Habitat Restoration Day on Little Hump Mountain

img_3157.jpgSAHC and a slew of volunteers spent a full day mowing, trimming, and cutting to create additional habitat for the rare and “near threatened” golden-winged warbler on Little Hump Mountain in the Highlands of Roan. The Golden-winged Warbler (GWW) is an early successional species that is dependent on a unique habitat consisting of sparse trees, shrubs, and abandoned fields. Unfortunately, the GWW’s habitat is rapidly disappearing, as old farmsteads and other early successional habitats are developing  back into forested land.

Under the leadership of SAHC’s seasonal ecologist, Chris Coxen, volunteers created additional habitat space for these incredible birds in the hopes to increase the number of nesting pairs next spring and summer on Little Hump Mountain. Read more

Conservancies Complete Protection of Little Yellow Mountain Summit

hawkmountainfarm.jpgJust a few years ago, much of Little Yellow Mountain in Mitchell and Avery counties was slated for development. Today the summit of that 5,504-foot peak is totally protected thanks to the efforts of The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. The two organizations recently closed on a 207-acre tract rising to the summit from the west side of the mountain, ensuring that the entire mountain top will remain free of development. Eventually, all of the property will become part of Yellow Mountain State Natural Area allowing future generations to enjoy this amazing place. Read more

Students Volunteer for the Community and Conservation: Bonner Scholars Conduct Workday at Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area

bonnerscholarshcc.jpgHampton Creek Cove State Natural Area (HCC), a 693-acre natural area protected since 1986 and co-managed by the State of Tennessee and SAHC, draws outdoor enthusiasts of all types to its beautiful, wild landscapes and streams that are important habitat for a variety of rare plant and animal species. The natural area is a special place of beauty for local residents and visitors, where they can find solace and relaxation hiking, birding, or enjoying the abundant wildflowers. HCC is home to one of the largest Golden-winged Warbler breeding grounds in the southern Appalachians and a self-sustaining brook trout population. Effective and active management is the key to preserving the ecological integrity of this area. This spring, the Bonner Scholars Program from Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA and Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, NC contributed to this effort for the second year in a row, organizing a team of thirty volunteer students for a full day of trail maintenance at HCC on Saturday, April 9th. Read more

Conservation Success in Avery County: 199 More Acres Protected in the Highlands of Roan!

view-from-avery-airfield.jpgSouthern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently added 199 more acres of protected land within the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area planning boundary through a land purchase.  Located along the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, the Highlands of Roan project has been SAHC’s top priority since its founding in 1974.  Since then, we have led an effort to protect nearly 19,000 acres in the landscape.  Other key partners working in the landscape include The Nature Conservancy, state parks agencies in North Carolina and Tennessee, the US Forest Service, and the National Park Service. Read more

For Love of Beer and Mountains: Hike to Little Hump Mountain

group-hike-up-little-hump_smallerWhen you hike to the top of Little Hump Mountain in the Highlands of Roan, you see a completely unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains from its high elevation grassy bald. The Ridge and Valley Province lies to your west in Tennessee and the renowned peaks of Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock, and Linville Gorge rise to the east in North Carolina. Depending on the season, you could have  bluets at your feet and flame azaleas in your line of vision as you look out across the mountains.  When you visit this special place, you understand why conservationists have made this area a priority for protection. Read more

Conservancies Join Together to Reach Conservation Goals on Little Yellow Mountain

Little Yellow MountainThe Nature Conservancy and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy ushered in the 35th anniversary of their conservation partnership with the joint purchase of the 104-acre Indian Saddle tract on Little Yellow Mountain in Avery County. The property was the result of a foreclosure proceeding after a projected development project failed and has been a long-time priority for both organizations.

“This tract bridges a gap between the mountain peak, which the Nature Conservancy bought last year, and Mollie’s Branch, which the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy protected earlier,” explains David Ray, NC Mountains Program Director for the Nature Conservancy. “Successful conservation is a matter of cooperation, not competition.” Together, the two conservancies have now protected 1,115 acres on Little Yellow Mountain that would otherwise have been developed. Read more

SAHC Purchases Another Key Tract in the Highlands of Roan

Protected PropertiesOn Friday, November 12th   we closed on the purchase of the 136-acre Views at Cranberry tract on Hump mountain in the Highlands of Roan. The property has been a longtime priority of SAHC because it presents an opportunity to preserve headwater streams of the Elk River watershed, which protects the public’s water sources, and to preserve the integrity of the Roan Mountain Massif as a landscape-scale ecological unit. The priority tract was actually marketed for sale as a development called “The Views at Cranberry” for over three years, which illustrates how close to development this environmentally significant property was. Read more