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About the White Squirrel
The white squirrel is a regionally unique wildlife oddity that is found within CMLC's land protection area of Transylvania and Henderson counties. Over time, the curiously colored rodent has lent its identity to our mountain region. Its residency evokes great pride among those that live among the southern Blue Ridge mountains. In addition to its role as a local symbol, the white squirrel represents one of the many natural resources protected by CMLC through land conservation. Along with water quality and natural beauty of our mountains, CMLC's conservation projects protect wildlife, habitat, and biodiversity.
While often thought to be its own species or an albino, our white squirrel is simply a color variant of the Eastern Grey Squirrel. It first appeared in our region in downtown Brevard during the early to mid 20th century. Many stories exist involving how the white squirrel came to western North Carolina, but no one truly knows for certain how the pigment-challenged varmint arrived in the Blue Ridge. One story credits P.T. Barnum and Rockbrook Camp for Girls, a conservation property protected by CMLC.
The town of Brevard celebrates its pride for the double-take inducing animal every year at the White Squirrel Festival. For decades, the white squirrel called Brevard home until it slowly began expanding its territory to surrounding areas. It is now common to see a white squirrel throughout Transylvania and Henderson Counties. Now, the white squirrel has even found its way onto the CMLC Hiking Challenge patch!
Additional inspiration for the Hiking Challenge's white squirrel patch was the resident family of white squirrels (pictured) who reside in the two hundred year-old John Humphrey Oak located outside of CMLC's Hendersonville office.