Near the head of Dutch Cove in Haywood County, only a few miles south of the heavy traffic on I-40, but seemingly a world away, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently purchased a secluded cove with sweeping mountain views, forested slopes, and historic log structures in a pastoral setting. We are grateful for the many generous supporters who enabled the preservation of the natural and cultural resources of this special place! Read more
The future Pisgah View State Park in western North Carolina is beginning to take shape. The centerpiece of the unit will be created from land owned by the Cogburn family since the late 1700s. The family opened Pisgah View Ranch in 1941, and it became a beloved spot for generations of guests to gather for events and outdoor recreation. In 2019, the Cogburn family decided to sell the land to the state of NC for creation of a new state park – the first in Buncombe County. Thanks to an allocation in the NC state budget passed this year, the planned acquisition of land for the park could be completed within two years.
The Process of Creating a State Park
NC state parks are funded mostly through the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Land and Water Fund, private donations, and, on the rare occasion, special appropriations. Timing for completing acquisitions for the future park depends in part on the total amount designated for PARTF in the state budget each biennium.
“Each year, the division of parks and recreation will request Parks and Recreation Trust Fund monies to purchase the initial lands for the park,” said Katie Hall, public information officer for the division. “How quickly we purchase the lands for the park will depend on balancing priorities across the park system and annual funding to PARTF from the General Assembly.”
“Since the 2008 recession the state’s trust funds have been woefully underfunded,” according to SAHC board advisor Jay Leutze. “Initially the timeline for acquiring over 1500 acres for the future Pisgah View State Park was up to five years. However, with the passage of the NC state budget in November it looks like that acquisition will be completed sooner rather than later.” The budget included a specific appropriation of funds for acquisition of land for the future Pisgah View State Park. The budget also included significant increases for the state’s three trust funds for land and water conservation, parks and recreation, and farmland preservation. Read more
Working with trusted conservation partners, we recently protected 109 acres at Tanasee Ridge, adjoining Nantahala National Forest. The property could potentially provide an alternate gateway to popular outdoor recreation areas in Panthertown Valley. Thank you for helping to make this project possible!
“This tract has long been a priority for conservation,” says Conservation Director Hanni Muerdter. “Permanent protection of the Tanasee Ridge property will enhance the public experience of using the forest.” Read more
Unique habitat and clean water conservation project paired with exciting potential for outdoor recreation! We have purchased 448 acres at Chestnut Mountain near the Town of Canton, permanently protecting sources of clean water and forested habitat in an important wildlife corridor. SAHC plans to give the conserved property to the Town of Canton, after we finish raising funds that are needed to re-pay a bridge loan we took out to buy the property. This will create the possibility for easily accessible outdoor recreation just off US Hwy 19/23 and Interstate 40.
“This property is dynamic, with a mosaic of habitat types – which is really good for wildlife – and different settings for people to enjoy various types of experiences on the land,” says Conservation Director Hanni Muerdter. “The property starts at 2,360 feet elevation at Hwy 19/23 and then rises to 3,400 feet at the peak of Chestnut Mountain. At the higher elevations, forested ridgelines and coves situated in an important wildlife corridor provide exceptional habitat for plants and animals. It contains pockets of gentle mature hardwood forest with laurel and rhododendron, forested slopes facing a variety of directions, and an open field and early successional edge area beneficial for birds. The amount of wildlife activity on the tract is truly impressive!” Read more
“You can do this, Izzy, it’s only October,” I tried to convince myself as I braced for the angry, bitter, frigid wind outside in the parking lot. I was at the carpool rendezvous point at 8:30 am, 15 minutes before the group would arrive, and I needed to get breakfast. I opened the latch – come what may.
Steaming, painfully hot coffee in one hand, toasty vegan breakfast burrito in the other I was able to wait outside for the rest of my participants to arrive. I should have packed a thicker sweater. In total, eight of us met for the carpool – the rest would join us at the trailhead at Waterrock Knob.
I had the privilege of riding with my good friend Nico and two new friends Art and Wes. Adrienne Lenker’s new LP abysskiss played on my stereo as we ascended the Blue Ridge Parkway. Time slid effortlessly by as we discussed the finer points of stealth camping. Read more
“Steel rails chasin’ sunshine round the bend. Winding through the trees like a ribbon in the wind.”
Having filled up the trunk with Clawhammer Oktoberfest Marzen Lager from Highland Brewing Company, we were finally approaching the trail head. Today we would ascend approximately 1,500 feet over a distance of 10.5 miles to the summit of Clawhammer Mountain in Pisgah National Forest.
As part of our “For Love of Beer and Mountains” partnership, Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal brews are named after natural elements of the Southern Appalachian landscape.
On December 19, we assisted the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) with the purchase of 82 acres at Sorrells Meadow, to be added to the Cold Mountain Game Lands in Haywood County. With a remarkable mix of high elevation open meadow, forest communities, and pristine water sources, the property provides excellent wildlife habitat as well as opportunities for public recreation. It adjoins existing Cold Mountain Game Lands to the north and the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah National Forest at its southern tip, within a quarter mile of the Art Loeb National Recreational Trail.
“Sorrells Meadow will be a crown jewel for the Cold Mountain Game Lands,” said Farmland Program Director William Hamilton. “The open meadow atop this 82-acre addition to the public game lands is one-of-a-kind in this area. If it had been developed, you would have been looking down on houses or condos from popular public trails. Now, that won’t happen.” Read more
On Saturday, November 12th, we hosted a hike on our lovely 600-acre Webb Conservation Easement near Panthertown Valley in Jackson County. This beautiful property is bounded on the north side by Cedar Creek, a high quality tributary flowing into Webb Lake, which provides habitat for native brook trout. All water on the property eventually drains into the West Fork of the Tuckaseegee River, and on into the Little Tennessee River.
On the day of the hike, we were met at the property by members of the Webb family who own the property – Billy, Jimmy, and Jean Webb, as well as Julia Gaskin. The family introduced themselves briefly, and Billy, Jimmy, and Julia accompanied us on the hike. Read more
On Friday, June 17, we purchased a 162-acre tract of land on the northwestern slope of Cold Mountain, in the Dix Creek watershed. The Haywood County tract contains an exceptional variety of forest communities and potential habitat for rare species.
“Lying on the northwestern slopes of the iconic Cold Mountain, this property adds to a network of public lands that includes Pisgah National Forest, Shining Rock Wilderness and the Cold Mountain Game Lands, as well as being in close proximity to Lake Logan,” said Michelle Pugliese, SAHC Land Protection Director. “It is a region that exemplifies both the beauty and ecological significance of our mountain lands. SAHC is proud to be a part of expanding the area’s protected landscape.” Read more
The mission of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is to conserve the unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty, and places for all people to enjoy outdoor recreation in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, enduring for future generations. We achieve this through long-term conservation relationships with private landowners and public agencies and owning and managing land. We are committed to creating and supporting equitable, healthy and thriving communities for everyone in our region.
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372 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801