Posts

The Tri-County Traverse

heading-up-the-fields.jpgYou would think that crossing three counties in one day would be an impossible task. Nay, with this grizzled group of veteran hikers, SAHC and land owners Carl and Holley Merschat were able to summit the top of Maney Fields where Buncombe, Madison, and Yancey Counties converge. Despite only having to hike 1.5 miles to the top, the group gained over 1,200 feet of elevation, climbed through cattle gates, and avoided high voltage fences. Truly, a successful day!

For over thirty years, Carl and Holley Merschat have lived in their home tucked away in Barnardsville, NC. There, they raised two kids, and gradually buffered their home with additional land to explore and enjoy. They bought their house in 1974 and the next year bought 58 more acres. Over the next 30 years, the Mershats were able to tack on an additional 60 acres. They heat their home every winter from the wood on their property, grow Shiitake mushrooms, and continue to cultivate a strong relationship with their land. Read more

Caught in a Webb (Property)

 

lauras-rock1.jpgIf you like hiking, beautiful landscapes, and a little southern hospitality, then you probably would hae enjoyed our adventure to the Webb conservation easement property. Landowner Laura Webb and family generously opened the doors to their property and hosted an incredible hike and picnic for SAHC and members.

The Webb property is nestled deep in Jackson County, where it boasts a lake for fishing, untouched views from Laura’s Rock, and a secluded feel that gives visitors the thrilling sensation that they are truly “in the wild.” Originally (and still) used as a fishing cabin for family and friends of the Webbs, the 615-acre property protects a pristine lake and creeks that flow into the nearby Tuckaseegee River. Parts of the property sky to almost 4,500 feet high and afford hikers with breathtaking views of the valley below. 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

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

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

The Plateau

dsc_0011.jpgOn December 28, we recorded a conservation easement on 112 acres of land in Madison County, near the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests.

“The Plateau is remarkable because it fills an immensely significant gap between the Cherokee National Forest and the Pisgah National Forest. One of our primary focuses is to protect land adjacent to State and National Forests; thus, to secure a tract of land that bridges two National Forests is a spectacular accomplishment,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC Executive Director. 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

SAHC purchases 248 acres in Sandy Mush community – the Robinson Rough property

img_5725.jpgOn 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. Read more