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Fall “For Love of Beer and Mountains” Partnership Hikes

img_1643.jpgOur new AmeriCorps PR and Outreach Associate, Anna Zanetti, launched into a full schedule of fall hikes when she came on board with us in September. Part of that slate of fall hikes included our “For Love of Beer & Mountains” Clawhammer and Thunderstruck partnership hikes — which luckily occurred on two lovely October weekends. The Thunderstruck hike also gave the group an opportunity to visit one of SAHC’s newly protected tracts  — Blackrock Mountain. Below is Anna’s take on the experience:

“SAHC partnership hikes with Highland Brewing are one of the highlights of my job. These popular group hikes feature protected peaks that are namesakes of Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal beers. The “For Love of Beer and Mountains” partnership, including our guided hikes, helps raise public awareness of the places and species that make our mountains so special. Read more

Lost Cove – Ghost Town in the National Forest

sunlight-lost-cove.jpgThere’s something alluring about a ghost town in the middle of the forest, where stone chimneys and building remnants hearken back to more vibrant days. You can almost imagine that the stones in fallen walls whisper stories about the families who once lived here.

In mid-December 2012, SAHC purchased a 95-acre portion of historic “Lost Cove” in the remote and rugged Nolichucky Gorge, an in-holding in the Pisgah National Forest. Nestled near the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the secluded Lost Cove is a ghost town with a colorful history of self-sufficient families, railroad crews, timber, and moonshine. Read more

Rockin’ at Rocky Fork with Mars Hill College

group-shot.jpgOn Sunday, Septemeber 9th, David Ramsey led Mars Hill College 17 faculty and students on a hike to the protected 10,000-acre ecological treasure, known as Rocky Fork. It was the perfect day for some learning, hiking, and fishing.

Ramsey has been leading hikes for politicians, concerned citizens, and anyone else interested in protecting Rocky Fork’s vulnerable land since the mid-nineties, so when Karen Paar, director of The Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill College, approached Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy about leading a hike with her department for this fall, SAHC suggested David Ramsey. Read more

SAHC Continues Preservation of Little Pisgah Mountain

little-pisgah-mountain.jpgConservation is a process – A step-at-a-time, often complicated process. Like a snowflake, each conservation project is truly unique. As we endeavor to fulfill our mission to secure the region’s most conservation-worthy tracts for future generations, we carefully navigate this complex process with landowners. Quilting together various pieces for a contiguous protected landscape requires patience and diligence, as recently demonstrated in the Little Pisgah Mountain region along the continental divide at the Buncombe/Henderson County line.

On Monday, July 23, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy accepted donation of a 15-acre conservation easement in Fairview, NC. The tract is part of an assemblage of protected properties that together preserve the summit and north face of Little Pisgah Mountain. These tracts join with neighboring conservation easements and other preserves to protect over 1,400 acres of land around Little Pisgah. Read more

Foraging for Mushrooms

charlotte-explaining.jpgIt was the perfect storm for finding mushrooms last weekend in gorgeous Yancey County. In recent days, thunderstorms had soaked the ground, paving the way for an explosion of boletes, chanterelles, little brown mushrooms, and many others.

On July 22nd, SAHC & guests were led on an intriguing excursion by Asheville myco-hunter and expert, Charlotte Caplan. Everyone learned some tricks of the trade when identifying these mysterious fungi. The common question was, “How do you know if a mushroom is edible or not?” Read more

Volunteer crew transforms exotic invasives into hand-wrought works of art

p5050015.jpgOn May 5, 2012, SAHC stewardship staff teamed up with a dedicated group of volunteers to remove exotic-invasive species from a beautiful mountain farmstead. The crew worked for a majority of the day cutting humongous invasive oriental bittersweet vines on SAHC’s newly-acquired Robinson Rough
property.

Robinson Rough is a 248-acre property near the Sandy Mush Township in northwestern Buncombe County, NC. 216 of these acres consist of steep, craggy forestland that continues all the way up to a high-elevation ridge that is visible from downtown Asheville. The lower 32 acres contain a series of rustic cabins and scenic open pastures. SAHC was able to purchase the Robinson Rough property in late-2011 with the help of an eager seller. 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

50,000 Acres — For You, Forever!

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We had a phenomenal time at our member event last week at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC! On Thursday May 17, we celebrated our 50,000 acre milestone with members, volunteers, sponsors, and guests.

The energetic April Fools Old Time Band (out of Moore County, NC) took the stage at 6:00 p.m., as the Tasting Room began to fill with celebrants.  Nona Mia Ritrovo provided an exceptional spread for dinner, and exciting raffle items filled the foyer of Highland Brewing Company’s Tasting Room.

During the evening program, Executive Director Carl Silverstein presented a brief recap of the 2011 projects which pushed us over the 50,000 acres protected milestone. He also addressed the question “What does it take to protect 50,000 acres?” The answer — Determined volunteers, members, staff, trustees, conservation partners, and supporters! Read more

Jammin’ at the Gott Farm

2012-spring-031.jpgLast Thursday, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy staff members enjoyed another sensational day at Peter and Polly Gott’s idyllic farm. Tucked away deep in Madison County, the 218-acre Gott Farm is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest on two sides, there are abundant springs, wet coves full of wild edibles, viable soil for farming, and breathtaking views. Their farm is truly an ecological gem.

Our visit started out with a tour of the Gott’s log cabin, which Peter meticulously made using hand tools and historic methods. The precision and perfection of Peter’s craftsmanship was exhibited in every other building on their property as well. Peter’s tools were impeccably organized and the woodsheds were stacked so systematically, you would think the logs were books in a library. After a tour of Polly’s old art studio (which Peter also made) and their sauna by the river, the staff headed to the top of their property to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking White Rocks and iconic Camp Creek Bald. Read more

SAHC protects additional land adjoining the Sandy Mush Game Lands

norco-map-for-blog1.jpgLand adjacent to the Sandy Mush Game Lands in northern Buncombe County has been donated to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. The newly donated 88-acre tract of land will connect the Sandy Mush Game Lands on two different sides.

This property bridges the gap between major portions of state-owned game lands, which are managed by the NC Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC).

“SAHC has played a role as a major partner in the protection of the Sandy Mush Game Lands,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC’s Executive Director. “This property will protect a corridor for wildlife in the largest contiguous network of protected lands in this portion of northern Buncombe County. We are so pleased we were able to continue our work in preserving this area.” Read more