I've hiked the Bald River Gorge which is, I think, a currently protected section of the river. A much smaller wilderness sandwiched between two roads. The terrain is impressive and the trail was in good repair. But I've never been to the upper section described in that article.
I did a post here:
http://www.summitpost.org/canyon/236579 ... Gorge.html
The bad thing about that section of Tennessee/NC is that they built that horrid Cherohala Skyway through what would otherwise have been probably the largest single chunk of roadless area in the mountains. Now it's cut in half by a damned highway used mainly by bikers who tear up and down the road. It should be closed and destroyed and replanted in native flora to wipe out its existence.