Focus Areas

Since 1994, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has protected more than 34,000 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:  

Below are some examples of land conserved in each focus area 

DuPont Forest and the Upper Green River Watershed

Green River Preserve & Schenck Ball Families

Location: Henderson County - headwaters of the Green River        

Acres:  3,145 combined 

Public Access:  Green River Preserve is a camp for young naturalists.  CMLC also hosts guided 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).

Headwaters State Forest

Location:  Transylvania County

Acres: ~5,000 of the 8,125 planned for conservation

Public access:  Once the conservation process is complete this tract will open as North Carolina's newest State Forest managed by the NC Forest Servive.  This project also protects nine miles of the 80+ mile Foothills Trail, which is open to public use. 

What Makes it Special:

  • Preservation of scenic waterfalls in the “Land of Waterfalls”
  • Permanent protection of 25 miles of trout waters
  • 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

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 Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock State Park 

Worlds Edge

Location:  Part of 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.   

Watch CMLC's film, Standing at the Edge, recalling the history of how World's Edge was saved

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:  Lower Hickory Nut Gorge area - 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.

Bearwallow Mountain

Location:  Upper 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.  Click here for a trail map!

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:  Upper Hickory Nut Gorge - near Gerton          Acres:  600

Public Access:  The entire tract is managed by CMLC and open to the public.  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.

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Upper French Broad River Watershed

Humphrey Farm

Location:  Mills River          Acres: 182

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.

Ochlawaha Bog

Location:  Flat Rock          Acres: 27

What Makes It Special: Restoration of this historic mountain bog will protect Bunched Arrowhead one of the rarest plant species in western North Carolina.

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