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Roan Stewardship 2021

Volunteer Days, Bird Surveys, and Public Education

Spring and summer atop the Highlands of Roan stayed busy with active habitat management work days, biological surveys, and more. We’re grateful to all the volunteers who helped with stewardship and outing projects this year, and to all the supporters and partners who make it possible to preserve and restore rare and important ecosystems.

“We’re so glad to have been able to come back together as a group with the return of the annual Grassy Ridge Mow-off,” said Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett. “I think everyone really enjoyed the camaraderie of working together again! We’re very grateful to all the volunteers who came out. Plus, we enjoyed a pleasant surprise — everything bloomed a couple weeks later this year than usual, so we were able to see numerous Gray’s lily blooming in areas that were mowed by volunteers in previous years.. It was also the first time I’ve been on a mow-off without the rain!”

SAHC Board member Larry Pender joined in volunteering at the Mow-off again this year, reflecting on his time as “Celebrating the great outdoors with a heart healthy hike across the Roan and a momentous, meaningful mow atop the Grassy Ridge of the Roan!”

The National Forest Foundation awarded a $15,000 grant to support our grassy balds management work The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) awarded two license plate grants to SAHC, totaling $10,000 to support feral hog trapping in the Roan. SAHC staff continue to implement a previous ATC grant of $4,700 which will support the  installation of educational “peakfinder” signage on Round Bald. Read more

Smith Family Volunteers

smith family youth volunteersDavid and Melissa Smith and their children Otto, Clyde, and Asa spent a weekend managing grassy balds habitat at Grassy Ridge and camping under the stars together. It’s become something of a family tradition. Otto has been helping with the Grassy Balds Mow-Off since he was 5 years old and understands the importance of habitat management; now in high school, he asks about it every year before it’s even on the calendar. Read more

Roaring Creek Valley

Roaring Creek conservation mapTwo new acquisitions in Roaring Creek join our network of protected land in the Highlands of Roan. These two tracts adjoin other SAHC preserves on the slopes of Big Yellow Mountain, together protecting hundreds of acres of northern hardwood and high elevation red oak forests, rising up to the boundary of the Big Yellow Mountain Preserve, co-managed by SAHC with our partners at The Nature Conservancy.

Most of these properties are within the Big Yellow Mountain Natural Area and are part of the Audubon Society’s Roan Mountain Important Bird Area. They contain thousands of linear feet of tributary streams and headwater seeps, feeding into Roaring Creek. The North Toe River and Roaring Creek have been identified as critical to protecting water quality in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and the watershed supports a host of rare species, including the Federally Endangered Appalachian Elktoe mussel. Read more

Byrd Farm – Mitchell County

Charolais cattle on Byrd farmByrd Charolais Farm – Mitchell County (Highlands of Roan Area)

The Highlands of Roan are known for rare and fragile ecological communities as well as magnificent, panoramic views studded with scenic mountain farms. At the end of 2019, SAHC permanently protected 127 acres of beautiful family farmland in Mitchell County, preserving bucolic views along NC Hwy 226. The Byrd Charolais* Farm is an agricultural gem, with water conservation practices in place and a long heritage of mountain farming. One of just a few farm preservation projects SAHC has completed in the Highlands of Roan, the property is now permanently protected for future generations.

* Charolais are a breed of cattle which originated in France in the historic Charolais region. Read more

Yellow Mountain Connector

Aerial photo of Yellow Mountain Connector by Dennis Oakley and Southwings

Aerial photo of Yellow Mountain Connector, photo credit Dennis Oakley and Southwings

In 2019,  Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) completed the purchase of an assemblage of properties in the Cane Creek Mountains totaling 456 acres, to permanently protect an important ridgeline corridor through the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area. SAHC’s acquisition of the land protects habitat for rare plants and animals, clean water sources and scenic mountain views from public lands.

“Together we protected a critical 456-acre chain that links previously unconnected sections of the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area,” says Michelle Pugliese, SAHC’s land protection director. “This one project made historic, landscape-scale strides in achieving the vision of the state natural area: to protect a long distance scenic and wildlife corridor from the Appalachian Trail south along the Cane Creek Mountains. It is one of the most impactful land acquisitions in the region.” Read more

Haw Orchard Ridge – 51 Acres Protected

SAHC Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese on Haw Orchard Ridge

SAHC Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese on Haw Orchard Ridge

In November 2019, SAHC purchased 51 acres on a prominent ridge near the Appalachian Trail in the Highlands of Roan. The Haw Orchard Ridge property adjoins Pisgah National Forest, rising to over 5,400 ft. just south of Roan High Knob. It is visible from the Appalachian Trail at Round Bald and Grassy Ridge Bald.

“Haw Orchard Ridge protects a portion of the well known red spruce-Fraser fir stand which stretches from Roan High Knob to Carvers Gap,” says Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett. “This spruce-fir stand is used by numerous rare high elevation species including Red crossbill, Northern Saw-whet Owl, and Pygmy Salamander. It is also inhabited by federally endangered species including the Carolina Flying Squirrel and the Spruce-Fir Moss Spider.  We hope that our protection of this property and restoration work will help to create a safe haven for these climate sensitive species.”

Haw Orchard Ridge and Roan Highlands mapSAHC will manage the land as a nature preserve, restoring conifer habitat for birds with a recently awarded grant from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative.

“Protecting Haw Orchard Ridge has been a priority of SAHC’s for decades,” says Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese. “Securing the rare high elevation habitat found on this property, bordering Pisgah National Forest and just down the mountain from the Appalachian Trail, is a great conservation achievement. We are so grateful to all of our supporters, philanthropic leaders Fred and Alice Stanback, and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina for providing funding to make this acquisition possible.”

Scenic view photo above taken from Jane Bald on the Appalachian Trail, by Travis Bordley. Haw Orchard Ridge sits just below Roan High Knob, sandwiched between Round Bald (foreground) and Roan High Bluff (background). 

Virtual Tour of Haw Orchard Ridge

SAHC and our partners at the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative are working to restore spruce-fir forests on this preserve, with support from a small grant program from the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative and the Land Trust Alliance. On a bright spring morning, our staff was thrilled to do the initial bird point count surveys for this property. How many species can you hear calling in the video?

PLEASE NOTE: The camera could not pickup all the bird calls that were being heard at that time. For example; at 0:28 Marquette identifies a ruffed grouse off in the distance while the camera only detects the call of a dark eyed junco. Similarly at 2:10 Marquette identifies a Canada Warbler visually while you can hear the song of a veery.

135 Acres Adjoining Pisgah Nat’l Forest

Gutches Creek mapIn September 2019, SAHC secured 135 acres of important high elevation habitat in the Highlands of Roan. This tract adjoins Pisgah National Forest and existing SAHC preserves, creating a contiguous swath of permanently protected, botanically rich forests on the slopes of Fork Mountain. We are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters for helping to conserve this remarkable place! Read more

Doll Branch – 62 Acres Protected

Doll Branch Tract, photo courtesy Southwings

Doll Branch tract, aerial photo courtesy Southwings and Dennis Oakley of Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association

Trout and AT hikers can rejoice – another piece of the Roan has been permanently protected!

We purchased 62 acres at Doll Branch in the Highlands of Roan in the summer of 2019, protecting exceptional habitat and scenic mountain views in Carter County, TN. The land adjoins Cherokee National Forest and is less than ½ mile from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT). Read more

Roan Recreation Updates 2019

We are working with Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), and Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC) to address recreational impacts in and around Carver’s Gap and Grassy Ridge. This area, with easy access to stunning scenic views along the Appalachian Trail, has experienced significant increases in visitation. We joined these partners for two work days this summer, to repair and restore a section of the trail going up Jane Bald. In addition, new signage and interpretative materials are planned for 2020.

Over the course of the summer, Roan Naturalist Sarah Jones interacted with more than 8,500 people on the Appalachian Trail. Sarah taught visitors about the ecology of the Roan Highlands and the role that SAHC and other partners play in protecting the landscape.  She shared Leave No Trace ethics and provided support for hikers of all levels. We are very appreciative to our friends at the ATC and the TEHCC for their support of this position.

Events

2022 Grassy Balds Management – Grassy Ridge Mow-Off

We need YOUR help on the mountain! Grassy Ridge Mow-Off, July 23-24th

Camp out or come for a day. Join other volunteers as we work to maintain the globally rare grassy and shrub balds found on Grassy Ridge, one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant sites in the Roan Highlands. We’ll cut invasive blackberries and other shrubs using weed whackers and brush cutters. Enjoy great company and great job satisfaction! Our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is more than just a work day — it’s an incredible way to experience the Highlands of Roan and to share cherished moments with friends.

Backpackers and day trippers are both welcome.

We are also pleased to announce that in 2022, we will have car camping available at our Little Rock Creek Preserve (a 10 min drive from Carver’s Gap) for volunteers who are interested in coming out and camping nearby, but are not interested in backpack camping on Grassy Ridge. Please indicate your interest in either backpack camping or car camping on your registration, as this will help us plan staff and resources.

The hike to Grassy Ridge is about 2.5 miles one way, the views are gorgeous, and we have a job suited to almost everyone. There are several different ways to help: flagging rare plants, cutting or raking blackberries, camp organization, taking photographs, and more.


Grassy Ridge Mow-Off  Planned Schedule:

Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Campers arrive, set up your tent and return to the work site.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Day hikers arrive. Sign in/Orientation

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Work time! (lunch break at 1 pm)

Saturday 4:00 p.m. – bedtime. Clean up and store equipment. Fun and Fellowship for campers!

Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. A short work day and pack out. *Everyone should be prepared to pack out group trash.


Please contact Marquette Crockett, Roan Stewardship Director at marquette@appalachian.org for more information about the work day or specific volunteer duties.

Registration for the 2022 Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is now CLOSED. Thank you!

Grassy Ridge Mow-Off

When: July 17 and 18

This year we will once again host our annual volunteer weekend to manage Appalachian grassy balds habitat in the Highlands of Roan.

We need YOUR help on the mountain!

Camp out or come for a day. Join other volunteers as we work to maintain the globally rare grassy and shrub balds found on Grassy Ridge, one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant sites in the Roan Highlands. We’ll cut invasive blackberries and other shrubs using weed whackers and brush cutters. Our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is more than just a work day — it’s an incredible way to experience in the Highlands of Roan.

Backpackers and day trippers are both welcome. The hike is about 2.5 miles one way, the camping is gorgeous, and we have a job suited to almost everyone.

Please contact Marquette Crockett, Roan Stewardship Director at marquette@appalachian.org for more information about the work day or specific volunteer duties.

June Jamboree 2021

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s annual June Jamboree is a celebration of land protection and resource management in the stunning Highlands of Roan. This year, we continue our annual celebration of outdoor recreation and conservation in the Roan Highlands, along with other SAHC focus areas, with a week-long schedule of virtual events as well as a month-long challenge to get involved in citizen-science! Join us for one or all of these events. Can’t make it? All events will be recorded and shared on our YouTube channel.

Straddling the Tennessee and North Carolina border, the tight cluster of peaks and ridges known as the Roan Massif is a showcase of globally significant biological diversity, punctuated by Appalachian grassy balds, rhododendron gardens, high-elevation rock outcrops, southern Appalachian bogs, and rich spruce-fir forests. The Roan’s ecosystems contain one of the richest repositories of temperate zone biodiversity on Earth.

View of grassy balds and mountain ridgesLunch & Learn: The Ecological and Human History of the Roan Massif’s Grassy Balds

Monday, June 7 at 12 pm

Presented by Travis Knowles

Roan Mountain’s grassy balds have delighted hikers for decades. They also represent a long, enduring mystery for ecologists and biogeographers. What explains their presence and persistence in this landscape and why are they so special?

This presentation will address what we know about these fabled grasslands’ history, including a summary timeline, as well as remaining uncertainties. We’ll examine these unique ecosystems in the context of protecting this landscape for the future. Join us for this FREE virtual event to learn more about the history of the Roan balds and have an opportunity to interact with a Roan expert.

Register for Zoom Presentation

Golden-winged Warbler in flightThree-part Video Tour of the Roan Highlands

Tuesday, June 8 via YouTube

Presented by Marquette Crockett and Travis Bordley

Join Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett and Roan Seasonal Ecologist Travis Bordley for a virtual journey through the Highlands of Roan, highlighting Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Management, Spruce-fir Habitat, and High Elevation Streams.

In this 3-segment video tour, you will discover what makes these Roan habitats unique and learn about interesting species that live here. Find out about active stewardship efforts, in which Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy works to manage or restore habitat. SAHC’s Roan Stewardship program manages and restores globally significant resources, working alongside many partners across the region. The Roan Highlands are one of the most biodiverse locations in our nation, and conservation of these irreplaceable resources is an ongoing process. SAHC serves as a leader in continued stewardship of these habitats in the face of climate change and other ecological threats. So, come take a tour with us and enjoy footage filmed on-the-ground during annual bird surveys, tree planting projects, and more!

Link to join Roan Highlands Video Tour premiere via YouTube – TBA

waterfall - photo credit Tim SweeneyLunch & Learn: 7500 acres in the Highlands of Roan, Now What?

Wednesday, June 9 at 12 pm

SAHC is thrilled to accept a generous donation of 7,500 acres in the Highlands of Roan in 2022, but what does it take to make that happen? Hear from our leadership team at SAHC to learn more about how this incredible project came to be and what steps SAHC is taking to ensure this remarkable landscape will be managed and protected for generations to come.

Register for Zoom Presentation

View of Roan with rhododendron and distant mountainsJune Jamboree Social via Zoom

Thursday, June 10 at 5:30 pm

Join us for this engaging and informative social hour where you will have the opportunity to hear updates about our program work. We will announce the 2020 Stan Murray Volunteer of the Year and recognize our Board of Trustees leaders. You won’t want to miss this fun virtual program filled with stunning photos and compelling stories.

Register for Zoom Social and Presentations

Sarge pauses on the hiking trail to identify plantsVirtual Hike Video Premiere

Friday, June 11 via YouTube

Join us AmeriCorps member Shaylyn “Sarge” Sargent for an informative virtual hike to learn more about biodiversity in our region and appreciate how SAHC’s conservation efforts help protect the mountains you love. More details TBA.

Link to join virtual hike premiere via YouTube – TBA

Gray's lilyiNaturalist Scavenger Hunt Challenge

All month long!

Participating in citizen-science is a great way to get engaged with conservation. This month, we challenge all our members, volunteers, and your friends to participate in SAHC’s iNaturalist Scavenger Hunt and record as many observations as you can!

Ever wondered about what plants or animals fill your yard? Populate your nearby favorite trail? Or what that vibrant mushroom you found is? Join SAHC’s ongoing scavenger hunt to learn about and discover with your friends, family, and your community all the wonderful creatures that inhabit our mountains. Interact with SAHC staff and other hunters to help identify plants and animals, learn new fun facts, and explore beautiful photos.

If you have never used iNaturalist before, iNaturalist is a great place to identify plants and animals with the help of the internet and the surrounding community. You can learn about what the names of plants and animals are in your area and much more. Explore the great outdoors and find plants, animals, fungi, insects, etc. and take pictures of them. Once you have your pictures, you can upload them to the mobile iNaturalist app, or from your computer on the iNaturalist website.

Click HERE to Join the Challenge

Virtual Lunch and Learn: Public Lands

Lunch & Learn: Public Lands

Wednesday, Jan. 27 | 12 p.m.

Public lands are facing an increasing bind: They’re seeing a huge surge in visitors, but, at the same time, budgets to manage these lands have been cut. Overuse and a deferred maintenance backlog on public lands has been a slow-moving crisis, recently highlighted by huge increases in visitation. SAHC and our partners have been actively working to mitigate these impacts, improve visitor experiences, and educate the public about these issues for decades. Join Marquette Crockett, SAHC Roan Stewardship Director and Travis Bordley, SAHC Roan Seasonal Ecologist for an informative program to learn more about SAHC’s role in managing public lands, the partners we work with, and what you can do to help solve this problem.

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_BahHYt5USHKKp_4MBRIX-w

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

June Jamboree 2019

The Social

Time:  1-4 pm

After your adventure on your Jamboree outing be sure to stop by our afternoon social where friends and family can gather and share hike experiences while learning about SAHC’s recent accomplishments, including land protection and stewardship news. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided.

This years social will be at our Big Rock Creek Preserve.  The Big Rock Creek property, formerly the home of Trailridge summer camp, contains 127 acres of unique high elevation habitat and streams.  There will be a short trail that will be ready for walking – this trail was possible thanks to SAHC volunteers, the National Parks Conservation Association and Nature Valley!

The Hikes/Outings

What to Bring: Water bottle, sturdy footwear, gear/clothing relevant for your specific outing, and a bag to carry personal items. Weather in the Roan can change quickly, so you may want to bring sunscreen, a rain jacket, and multiple layers. Most hikes will have an opportunity to stop for lunch along the way — please plan to bring your own lunch.

#1 Highlands of OM: Yoga on the Roan

Location: Roan Mountain Gateway, Highlands of Roan

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Leader: Laura Boggess, E-RYT200 & MHU Biology Instructor | Difficulty: Easy – No yoga experience req’d – 0.5 miles, 100′

Join us for a peaceful yoga session in the Highlands of Roan, surrounded by scenic views protected by SAHC. The session will begin with an easy 10-minute hike to an idyllic pasture on the Davenport-Pritchard Tract. Students of all levels will enjoy a soothing, relaxing, and restorative experience.

#2 Roll and Stroll at the Rhododendron Garden

Location: Rhododendron Gardens, Highlands of Roan

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Leader: Carl Silverstein, Executive Director of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy  | Difficulty: Easy – 1 mile. 200′

We anticipate that the Rhododendron Gardens on top of the Roan will be blazing with color this time of year. Participants will stroll approximately 1 mile across gentle terrain with stunning views of the Roan landscape. On this leisurely walk, participants will learn about a number of SAHC’s land protection projects that can be viewed from the gardens. This family-friendly offering is designed to provide people of all abilities with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the properties SAHc has diligently worked to protect over the last four decades.  This trail is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible.

#3 Roan & Groan: Hump Mountain – Carvers Gap*

Location: Shell Creek Community Start Time: 9 am | Est. End Time: 3 pm

Leader: Israel Golden, SAHC AmeriCorps Associate | Difficulty: Strenuous (8.5 miles, ~3,000′)

This challenge hike will begin on the new 324-acre Hump Mountain tract. This tract of land was an SAHC priority for over 40 years. In 2016, SAHC protected this property and recently transferred it to the Cherokee National Forest as a new part of your public lands! From Shell Creek you will hike up to Bradley Gap and then traverse along the Appalachian Trail over Little Hump Mountain, Grassy Ridge, Jane Bald, Round Bald and end at Carvers Gap! The hike will be about 8.5 miles and will traverse many beautiful grassy balds. Hiking along the balds, there is the chance for views in all directions of Yellow Mountain and Grassy Ridge to the west and Grandfather and Linville Gorge to the East, in addition to numerous SAHC preserves. Along the route there could be Gray’s lilies in full bloom and migratory birds flitting around the edges of the balds. At the end of the hike participants will be shuttled back to their cars at Shell Creek.

**This event is full – to be placed on a waiting list email israel@appalachian.org**

#4 Botanical Exploration of the Roan

Location: Cloudland to Roan High Bluff

Start Time: 10 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm

Leader: Gary Kauffman, Botanist/Ecologist for National Forests in North Carolina | Difficulty: Moderate, 2.5 miles, 110′

Join Gary Kauffman as he leads participants on a Botanical Exploration of the Highlands of Roan. The hike will be about 2.5 miles and Gary will be able to identify the flora that makes the mountaintop their home. ON this slow paced, plant-focused hike participants will learn about the plant communities of the Roan, rare species, recreational impacts, and climate change. Participants will observe Grassy Bald, Spruce Fir, and Rocky Outcrop ecosystems and see breathtaking vistas of SAHC-conserved land. Plan on a leisurely, educational stroll!

#5 Sustainable Homestead Farm Tour

Location: Fork Mountain Preserve

Start Time: 12 pm | Est. End Time: 2 pm

Leader: Marquette Crockett, Jess Laggis, & Pat Tompkins| Difficulty: Easy – 1 mile, 100′

Join Roan Stewardship Associate Marquette Crockett, Farmland Protection Director Jess Laggis, and Pat Tompkins on an educational hike around SAHC’s Fork Mountain preserve. This 195-acre unique tract is part of our 430-acre Fork Mountain Preserve and was conserved by SAHC in 1995. Long-time resident and caretaker, Pat Tompkins has homesteaded this farm for decades and has a wealth of knowledge to share about caring for the earth and living sustainably. Participants are invited to tour her small homesteading operation and learn about sustainable agriculture along the way. This hike will be capped at 15 people.

#6 Explore Big Rock Creek Preserve

Location: Big Rock Creek

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Leader: Abigail Snow, Community Farm Intern   | Difficulty: Easy, 0.25 miles

Bring your family to hike our short nature trail and play in the water at SAHC’s beautiful Big Rock Creek Preserve. This shorter hike is designed to get all ages outdoors and exploring some of the beautiful water protected by SAHC. Learn about some basic stream and pond ecology, look for crayfish and salamanders. Everyone is welcome to bring fishnets, buckets, or other toys to play with in the creek and pond. However, we ask that all equipment be gently cleaned before using it in this high quality trout stream.  Parents are welcomed to participate as well. Please bring water appropriate clothing and shoes plus appropriate day hiking materials. 

#7 & #8 Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge

Location: Carvers Gap Trailhead

Hike #7 Start Time: 8:30 am | Est. End Time: 12:30 pm

Hike #8 Start Time: 10 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Hike #7 Leader: Travis Bordley, SAHC Roan Naturalist & Professional Nature Photographer | Hike #8 Leaders: Bettye Boone & Saylor Fox, Stan Murray Volunteer Award Winners  | DifficultyModerate – 4.5 miles, 650′

This new version of a classic and rewarding hike is full of adventure atop the highest elevation balds in the Highlands of Roan, widely considered among the most spectacular scenery along the Appalachian Trail. Hike #7  – An early start allows this hike to be leisurely paced, focused on enjoying a late Spring morning and photographing the splendor of the balds, blooming rhododendron, flame azalea, patches of spruce fir forest and rare plants such as Gray’s lily and Roan Mountain bluets. Hike #8 – For those who enjoy a faster paced hiking experience. 

Registration for the June Jamboree is now closed. Thank you!

There’s No Place Like Roan: Ensuring a Highland Legacy

Location: ETSU, Brown Hall, Room 370

Long treasured for their astounding beauty, unique forests and grassy balds, the Highlands of Roan are biologically and geologically unique. However, the high elevation ecosystems on the Roan Mountain massif are among the most endangered and fragile habitats on earth. With ongoing threats including climate change and invasive species, how will our most vulnerable wildlands survive? How can we balance the protection of this biodiversity hotspot with a growing demand for recreational and economic opportunities?

Join us for a presentation by Marquette Crockett, SAHC Roan Stewardship Director, to learn more about the exceptional habitats of the Roan, the rare creatures who inhabit them, and the ongoing conservation work of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Hear how our multi-partner efforts are working to address growing environmental threats and what you can do to safeguard the extraordinary beauty and ecology of the Highlands of Roan.

Following the presentation, JRH Brewing is hosting a pint night for SAHC. $1 from ever beer purchased will go directly toward our land and water conservation work.

This event is FREE, but reservations are recommended due to limited seating. Please contact Pauline Heyne at pauline@appalachian.org or 828.253.0095 ext. 216 for questions and reservations.

Parking is available for free at ETSU after 3:30 p.m.

 

2018 June Jamboree

Registration for the 2018 June Jamboree has now closed.

The Social

Time:  2-4 pm

After your adventure on your Jamboree outing be sure to stop by our afternoon social where friends and family can gather and share hike experiences while learning about SAHC’s recent accomplishments, including land protection and stewardship news. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided.

This years social will be at our Big Rock Creek Preserve.  The Big Rock Creek property, formerly the home of Trailridge summer camp, contains 127 acres of unique high elevation habitat and streams.  There will be a short, newly constructed trail that will be ready for walking – this trail was possible thanks to SAHC volunteers, the National Parks Conservation Association and Nature Valley!

The Hikes/Outings

*Hike Key Note: Hikes are rated 1-10 (greater than 10 for extremely difficult hikes). A rating of 5 is considered moderate, 10 difficult, and 1 extremely easy. We come up with this number by putting the hike elevation change and mileage into this formula: (0.002 x elevation gain (ft.)) + Round trip distance (miles) = Difficulty rating (1-10).

What to Bring: Water bottle, sturdy footwear, gear/clothing relevant for your specific outing, and a bag to carry personal items. Weather in the Roan can change quickly, so you may want to bring sunscreen, a rain jacket, and multiple layers. Most hikes will have an opportunity to stop for lunch along the way — please plan to bring your own lunch.

#1 Hike and Yoga

Location: SAHC’s Dr. William Davenport Preserve, Highlands of Roan

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Leader: Lauren McTigue | Difficulty: Easy (2/10)* – No yoga experience req’d

Join us for a peaceful yoga session in the Highlands of Roan, surrounded by scenic views protected by SAHC. The session will be on the Dr. William A. Davenport Tract, which was acquired by SAHC in 2014.  This property had been an SAHC top priority for 45 years before it was conserved! The yoga session will be led by SAHC’s Connecting People with Lands Associate, Lauren McTigue. Lauren has a 500 hour yoga certification in Anusara and Natural Movement Yoga. Students of all levels will enjoy a soothing, relaxing, and restorative experience.

#2 Roll and Stroll at the Rhododendron Garden

Location: Rhododendron Gardens, Highlands of Roan

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 1 pm

Leader: Amanda Smithson, Mountain Region Trails Specialist with NC Parks and Recreation  | Difficulty: Easy (2/10)* – 1 mile

The Rhododendron Gardens on top of the Roan will be blazing with color this time of year. Participants will stroll approx. 1 mile across gentle terrain with stunning views of the Roan landscape. On this leisurely walk, participants will learn about a number of SAHC’s land protection projects that can be viewed from the gardens. This family-friendly offering is designed to provide people of all abilities with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the properties that SAHC has diligently worked to protect over the last four decades.  This trail is paved and wheelchair/stroller accessible.

#3 Challenge Hike: Shell Creek – Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area –

**This Hike is Full – to inquire about the waitlist, please email emily@appalachian.org.**

Location: Shell Creek Community Start Time: 9 am | Est. End Time: 3 pm

Leader: Tom Gatti | Difficulty: Strenuous (9-10) * – 7 miles

This challenge hike will begin on the new 324-acre Hump Mountain tract that SAHC protected in May of 2017! This piece of land was an SAHC priority for over 40 years.   From Shell Creek you will hike up to Bradley Gap and then traverse along the Appalachian Trail over Little Hump Mountain into Yellow Mountain Gap and down into SAHC’s Hampton Creek Cove Property! The hike will be about 7 miles and will traverse beautiful grassy balds! Hiking along the balds, there is the chance for views in all directions of Yellow Mountain and Grassy Ridge to the west and Grandfather and Linville Gorge to the East.  Along the route there could be Gray’s lilies in full bloom, and migratory birds flitting around the edges of the balds.

#4 AT: Iron Mountain Gap – Big Rock Creek

Location: Iron Mountain Gap

Start Time: 9 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm

Leader: Michelle Durr, Roan Outreach Americorps Member | Difficulty: Strenuous (9-10) * – 8 miles

This eight mile challenge hike begins on the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee and ends in North Carolina. The forested hike will start at Iron Mountain Gap and end right at the June Jamboree Party on the Big Rock Creek Preserve.  The eight mile route takes you through an old apple orchard and has views of Pinnacle Mountain and Unaka Mountain. The hike will be uphill with a few steep sections until the descent into Big Rock Creek.  There is the chance for beautiful summer flowers!

#5 Plant Inventory Walk

Location: Little Cove Creek near Roan Mountain State Park

Start Time: 11 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm

Leader: Susan Fruchey| Difficulty: Moderate (3-4) * – 2 miles

Join Susan Fruchey, a US Forest Service Botanist, as she leads participants on a plant inventory of SAHC’s Little Cove Creek Preserve in the Highlands of Roan.  The hike will be about two miles, and Susan will be able to identify the flora that makes this property their home.  The hike will also pass a waterfall and many beautiful natural features. The inventory can tell us if there are any rare species and if they are being threatened by invasives, recreational impacts, or climate change.  Knowing that about the populations in an area is important for protecting species and maintaining a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem. Plan on a leisurely, educational stroll!

#6 Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge

**This Hike is Full – to inquire about the waitlist, please email emily@appalachian.org.**

Location: Carvers Gap

Start Time: 10 am | Est. End Time: 2 pm

Leader: Gary Kauffman   | Difficulty: Strenuous (7-8) * – 5 miles

This classic and rewarding hike is full of adventure atop the highest elevation balds in the Highlands of Roan, widely considered among the most spectacular scenery along the Appalachian Trail. Grassy Ridge is the highest point near the AT, reaching a stunning 6,189 feet in elevation. Enjoy a natural, unobstructed 360-degree view and so much more — blooming rhododendron, flame azalea, patches of spruce fir forest and rare plants such as Gray’s lily and Roan Mountain bluets.

Along the way, Gary Kauffman, a US Forest Service Botanist, will discuss the significance of the balds and the best practices for managing this pristine habitat. For those hikers wishing for an easier hike, there is the option of hiking out to Round Bald or Jane Bald, to enjoy the flowers and expansive views, instead of going all the way to Grassy Ridge.  The hike is about 5 miles round trip! 

2018 Southern Sixer Kickoff Hike

Date: Saturday, January 13

Start Time: 9 AM, details provided upon registration

Location: Highlands of Roan

Difficulty: Moderate (7)

Dogs: Well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a leash.

Join us on a classic Roan hike with a winter twist! This Southern Sixer Kickoff Hike is offered as part of our “For Love of Beer & Mountains” Partnership, celebrating Highland Brewing Company’s seasonal release of Souther Sixer IPA — which is named for the 40+ mountains rising over 6,000 ft elevation in the Southern Appalachians. Through the “For Love of Beer & Mountains” Partnership, Highland Brewing Company partners with SAHC to support our conservation efforts and heighten awareness of the rare and threatened natural treasures of the Southern Appalachians.

This hike is an adventure through the Highlands of Roan, following the Appalachian Trail through spectacular spruce-fir forests.  Our trek will begin at Carvers Gap, climbing up to two Southern Sixers: Roan High Knob and Roan High Bluff.  Roan High Knob has an elevation of 6,286 feet and Roan High Bluff is jus a bit shorter at 6,267 feet. Along the way we will pass the highest elevation shelter on the AT and the site of the old Cloudland Hotel.  This winter hike may even have beautiful snowy views into North Carolina and Tennessee!

Please be prepared for cold weather hiking, as temperatures in the upper elevations of the Roan can be much colder than in surrounding areas. Weather on the Roan can also change dramatically in a short period of time.

Leader: Emily Adler, AmeriCorps Conservation Education & Volunteer Outreach Associate. For questions or more info, contact Emily at emily@appalachian.org or 828.253.0095 ext 205.

Hike difficulty ratings are based on this formula: (0.002 x elevation gain (ft.)) + round trip distance (mi.) = difficulty rating (1 – 10+)

Registration for this hike is now full. To be placed on the waitlist, or if you plans have changed and you can no longer join us, please contact emily@appalachian.org. Thank you!

2017 Hump Mountain Hike

Location: Highlands of Roan
Date: October 21, 2017
Start Time: 10:00am
Difficulty Rating: Strenuous (9)
Cost: FREE but pre-registration is required.
Dogs: Well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a leash.

Join the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy as we venture into the Highland of Roan, hiking to the 5,587 foot summit of Hump Mountain!  This impressive mountain hosts 360 degree views from its top. The hike will begin on the newly protected 324 acre tract that SAHC purchased in May of this year – eventually meeting up with the Appalachian Trail on our push for the summit. About 2 miles into our hike, we break out of the forest into the open grassy bald. Up here, there is the chance for superb views of a number of mountain tops – including Grandfather Mountain, Table Rock and Mt. Mitchell.  This strenuous out and back hike totals about six miles with over 1,500 feet of elevation gain in the first three miles.

Hike difficulty ratings are based on this formula: (0.002 x elevation gain (ft.)) + round trip distance (mi.) = difficulty rating (1 – 10+)

Leader: Emily Adler Americorps Conservation Education and Volunteer Outreach Associate. For questions or more info, contact Emily at emily@appalachian.org or 828.253.0095, ext 205.

Registration for this hike is now full. We will create a waitlist based on the order in which we received registration forms and schedule another hike to the same site in the future. Thank you!

Balds and Brews

What: Balds & Brews

When: Fri., August 11, 3:00 PM

Where: Balds presentation in Room 304, D.M. Brown Hall, ETSU, followed by Brews at JRH Brewing in Johnson City

Join us as SAHC’s Duke Stanback Intern Sarah Sanford presents her work cataloging the last three decades of grassy balds management in the Roan Highlands. Sarah will use GIS data, historic photographs, and interactive maps to portray the years of work performed by SAHC, our partners, and local volunteers.The presentation will also include a brief overview of the natural and cultural history of the Roan Highlands, from land conservation efforts to mountaintop festivals.

RSVP to presentation preferred. For more information or to RSVP, contact Pauline: pauline@appalachian.org or (828) 253-0095 x 216.

Following the presentation, join us for a cold brew at JRH Brewing in Johnson City. JRH is donating $1 of every pint to SAHC in support of our land and water conservation efforts! JRH Brewing is located at 458 West Walnut Street in Johnson City.

PARKING: There is a FREE Parking Garage located behind the Carnegie Hotel. From there you can use the walkway over State of Franklin and visit Brown Hall.

You are also able to apply for a ETSU parking pass online.  You can visit the parking services office or apply online for your parking permit: http://www.etsu.edu/bf/fs/parking/
JUST REMEMBER, when you register, it may give you the current day, not August 11.  If you print the day before please put 2 days to ensure it will cover August 11.

Also – the Little Chicago Downtown Music and Arts Festival is happening in Johnson City on Friday, so downtown parking will be busy. If you are planning to join us at JRH Brewing afterwards, walking to the brewery from ETSU may be your best option. JRH is less than 1 mile from ETSU.