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

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