"Mount Mitchell rises above the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway to an elevation of 6,684 feet. Mount Mitchell State Park encompasses 1,469 acres of predominantly red spruce and Fraser fir forest. The modern-day flora and fauna are quite different from those of the past. Extensive logging and fires destroyed much of the original forest, but the forested slopes still hold a unique selection of plants and animals more typical of Canada. The forests near the peak do not look healthy. The slopes are carpeted with the skeletons of dead firs.
The dieback of the spruce fir system may be a result of a combination of air pollution and a balsam woolly adelgid infestation. The adelgid, a nonnative insect, attacks and kills fir trees, with mature trees most affected. Habitats: Spruce fir forest in higher reaches of the park. Northern hardwood forests dominate at elevations below 4,500 feet. Key birds: Summer: Northern Saw-whet Owl; Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Alder and Willow Flycatcher; Brown Creeper; Winter Wren; Veery; Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Blackthroated Green, Blackburnian, and Canada Warbler; Red Crossbill; Pine Siskin. Year-round: Common Raven; Red-breasted Nuthatch."