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.

sahc-beck-ncob-work-day-3.jpgThe high-school-age volunteers completed the workdays as service components to 21-day courses that had them traveling and adventuring throughout Western North Carolina.

During both workdays, SAHC was immensely impressed by the hard-working, good attitude of NCOB volunteers.  The July 11 workday was one of the rainiest days that our crew has spent outdoors, but it was made enjoyable by the good humor and determination that ran throughout the group.

This tract lies in the higher reaches of the Roaring Creek Valley between Grassy Ridge and Big Yellow Mountain.  SAHC successfully acquired the 113-acre tract in 2008 and has since maintained the property as open pasture and forestland.  Cascading waterfalls and deep pools of clear, clean water abound on the two streams (Roaring Creek and Elk Hollow Branch) that run along the property’s southern and eastern boundaries.  These water resources, coupled with striking views of the Roaring Creek Valley, make the property truly remarkable.

img_3733.jpgWith the valuable input of our volunteers, we created a trail that weaves through a variety of natural environments including open pasture, locust groves, and beech forest.  A highlight of the new trail is a switchback system that accesses the flowing waters of Elk Hollow Branch.  This switchback system will concentrate human visitation to a single area of the creek and will prevent deterioration of water quality by channeling sediment away from designated trout waters.

SAHC would like to send a very sincere thank-you to NC Outward Bound for their energy and for their ongoing work in WNC.  We look forward to continuing our work together in the future!

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