to protect rare species or features like old-growth forests. 

And 6 is a recommended wilderness study area, which is open to all forms of recreation, including hiking, backpacking, camping, angling, horseback riding, and hunting. It excludes motor vehicles, logging, and other extractive uses. The Craggy Mountain Wilderness Study Area was designated decades ago and still awaits Congressional approval.

Based on the current and future biological and cultural values of Big Ivy, Friends of Big Ivy recommends that the 1 and 2a designations be replaced by 3, 4b, 5, and 6 designations.

Big Ivy contains more than 30 rare and endangered species and over 3,000 acres of old-growth forest, yet it is not currently designated as a special interest area. It is part of the viewshed of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mountains to Sea Trail, yet very little of the viewshed is protected by 4b designation. And Big Ivy's primary use is backcountry recreation, yet none of Big Ivy is currently assigned designation 3. 

These designations need to change in order to protect the scenery, water, wildlife, recreation, and old-growth forests of Big Ivy.




DON'T CUT BIG IVY is a grassroots campaign organized by local residents, businesses, farmers, families, and a coalition of outdoor enthusiasts. The U.S. Forest Service recently proposed opening most of the Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest to commercial logging. Please join us in encouraging the Forest Service to reconsider its timber designations and protect the wild old-growth forests of Big Ivy. 

We'll be hosting a meeting in early 2015 with U.S. Forest Service leaders. Check back soon for specifics.

In the meantime, contact the Forest Service NOW to comment on the proposed plan. Public comments are still being accepted, and they will play a critical role in the final management decisions for Big Ivy. Your comments do not need to be lengthy. A simple, brief comment will go a long way. Email