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Since 1994, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has protected more than 30,000 acres in more than 150 projects. CMLC works every day to create a network of protected farm, forest, park and natural lands. Within our service region, which includes Henderson, Transylvania and parts of neighboring counties, we concentrate our efforts on three main focus areas:
- DuPont Forest and the Upper Green River Watershed
- Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock State Park
- Upper French Broad River Watershed.
Below are some examples of land conserved in each focus area
Green River Preserve & The Schenck Family/John Ball
Location: Transylvania County - adjacent to the Green River Watershed Land
Acres: 3,145 combined
Public Access: The Green River Preserve is a camp for young naturalists. CMLC also host hikes for members and the public on the Preserve in the off-season.
What Makes It Special: These projects connect watersheds and wildlife protection corridors from Dupont State Forest to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness in the foothills of South Carolina (more than 100,000 acres of contiguous green space).
East Fork Headwaters
Location: Transylvania County - adjacent to the SC border
Acres: 4,000 of the 8,125 set for conservation
Public access: Once the conservation process is complete this tract is set to become a public gameland managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. This project also protects a little over 9 miles of the 80-mile Foothills Trail, which is open to public use and travels along the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
What Makes it Special:
- Preservation of 25 new waterfalls in the “Land of Waterfalls”
- Permanent protection of clean drinking water
- Extensive hunting and fishing opportunities including access to trout streams that support native brook trout
- The preservation of habitat for some of North Carolina’s rarest wildlife species
Location: Adjacent to Chimney Rock State Park Acres: 1,568
Public Access: Worlds Edge is a part of Chimney Rock State Park. CMLC also hosts hikes here for our members and the public.
What Makes It Special: This site possesses some of the richest biodiversity in the nation and features cliffs, forests, breathtaking views, streams and waterfalls and is an important stop for several species of migrating birds. In 2005 CMLC conveyed Worlds Edge to the State of North Carolina for inclusion in Chimney Rock State Park.
Weed Patch Mountain
Location: Hickory Nut Gorge - North of Lake Lure Acres: 1,527
Public Access: The Town of Lake Lure purchased 200 acres of conserved land to create a park for the public. CMLC plans to create trails on the tract that will hopefully one day be included in the Hickory Nut Gorge Trail System
What Makes it Special:
- Over 20 miles of trout streams that feed Buffalo Creek and Lake Lure.
- Known occurrences of several rare species including Broad Leaf Tickseed and the endangered Green Salamander.
- Widely visible from Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.
Location: Hickory Nut Gorge - near Gerton Acres: 165 and counting…
Public Access: CMLC purchased a public right of way and constructed a one-mile trail to the grassy bald at the peak.
What Makes it Special:
- Protection of seven known rare species
- Rich land diversity including meadow and rocky-bald plant communities at its summit as well as significant boulder fields and outcroppings
- Public access to a new trail to the top of the mountain…eventually linking with a larger gorge trail system
Florence Nature Preserve
Location: Gerton, near Little Pisgah Mountain Acres: 600
Public Access: The entire tract is managed by CMLC and open to the public. CMLC hosts regular volunteer workdays with their Florence Nature Preserve Management Team to maintain the trails. Click here for a trail map!
What Makes It Special: Generously donated to CMLC by Dr. and Mrs. Florence in 1996, the preserve hosts more than 5 miles of public hiking trails and harbors a variety of rare plants including yellow lady slipper, old growth forest, and waterfalls.
Location: Mills River Acres: 182
Public Access: CMLC hosts hikes for our members and the public on this tract
What Makes It Special: The first conservation easement donated to CMLC in 1996, this project protects water quality, preserves a working farm and forest and buffers Pisgah National Forest.
Location: Flat Rock Acres: 27
Public Access: CMLC hosts regular volunteer workdays. Volunteers get to see rare wildlife and learn more about this special habitat while they lend a hand to our restoration efforts.
What Makes It Special: Restoration of this historic mountain bog will protect Bunched Arrowhead one of the rarest plant species in western North Carolina.