On December 28, 2011, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy saved another special piece of land from development in the Sandy Mush community of Buncombe County, North Carolina. The 248-acre property holds pristine streams, steep slopes, and is adjacent to working farmlands. Due to a slow economy and eager seller, SAHC was able to acquire this valuable property at a great value.
“The property could have been sold to a developer in a heartbeat, but we acted quickly and protected another striking piece of land,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC’s Executive Director. Located at the end of a state road with excellent access, southern exposure and creeks, the property was just waiting for a developer to buy it, according to William Hamilton, SAHC’s Farmland Program Director.
“It would have been a shame for a large development to go in right next to properties that SAHC, Buncombe County, and landowners in the area have worked so hard to preserve,” said Hamilton.
“The property was a developer’s dream. Robinson Rough has beautiful creeks, sun exposure, views into the Sandy Mush valley, and includes an 1885 farm house and hand-hewn cabins. It was a great success for SAHC to acquire such an impressive property,” Hamilton continued. We purchased the property in order to safeguard the mountain from development. The deal is a major addition to the protected landscape in Buncombe County, and a good deal for conservation.
“We have adjoining property under conservation easement, and we’re really happy that the property is going to stay as it is and not be developed,” said Bill Duckett, neighboring farmer and cattleman. The parcel bookends a ridge in the Newfound Mountains that SAHC has been working to protect since the 1990s. The purchase will also protect the headwaters of a major tributary of Sandy Mush Creek.
Hamilton adds, “We did what we’re good at – we acted quickly to protect a piece of property with exceptional conservation values and ensured that the land would remain a positive resource for the Sandy Mush community.”