Grassy Ridge – Success 40 years in the making!

grassyridge.jpgAt the end of 2012, we succeeded in purchasing an incredible property that had topped our conservation priority ‘wish list’ for the past four decades — the 601-acre Grassy Ridge tract, crown jewel of the Roan Highlands. Thanks to tenacious landowner outreach, good timing, extraordinary support from private philanthropists, and critical conservation partnerships, we were able to ring in the New Year with a triumph truly worth celebrating. The Grassy Ridge tract forms a breathtaking corridor that connects public lands along one of the highest elevation ridges in the Southern Appalachians.

“Since SAHC’s beginning, the protection of the Grassy Ridge Tract has been a top priority.  There is still much more to be done, but we can all rejoice that this important tract is now protected forever,” said Carol Coffey, former president of the Board of Trustees. “The purchase of the Grassy Ridge tract is a milestone in SAHC’s efforts to protect the Southern Appalachian Highlands.” Read more

Justice Creek – Protecting 260 Acres Visible from the Appalachian Trail

justicecreek_labelledpic.jpgWe recently purchased 260 acres visible from the Appalachian Trail and from the overlook at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain.  Located in the middle of the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, the parcel adjoins the 225-acre Spear Top Mountain property that we acquired in December 2011. Together, these adjoining conservation projects protect the summit and three sides of the mountain!

“This area is so special and precious, with beautiful waterfalls and many rare plants and mushrooms. It just needs to stay natural,” said landowner Laura Mitchell, who sold the property to SAHC in early December. “I wanted to make sure it will always be protected, and working with SAHC, I knew it would be.” Read more

Southern Gateway to Yellow Mountain State Natural Area Protected

whichard-pic_net.jpgIn mid-November, SAHC purchased 89 acres at the southern end of the designated Yellow Mountain State Natural Area in Avery County, NC. This new land protection project in the stunning Highlands of Roan adjoins and nearly adjoins other, larger tracts of the Yellow Mountain State Natural area that we had previously protected.

“Gaining a gateway to the other lands we have protected at Burleson Bald has been a priority for SAHC.” said Jay Leutze, former SAHC trustee, conservation consultant and author of Stand Up That Mountain.  “We are thrilled to add this tract to the other lands we have protected.” Read more

Partners Continue Service Project Successes

2012-go-round-bald_-28_blog.jpgThis fall, SAHC continued two great volunteer management partnerships on the Roan. Asheville Green Opportunities and AmeriCorps Project conserve came out for two separate management days, restoring grassy bald habitat on the western slope of Round Bald. It is always rewarding to bring young volunteers to a beautiful place they have not been before, especially when their work can build a sense of connection to the land. It affords us the chance to look at the Roan and its vistas with new eyes and underlines the importance of SAHC’s protection efforts. Read more

June Jamboree 2012 – Spectacular Summer on the Roan

1-grays40.jpgWe couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to appreciate the Highlands of Roan than the one that graced this year’s June Jamboree! On Saturday, June 23rd, hikers on each of six adventures enjoyed gorgeous skies – from a long, sunny trek on Grassy Ridge to a splashing good time in cold creek waters. Here’s a brief look at what you may remember – or may have missed. This year, we wanted to let our hikers and hike leaders  tell the story of the June Jamboree in their own words… Enjoy their adventures, and we hope you’ll join us next year! Read more

Grassy Ridge Mow-off — Success!

img_3090.jpgA message from Roan Stewardship Director Judy Murray:

“I am happy to report that Grassy Mow-off 2012 was a rousing success!  What the 23 volunteers and our Field Ecologist Chris Coxen were able to accomplish far exceeded my expectations!  They re-treated three large areas, and were able to track their progress over time. 

A true labor of love for this treasured resource, and one that continues to go down in the record books and the grassy balds database. Read more

NC Outward Bound and SAHC team up for conservation management & community service

img_3792.jpgIn fair weather and foul, these young volunteers energetically persevered – sparking a great new partnership that pairs conservation management, education, and community service.

On June 26th and July 11th 2012, the SAHC Stewardship Team partnered with North Carolina Outward Bound volunteers to begin constructing a trail on a protected property in the Highlands of Roan. When completed, the trail will be a little over a mile long, and could be incorporated into SAHC’s outings program to help educate others about our conservation work. Read more

SAHC and Highland Brewing Company partner for Habitat Restoration

5-work-crew-group-shotOn Saturday, June 2nd, eight Highland Brewing Company volunteers, two SAHC volunteers, and seven SAHC staff performed clean up work on Little Hump Mountain in the stunning Highlands of Roan. Our crew was lucky — the day started out overcast, but breezes swept away the clouds to reveal a panoramic backdrop, so we could enjoy gorgeous views during the work day. We focused on habitat management in this early-successional wildlife restoration project area, where SAHC had paid contractors in summer 2011 to create wildlife openings. Our team partners moved downed woody debris into piles to facilitate future management and provide cover for small mammals and other wildlife. Read more

Little Hump Partnership Hike

group-shot.jpgSunday, May 20th, was a beautiful day for a hike in the Highlands of Roan. Thirty six ambitious hikers joined SAHC and Highland Brewing Company for a full day of hiking.

We started our journey along Roaring Creek down in the valley below Little Hump by hoping onto the Overmountain Victory Trail. This was a good warm-up for everyone as we gradually ascended to connect with  the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail traverses 17 miles in the Highlands of Roan and provides some of the most spectacular views in the Southern Appalachians. The grade of the trail became immensely more difficult as the group set their sights on summiting Little Hump Mountain. A little ways up, hikers took a break to look back down into the valley and admire the iconic Overmountain Shelter. Read more

Crucial Property Protected Adjacent to Yellow Mountain in the Highlands of Roan

justice-creek-falls-wl-july-2013-_5475The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we acquired the title to a critically significant property in the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area in the Highlands of Roan. This 225 acre tract will be protected forever.

As Board Member, Jay Leutze put it, “Spear Tops has it all.” From endangered and threatened species such as Rock Gnome Lichen and Trailing Wolfsbane, to a stunning waterfall, this property is one of SAHC’s most spectacular pieces of land. At 4,900 at the summit, Spear Tops offers remarkable views of the Highlands of Roan and is a crucial addition to North Carolina’s conservation landscape. Read more