We purchased 21 wooded acres in the Highlands of Roan just south of the TN border in Mitchell County, securing a gateway to connect our existing Big Rock Creek conservation properties with Pisgah National Forest.
“This is another Roan success story that protects habitat for birds and native trout – with the added benefit of providing access and educational opportunities for connecting people with land,” says Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett.
The tract contains headwater streams that flow into Big Rock Creek, designated as Trout Waters by the NC Division of Environmental Quality. Located less than a mile from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), it adjoins our Big Rock Creek Preserve and shares over 1,700 feet of boundary with Pisgah National Forest. Our acquisition of the property will help protect a buffer for the AT and could eventually provide access to the Trail from our Big Rock Creek Preserve via Pisgah National Forest.
Elevations on the property rise up to 3,720 feet, providing important habitat for higher elevation species.
“The tract contains mature forest that provides excellent bird habitat for neotropical migratory warblers,” added Crockett. “Some migratory songbirds prefer early successional habitat, but many species need mature, old forest like this — including Hermit thrush, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Ovenbird.”
We plan to create a short nature trail on the property next spring, and will be hosting a volunteer work day in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association. Look for details in future announcements.
Big Rock Creek Preserve
SAHC purchased the first Big Rock Creek tract in 2014, and was donated an adjoining parcel in 2016. The site of former TrailRidge Mountain Camp and later Camp Pleiades, our Big Rock Creek Preserve has a long history of providing opportunities for people to connect with the stunning Highlands of Roan.