Reems Creek Bowl

The summits of the Craggy and Black Mountains cap the horizon of Reems Creek Valley just outside Weaverville, NC. It is a stunning backdrop that epitomizes what we love about the southern Appalachians. An important side ridge off the crest of the Craggies was recently for sale and could have been purchased for development, which would have detracted from Pisgah National Forest and conserved land just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately, this beautiful 229-acre tract is now an SAHC-owned nature preserve. Wildlife will continue to roam the mountainside, and headwater streams of Reems Creek will flow pristine while people enjoy the beautiful forested views for many years to come. Read more

Landowner Perspective: Elk Fork


Landowner Perspective: Russ and Stacy Oates on Protecting Elk Fork

“Stacy and I came from families that love the outdoors and feel deep connection with wild things and wild places. Growing up on opposite coasts (Stacy in the Napa Valley of California and me in eastern North Carolina), we were both fortunate to have many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the wonders of Nature. We were married in 1984 and, 4 months later, moved to Alaska where I worked as a Wildlife Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Our two daughters were born in Fairbanks in 1986 and 1988, and we settled into family life.   In 1995, we decided it was time to get some financial advice to ensure that we could afford to send the girls to college and have a chance of being able to retire. The first thing our new financial advisor said to us was “What are your dreams?” Stacy and I shared an interest in wild lands conservation, so we told the advisor about our dream to protect some woodland. His immediate response was “Buy it now or you never will.” Read more

Brushy Knob in the Seven Sisters

In 2018, SAHC purchased 123 acres near Black Mountain, NC, permanently protecting the crest of one of the “Seven Sisters.” Brushy Knob is also known as “Big Piney.” It is the third Sister in the chain of summits straddling the Asheville watershed and Montreat, counting from the southwest to the northeast.

Our purchase of this tract will protect the western flank of Brushy Knob from ever being developed as real estate. Its eastern slopes are already protected by a conservation easement that we have held since 2004 on the 2,450-acre Montreat wilderness.

Brushy Knob is one of a tight cluster of peaks south of Greybeard Mountain that are officially named the Middle Mountains on USGS maps, but which are more commonly known as the Seven Sisters. These mountains form a prominent beloved part of the view from the Town of Black Mountain, the Craggy Mountains, and Swannanoa area east of Asheville. Read more

Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo

Bookwalter Binge Raffle Winners!

If you were not able to pick up your prize on Sunday, you can pick it up weekdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm at our office, located at 372 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28801.

Here is the list of unclaimed raffle prizes and the winning ticket numbers:

3. Weekend Rental House in Asheville- #741820 – Please email to claim your prize!

7. Colavita Classic Collection with Extra Virgin Olive Oil- #741465

9. Skull Candy Crusher Wireless Headphones- #741459

15. Runner Box, Lululemon Gift Card, and Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe Gift Card- #741521

16. Eno DoubleNest and Atlas Suspension System- #741553

17. DNAFit Startline- #741553

19. DNAFit Fitness Diet Pro-# 741783

20. Velocio Clothing Gift Card- #741801 – Please email to claim your prize!

33. Oakley Moonlight Sunglasses- #741501




Enjoy an unusual opportunity to ride alongside female and male pro cyclists as they celebrate the end of their racing season. Three routes of varying length traverse some of the most beautiful roads in the Blue Ridge. Jamie & Brent Bookwalter are passionate about protecting the environment, and we are grateful that the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo raises funds to support our land conservation work! 

About the Ride:

The Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo was founded by Brent and Jamie Bookwalter. Brent is a professional cyclist and a nine season member of the BMC Racing Team. The Michigan native is a 9-time Collegiate National Champion and past U23 National Champion. In 2016, he placed third overall in the Tour of California and finished his fourth Tour de France. He represented the USA in both the time trial and the road race in the Rio Olympics.  Brent and his wife Jamie reside in Asheville, NC, when stateside and Girona, Spain, during much of the race season. Jamie is also an artist, capturing wildlife and natural scenery in oil and acrylic.

“Protecting the environment is one of my guiding principles and a core value that runs deep in my family and my work,” she says.

The Bookwalter Binge is a party on two wheels studded with races on timed sections. The ride offers three routes of varying length in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Black Mountain, NC:

  • Gran – 7,400 ft of climbing in 83 miles
  • Medio – 5,500 ft in 62 miles
  • Piccolo – 2,500 ft in 29 miles

Want to be involved but not ready to ride? Join us as a volunteer! All volunteers received a Binge T-shirt and a meal at the Binge Party.

Find out more, register to ride or sign up to volunteer at

Photo credit: Tom & Lubov Byrum of

Black Mountains Focus Area & Southern Sixer Challenge Hike

Location: Black Mountains

Date: Saturday, July 22

Start Time: 9 AM, details provided upon registration

Difficulty: Very Strenuous (10+)

Join us for a challenging but scenic 9-to-10-mile hike along the Black Mountain Crest Trail, where we will traverse the ridge of the Black Mountains and hike across or near to eight 6,000-ft peaks. We will hike as far as Deep Gap, with a possible extension to Winter Star Mountain. Deep Gap is a small but significant piece of land that SAHC helped protect, housing the only water source on the ridge along the Crest Trail.

Due to the extremely technical terrain, dogs will not be allowed on this hike. Please expect a long day of hiking with alternating climbs and descents over very rocky terrain. There are two sections of trail that have rope to assist with climbing and descending. However, while the terrain is very challenging, the views are spectacular, especially on a clear day, and the surrounding spruce-fir forest along the ridge is stunning and offers excellent bird habitat.

This hike is one of several guided hikes offered as a part of our 2017 Southern Sixer Challenge. This will also serve as our Black Mountains Focus Area Feature hike, highlighting SAHC’s land protection work in and around the Black Mountains. We hope you’ll join us for this high-elevation summer challenge hike!

2017 Black Mountain Crest Trail Challenge Hike:

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Laurel Ridge II

We purchased 60 acres adjoining the Asheville Watershed and SAHC’s 492-acre Laurel Ridge Preserve. The acquisition protects a headwater tributary of Laurel Branch, which flows into the Swannanoa River. This property is an important addition to the large network of over 125,000 acres of public and private protected land in the Black and Craggy Mountains.

“This tract is a portion of a larger property that was a boys’ summer camp for several years,” explains Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese. “It bridges two previously unconnected units of SAHC’s 492-acre Laurel Ridge Preserve and joins the Asheville Watershed. By connecting both sides of our Laurel Ridge Preserve, it creates a critical conservation corridor.” Read more

Headwaters Exploration

SAHC-23_Group High Quality2_brightenedTucked away in the hills of Black Mountain, NC, lies the headwaters of the Catawba River and the popular hiking destination, Catawba Falls. During the last week of May, we had the pleasure of leading a group of hikers to the upper portion of Catawba Falls, a rarely visited section of this favorite waterfall spot. Most hikers access Catawba Falls from the bottom and rarely see the upper portion of the falls, but we were able to gain access to this unique route by beginning the hike on a tract on which SAHC holds a conservation easement. This particular property in Black Mountain is a real favorite, for its incredible plant diversity, high water quality and most notably the headwaters of the Catawba River. Read more

Clear Skies for ‘Shroom Hunters!

group-getting-instructions-best.jpgIn the Southeast, we’ve been breaking all kinds of records for abundant rainfall through the summer – which you’d think would be great for growing mushrooms, right? Fun fact: There is such a thing as too much rain for ‘shrooms! Luckily, however, we were still able to collect a bountiful and varied assortment for our mushroom identification hike on August 14. And, we were fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful sunny sky and clear views of the Black Mountains as a bonus.

Led by amateur mycologist Charlotte Caplan – who has spent the past 35 years learning about mushrooms – our group started out in a high mountain meadow with Mt. Mitchell and the stunning Black Mountains clearly visible in the background. Read more


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