Today we purchased 146 acres in Bald Creek Valley in the Crabtree Community of Haywood County — a beautiful, forested cove with streams running through it, now conserved for future generations.
“This high-elevation, relatively untouched forest — once slated for development — will now be permanently protected,” said Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese. “I’m so excited to have worked on protecting this land in Bald Creek Valley, one of the most beautiful rural valleys in the area. It’s just stunning!”
Little Creek Headwaters was a high conservation priority because it is a large tract that expands the growing network of lands protected by SAHC in Haywood County, adjacent to Sandy Mush. Once marked for the second phase development of a gated community, the tract rises to 4,280 ft in elevation and contains a variety of microclimates. The headwaters of Little Creek, which flows into Bald Creek, originate on the property.
The land is entirely forested — predominantly Appalachian oak forest with small areas of cove forest and hemlock forest. Little to no evidence of invasive species has been observed — making it a “gem” in the area.
“This property is remarkably free from the slow creep of invasive species that has become more common throughout the region,” added Pugliese. “It is a new anchor of protected land that SAHC is actively working to expand in this area.”
There is a wide range of elevations on the property, one of the factors that contributes to resiliency for climate change. It ranks “above average” for climate change resiliency with the Open Space Institute’s Southern Blue Ridge Focus Area.
“I’m extremely proud of the completion of this project,” said Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “We are grateful to Brad and Shelli Stanback for making a donation to SAHC to acquire this significant swath of forested land for conservation.”
We plan to own and manage the property as a preserve for the long term, and explore potential future use for our outreach program.