News & Events: News

CMLC’s Bearwallow Mountain Trail is currently OPEN but is subject to temporary closures this winter

to protect it from damage during the freeze/thaw cycle following significant snow and ice accumulations and subsequent wet and delicate soil conditions.

When temporarily closed, the summit of Bearwallow Mountain will remain OPEN.

Visitors/hikers may walk the gravel road to the top of the peak during instances of temporary trail closure. When closed, please help CMLC take good care of this special place by avoiding use of the Trail and instead choosing to walk the gravel road.

In times of temporary closure, CMLC will reopen the Bearwallow Mountain Trail as soon as possible. Trail closures will reopen when conditions are determined to be less susceptible to tread damage.

Because of the Bearwallow Mountain Trail’s immense popularity and high frequency of foot traffic, its natural surface tread is particularly susceptible to damage following the accumulation of snow and ice and the freezing of its soil followed by thawing. Use of this trail during the freeze/thaw cycle can wreak havoc on its sustainability and lead to significant damage that requires considerable repair while also negatively impacting the experience of its users in the future. Soil is upheaved in the freezing process, and when stepped on by foot-traffic it is crunched, and melted—a recipe that quickly results in substantial mud and soil displacement. Thus, walking on the trail during these instances will damage it.

In 2016, this process occurred repeatedly and frequently which ultimately prompted CMLC to close the Bearwallow Mountain Trail for several weeks at the end of winter—but only after the damage was done. This Winter, CMLC will strive to lessen the total impact and damage by shorter-term closures based on conditions. Closures should typically persist only a few days to a week, though more significant snow and ice accumulation and/or longer periods of freezing temperatures may cause longer closures. These closures will protect both the trail tread as well as the surrounding natural resources and prevent compounded damages that have occurred in the past under winter conditions.

Other CMLC trails in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge will remain open. While comprehensive closure of CMLC trails may be also beneficial during winter weather and freeze/thaw cycles, these other trails are less susceptible to damage than Bearwallow Mountain because they receive less traffic while also being at lower elevations. Increased traffic on other CMLC trails in the future may eventually cause the need for their temporarily closure during the winter as well.

For questions or more information, contact Peter Barr, CMLC Trails Coordinator, at peter@carolinamountain.org.

Thank you for helping us protect the Bearwallow Mountain Trail!


family traditionSeven-hundred-sixty-miles separate the white sandy beaches of Miami and the rolling mountains of Henderson County. The Fernandez family has been traveling to Western North Carolina from southern Florida for 26 consecutive years. It’s one trip where the destination — not the journey — is truly what matters.

Jose and Kathee Fernandez first visited Western North Carolina with their children, Joe and Ana, in the mid-1980s. The lush forests and welcoming mountains offered reprieve from their busy lives in Miami managing a construction company responsible for a significant portion of south Florida’s roadways and airports.

“It’s a place where you can slow down, work on the land while listening to the birds sing, feel a cool breeze and just be at peace,” reflects Jose. “The outdoor recreational opportunities and interaction with a diverse landscape make it the best place for our family to connect and enjoy together.”

Inspired by the tranquility, scenic beauty and abundance of outdoor recreation, Jose and Kathee purchased a 149-acre farm near Edneyville in 1990. The land boasts creeks, ponds, oak and eastern hemlock forests and pastures where their horses graze. Wildlife seek refuge and thrive. The gentle, rolling hills and the deep woods provide endless opportunities to meander freely.

“We liked it the way it is,” says Jose, who knew he needed to conserve the land in order to preserve it. In 2009, they partnered with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to permanently protect 136 acres of the property. “We didn’t want to ever see it divided and developed,” Jose adds.

Returning to their Western North Carolina home each year has become a tradition for the family, one that is now being passed down to Jose and Kathee’s grandchildren.

Each summer and most holidays, their two children and their spouses, together with the four grandchildren, gather at Jose and Kathee’s mountain home. They gaze out the living room window at Bearwallow Mountain, crowned with a grassy meadow. At 4,232 feet, it’s the highest peak in the widely-visible Bearwallow Highlands range. They hike and ride bikes together on trails that wind through rhododendron, maple and pine, stopping to examine acorns, mushrooms and caterpillars along the way. They eat lunch atop mountain summits, taking in sweeping views of the mist slowly drifting up from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“My first child was born six years ago and it’s important to me that both of my children have summers at the farm as part of their childhood,” shares Ana. “Our kids learn just as much exploring these trails, creeks and mountains as they do sitting in a classroom. It’s also a haven for our family. We connect here and spend quality time as a family, despite the distance between us where we live.”

mountain summitAna and Daniel’s children, Eric, 6, and Sofia, 5, race up the Bearwallow trail, climb on moss-covered rocks and are inquisitive about the plants and insects around them. At the top, they giggle as a grazing herd of cattle greets them — an experience they wouldn’t find among the swaying palms of Miami.

Ana's brother Joe, his wife Becky, and their children Alina, 5, and Joseph, 3, join them. “The four of us now live in central California, but this place captures your heart no matter where you reside,” says Joe.

The family is attracted to the relaxed lifestyle, the warm people and the change of seasons iconic to Appalachia. They understand our natural resources are precious and limited.

“Our family has been able to grow up enjoying the open space and beauty of the area,” Ana says. “We feel strongly that places like this need to be protected and conserved so that our children and their children can have the same experience and appreciation that we enjoy. There is something very special for children and adults alike when we have access to unadulterated nature and beauty. The lesson of caring for our natural spaces started with my parents, and my children are getting a front seat to how we do that in practice.”

Conservation is a passion for the family. Jose and Kathee started a charitable family foundation that has environmental issues as a key focus. “We want to contribute, as best we can, to the betterment of the environment and society in our local communities,” says Jose. “Our goal, as a foundation, is to help create a more sustainable place to live. Part of how we do that is through environmental conservation and advocacy. The land in Western North Carolina is a perfect place for us to do this work, where we can support the area that is so special to our family.”

The foundation has generously enabled the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to save invaluable lands and waters in the Hickory Nut Gorge and surrounding region, allowing people from all walks of life to take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the meandering trails, panoramic views and peaceful escape that these natural treasures provide.

“The foundation is a beautiful way for us to keep common threads through our family,” says Ana, who now serves as the foundation's executive director. “In spite of our busy and different lives, we come together to work for good.”

“Connection to the land is essential for human well-being,” shares Jose. He smiles as he describes the way his grandchildren’s eyes light up, mirroring the same excitement his children had uncovering the marvels of these mountains. The tradition of coming together as a family each year to share the simple joys of the land flourishes as a love for nature shines in the next generation.

“Our family loves the open space, the slower pace and the adventure lurking around each corner. We love the balance it gives us to our lives in Miami,” says Ana. “It just feels good here.”


 

Party Rock Fire

A panel of environmental experts will present information about the long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire on the natural environment in Hickory Nut Gorge on Tuesday, January 31st at 6 p.m. in the Community Hall at the Lake Lure Municipal Building. Experts include Clint Calhoun with the Town of Lake Lure, Marshall Ellis with NC State Parks, and Michael Cheek with the NC Forest Service.

The Party Rock Fire burned more than 7,000 acres in the Hickory Nut Gorge in November of 2016. While there were no fatalities and no structures were lost during the fire, there are other ways that the fire will affect the local community. The local economy relies heavily on tourism; the Hickory Nut Gorge’s natural beauty and unique plant and animal species are a major draw for visitors. The disturbance caused by the Party Rock Fire could create the ideal conditions for non-native invasive plants to thrive, which can lower biodiversity and affect the beauty of the gorge. In contrast, some of the rare and endangered plant species of the gorge are dependent on disturbances to create suitable habitats for them. There are many potential benefits and detriments from the fire.

The panel will present and discuss information about what the possible effects of the fire will be, when we can expect to start seeing them, and what the community can do to ensure the natural environment of the Hickory Nut Gorge stays healthy. The panel will be hosted and moderated by the Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. It is free and open to the public.

The Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG), based at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, is compsed of area partners whose mission is to protect the natural environment of the Hickory Nut Gorge by managing the exotic invasive plants on public and private land. WAC-HNG can be a major force in helping to mitigate the possible long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire; support from landowners in the gorge and volunteers from the local community will be critical for WAC-HNG in the months and years ahead.

 


What is Green Gifting?

Have you ever wondered about the impact gift giving has on the environment? Want to know what you can do to give environmentally conscious gifts? Interested in learning how to wrap your gifts the environmentally friendly way? If yes, then come to Hendersonville's Green Drinks on December 8th at 5:30pm!

Our very own Adrienne Brown, AmeriCorps Community Outreach & Education Associate, will be presenting in partnership with Christine Brown from GreenWorks. Their talk will focus on how to give Green this holiday season! 

 

Hendersonville's Green Drinks takes place every second Thursday of the month and features various speakers and topics.


“There is a wolf in me. …I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.” 

-Excerpt from "Wilderness" by Carl Sandburg

Eagle's NestFor Jodi John Pippin, Sandburg’s poem is a reflection of her experiences growing up at Eagle’s Nest, a summer camp and academic semester school nestled amongst the dense forests, cool creeks, cascading waterfalls and rolling mountains of Transylvania County.

“Once you feel that you belong to the land and that it belongs to you, there is no way to let it go,” says Pippin. “The connection cannot be unheard or unfelt.  It is a rare thing today, to find 143 acres of conserved land that has 90 years of life-changing stories to go with it.”

Over the past six years, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy worked with Eagle’s Nest to permanently protect more than 75% of the 184-acre property, saving the invaluable educational, outdoor and cultural adventures that so many generations keep coming back to experience.

As a child, the Blue Ridge Mountains cast an enchanting spell on Pippin. As a teenager, she slow danced at camp for the first time knowing she could relax and just be herself… even while stepping on her partner’s toes. As a young adult, morning strolls through the rhododendron thicket made her feel completely at peace with the world. She fell in love with her now husband on the front porch of the dining hall while she was a camp counselor. They have three children and, as an adult, Pippin has watched them with pride as they grow comfortable in their own skin as campers and students at Eagle’s Nest.

Pippin’s story is not unique.

“I wanted my children to be able to grow and experience independence in a safe, positive, inspiring environment away from home as I did,” says Cissy Byrd, who attended the camp in the late 1960s and 1970s. “I wanted them to be influenced by and build trust in people beyond our family. I wanted them to find joy and build confidence in themselves and feel the rewards of contributing to and being part of a community. I knew that they would get these things at Eagle's Nest.”

Over the decades, Eagle’s Nest has expanded from its beginnings as an all-girls camp when it first opened its doors in 1927. It transitioned to a coed camp in the 1940s, chartered as a nonprofit 501c3 in 1950, started offering specialized wilderness-based programs for teens in the 1970s and added The Outdoor Academy (academic semester school) for high school sophomores in the 1990s. Today, all these programs operate under the umbrella of Eagle’s Nest Foundation.

“Eagle’s Nest emphasizes a child's development with a nurturing community in nature,” shares Mo Waite, whose parents, Alex and Hannah Waite, ran the camp for more than three decades. Mo grew up at Eagle’s Nest, studying salamandersandwaterbugs and learning how to use an axe and cross cut saw.

The multi-generational connection continued, with Mo’s wife Helen, an experiential educator, taking the helm from his parents in 1978. His daughter, Noni Waite-Kucera, attended camp and since 2000, has served as the Executive Director of Eagle’s Nest Foundation. Today, Mo’s grandchildren listen to the sounds of bullfrogs at the lake and make s’mores around the campfire on the hill just as he did in the 1940s.

“With all these changes, the mission remained unchanged,” says Mo. “The clear vision of my parents when they founded Eagle's Nest has stood the test of time through many advances.”

Eagle’s Nest allows campers and students to strip away the complexities of life and experience a simpler way of living. To take a deep breath of fresh mountain air, touch the towering pine trees and gaze up at the stars twinkling in the dark night sky.  

“The times that I spent lying in a field of tall grass watching the clouds roll by and letting the crickets leap across my cheek, the times that I took groups of kids wandering up the trails to find the giant Frasier Magnolia...these are forever imprinted in my mind,” says Pippin. “That land is full of variety and surprise.  I will always love it and feel that I am a part of it.”

outdoor school

Educational experiences are deeply steeped in every aspect of life at Eagle’s Nest. Myriad English, math, music and science classes teach critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and tolerance. But, those same skills are also acquired in the 12 cabins where the soft breeze permeates the screen windows, in the dining hall where the rain pounds down like drums on the roof, and in the open air Arts Arena where projects are crafted with natural materials found steps away.

“I'm often trying to live out the person Eagle’s Nest empowered me to be in the greater world,” shares Jamey Lowdermilk, “to be open, kind, creative, to be diligent and light-hearted.  I gained these values making my way through the many experiences Eagle’s Nest offers.”

Lowdermilk continues to apply these lifelong skills today, as a law student. “So much of our days are absorbed with stress driven by more stress,” says Lowdermilk. “Eagle’s Nest taught me to get to the heart of what matters. Am I contributing to meaningful work? Am I in good company? Are there opportunities for play, rest and reflection?”

Eagle’s Nest continues to serve as home to a diverse community of young people from around the world. It has welcomed students from Cuba and youth living with diabetes. Conserving this land ensures that our children and grandchildren will continue to connect with the wonders that only nature can provide.

“Eagle’s Nest is special for its commitment to authentic, lived experiences; for its commitment to the past and to growing into the future,” says Lowdermilk.  “It empowers young people to explore their unique perspectives, ideas, and curiosities while reconnecting all of us to natural rhythms and native landscapes.”

Pippin believes that without the important partnership of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Eagle’s Nest Foundation, generations of campers and students would risk losing their roots, their magic and their connection to that land.

“The intricate mushrooms that pop up in between classrooms, the rays of sunshine that drop down through the trees, the sound of the hawk circling during group activities,” shares Pippin. “These are the precious moments that will continue to fall into the laps of those who are lucky enough to walk the paths of Eagle’s Nest at 43 Hart Road.”


 

Eight Hikes. Free Gear. Save Land.

TAKE THE PARDEE & CMLC WHITE SQUIRREL HIKING CHALLENGE 4!

We've partnered with Pardee Hospital to bring you our new White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 4!

We want to take you to exciting destinations--including brand new trails and recently protected lands. The Pardee & CMLC White Squirrel Hiking Challenge encourages outdoor enthusiasts—and anyone interested in keeping western North Carolina’s mountains beautiful—to explore and discover the lands that Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has helped preserve while staying active and improving your health.

  1) Bearwallow Mountain
  2) Grassy Creek Falls
  3) Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower
  4) Headwaters State Forest
  5) Rhododendron Lake Park
  6) The Park at Flat Rock
  7) Wildcat Rock
  8) Your Choice: Float French Broad or Hike Little Bearwallow

 

Select a hike above for trailhead directions & trail descriptions

WHITE SQUIRREL HIKING CHALLENGE 4

 

                                                                          

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

About the White Squirrel

Challenge Rules

FAQs

Tips for a Successful Challenge

 


WSHC Champions who are CMLC Members* or Pardee Participants will receive a Congratulary Package upon completing the Challenge. The package includes:

  • The famous white squirrel embroidered hiking patch
  • A certificate of completion
  • Recognition in our online and print publications
  • $10 gift certificate for hiking gear at Hendersonville's Mast General Store

*Please note for CMLC participants:  You do not need to be a CMLC member to enroll and start the Hiking Challenge, but you do need to be a CMLC member to receive your Congratulatory Package.

Hike to support land conservation as, together, we continue our pursuit of saving the places you love.

Not done with Hiking Challenge 3? No problem! Click here to finish this challenge. 

Want to become a CMLC Member? Join today!


 


Click here or on the cover above to read the full volume.

In this issue:

  • A River Runs Through It: Growing up on the Green
  • Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteer Award: Cathy Cooper
  • Coming Soon to a Forest Near You: Headwaters State Forest
  • 16th Annual Conservation Celebration Successes
  • New AmeriCorps Project Conserve & Board of Trustee Members CMLC Teams Up with Boys and Girls Clubs
  • ...and More!

We are proud to present Cathy Cooper with our Yellow Lady Slipper Award in appreciation of her dedicated service and commitment to CMLC.

“If it weren’t for CMLC, I would still be searching,” admits Cathy Cooper. “CMLC has changed my life.” Cathy wanted to find like-minded people who share her passion for the outdoors. Though speaking with Cathy, it’s hard to imagine anyone as passionate about nature as she is. The sheer wonder in her voice is sure to alleviate any doubt in even the most skeptical person.

Fellow volunteers, Al and Barb, are to thank for Cathy becoming a dependable Trails Crew member. Cathy started volunteering with CMLC last winter, but her love affair with nature is a much longer relationship. She has been hiking Bearwallow for nearly 40 years. Since the trail improvements in 2010, she and her shepherd mix, Maddie, go up every single day. Cathy jokes, with a good bit of truth, that Maddie looks forward to those walks more than her food.

Nothing holds Cathy back. She is typically one of the few women attending Trail Crew days and doesn’t mind the hard work, even if she does tease Peter and the rest of the crew about trusting her to make gravel. Trails Crew seems to be the perfect fit for Cathy; she is able to joke around with the crew while enjoying the outdoors and seeing first-hand the fruits of her labor. Most people Cathy interacts with don’t fully grasp her fascination with spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors. She shares, with a laugh, that she is thankful the folks at CMLC understand.

When Cathy is not volunteering with CMLC—she can still be found outdoor—mountain biking and hiking. She hopes more people become inspired to get outside. Seeing the Trombatore Trail project was a great accomplishment. “The more trails the better,” Cathy smiles. Cathy is hopeful that the Little Bearwallow Trail will give her the same sense of reward because it would provide people with more choices and the option to make a whole weekend of exploring trails.

“Keep the Earth beautiful and go outside every chance you get, because it is ever-changing,” advises Cathy. Now, it’s up to us to discover the same passion Cathy has found with CMLC. 


Juanita Bruce pushes her kayak off the tree-covered banks of the Green River and takes a moment to soak it all in.

The three-mile stretch that she paddles is bursting with life. River cooter turtles dip into the water. Monarch butterflies flutter around. White-tailed deer bound along the shore. She has entered a green oasis and her worries are carried away with the gentle current.

“Nature provides us with an overwhelming sense of awe, beauty, security and protection,” shares Juanita. Juanita was born and raised near the Green River at Lake Adger Dam. She has spent most of her 74 years exploring its wonders.

“I was baptized in the Green River. They don’t do that much anymore,” Juanita says with a smile. It’s where her home is and where her heart is.

In the 1920s, Juanita’s grandfather moved his family from South Carolina to become the first superintendent of the newly built Lake Adger Dam and Duke Turner Shoals power plant. Her father and uncles made their livelihood at the plant as well. “Dad met my mom, a local girl, and made our home by the river,” reflects Juanita.

 

Saving the Land

In April 2016, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) partnered with Polk County Community Foundation to acquire 586 acres along the Green River, ensuring people like Juanita have a peaceful place to retreat and local wildlife have a safe place to call home.

The 586-acre property is separated into two tracts. CMLC protects a 155-acre tract located upstream of South Wilson Hill Road and a second 431-acre tract located downstream of South Wilson Hill Road was purchased by Community Green LLC, a subsidiary of Polk County Community Foundation.

We were able to purchase the smaller tract with a generous $225,000 gift from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury and a $225,000 loan from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. We have until April 2017 to pay off the loan and are seeking contributions to permanently secure the tract for conservation. 

Every Bit Counts

“We could never be more grateful for the substantial gifts made by our major donors and partners,” thanks Lynn Killian, CMLC development director. “But, no project is ever completed without the enormous generosity of an army of loyal, everyday conservation donors. The small gifts of many are just as critical to each conservation success.”

Combined, the tracts contain more than three miles of spectacular riverside frontage. It’s a beautifully dense and heavily forested area with south-facing bluffs steeply rising up from the banks.

“Saving lands and waters from development means ‘nature’s own’ can be shared by the masses as opposed to only a few,” says Juanita. “CMLC helps us connect to nature by creating trails leading us into the forest and protecting waters leading us down the valley.”

Over the years, Juanita’s family enjoyed tubing the river and when kayaks became popular, she opted for their speed, control and efficiency. “Outdoor activities give us great opportunities to enjoy the God-given beauty of nature,” shares Juanita. “It gives us great exercise, provides challenges to ‘try our wings’ and see what we can accomplish.”

A Place for Life to Thrive

The property boasts healthy populations of hemlocks—a rarity in Western North Carolina—as the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid has taken its toll across our region. The woolly adelgid is native to China and Japan, where hemlock trees possess immunity. Most hemlocks throughout the world are protected by some degree of resistance in their native ranges. Here, with no natural predators, the trees lack any defense. Without natural predators, the adelgids take over.

Three rare plant species, whorled horsehair, ashy-leafed hydrangea and climbing milkvine, also prosper in the area. Almost the entire 586 acres are second and third-growth forest and will provide a stronghold for plants and animals to adapt even as the climate changes. 

Exploring Nature’s Gifts

“Kayaking the Green River in my area is quiet with only the sounds of the rippling water over the shoals, the breeze, the birds and the critters,” says Juanita. “The views are saturated with overhanging trees, boulders, farmlands, dense forests... There are many flowering plants, untouched, unmarred.” 

The land protected by CMLC keeps those peaceful views along the river intact. We see the 155 acres as a good site for a potential future rest stop on a paddle trail that could be created along the Green River. There is legal access to South Wilson Hill Road via private roads that pass through a subdivision.

“It’s as important to protect our lands and waters for future generations as it is for the current generation—an ongoing source of livelihood, enjoyment, recreation, appreciation and education,” says Juanita. “Thank goodness CMLC works to save these awe-inspiring places.”

We plan to partner with Pacolet Area Conservancy, which has a strong presence in Polk County, to help manage the property and assist with future guided hikes and outings. Recent kayaking has stopped short of the Wilson Bridge due to lack of a safe exit. Hopes are high this acquisition will provide a safe experience for hikers, birders, photographers and paddlers alike.   

With a few easy strokes Juanita is off, drifting into a place of peace and serenity. “I love the heron leading me down the river, stopping to wait on me before flying on,” she calls over her shoulder. “This is home to me. I love it all.”

 

Read more stories of CMLC’s conserved lands.


This year, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is excited to welcome five new members of AmeriCorps Project Conserve. Over the next eleven months, each member will serve over 1,700 hours and help CMLC build and maintain countless trails, coordinate volunteers, steward conserved land, remove invasive species, educate the public, create and lead outreach programs, and plan events. 

In this 12th year of AmeriCorps Project Conserve, 32 individuals were placed in full-time service positions at 18 non-profit organizations across Western North Carolina. Each member serves at least 1,700 hours over their 11-month term. Service is focused on fulfilling environmental and conservation needs in the region. Read more about how Project Conserve began or visit the AmeriCorps Project Conserve Website

From Left to Right: Kate Lis, Jonathan Feldman, Adrienne Brown, Jen Adams and Madison Olle

 

 

Habitat Restoration Associate

Jen grew up in a small town in New Hampshire where her love for the environment first developed. She attended Elon University in North Carolina where she received a BS in Environmental and Ecological Science and a BA in International Studies with minors in Statistics and Biology. Her passion for non-profit work began when she joined a humanitarian aid organization at Elon called Periclean Scholars, which focused on youth and community development in Honduras and in the local Latino population. During Jen’s senior year, she worked on a project with the Haw River Trail and Alamance Recreation and Parks to survey exotic invasive plants along the Haw River and develop management plans for park staff.  She looks forward to using her passion and experience to serve as the Habitat Restoration Associate for CMLC this AmeriCorps term.

 

 

 

 

Community Outreach & Education Associate

Adrienne had a diverse childhood filled with experiences that cultivated a love of nature within her. Her combined interests in environmental protection and cultural studies brought her to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where she received a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in German Studies. Her childhood spent exploring WNC drew her to service with AmeriCorps Project Conserve. As Community Outreach & Education Associate, she is looking forward to using her experience in outreach to grow the local connection to CMLC and the work our organization does. In her spare time she enjoys hiking with her family and spending time on her family’s conservation easement in Pisgah Forest with her cat Uwharrie. When she is not here in WNC, she is most likely to be found in Germany. 

 

 

 

 

Trails Associate

Jonathan was born in Florida, but has lived in many other states throughout his life. He spent the last four years in North Carolina earning his bachelor’s degree from UNC-Greensboro in Recreation & Parks Management with minors in political science and geography. Since living in North Carolina he has fallen in the love with these old rugged mountains, spending many a day hiking and backpacking throughout western NC. He started his environmental stewardship career working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Green Mountain Club, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks before coming to the CMLC. Jonathan hopes to put many miles of trail on the ground and inspire more people to get outside. Also, his dog is awesome. 

 

 

 

 

Stewardship Associate

Kate Lis was born and raised in central Massachusetts. She moved to Boone, NC after high school where she realized an appetite for the great outdoors. Unsure of what to study, she decided to leave Boone as a freshman at Appalachian State University and live, work, and climb the wild Midwest of Wyoming and Colorado. There she studied a little graphic design and realized that commercialized art was not for her. In Colorado, Kate first experienced conservation work with long days on the Great Thompson River removing Russian olive trees. Recognizing her love for the more welcoming western NC Mountains, and overwhelmed by the greatness of the west, Kate returned to Boone with an interest in biology and finished her studies in Ecology, some biochemistry, and GIS. In the midst of her university education Kate worked in the outskirts of the Amazon in Ecuador for a cacao pollination study, volunteered for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and spent time in both the ASU Cliff Ecology and Plant-Insect Interactions labs helping in the field, rearing plants, genetic analysis, and chemistry work. 

 

 

 

Volunteer & Community Engagement Associate

Madison grew up in Charlotte, NC, but was ready for a change of scenery and ventured off to the Blue Ridge Mountains to attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She knew she wanted to save animals and the environment, but wasn’t sure how to do so. The road to her major changed constantly – Photojournalism, Creative Writing, Environmental Studies, New Media... She finally decided to take advantage of UNC Asheville’s option to create your own major. Through the Interdisciplinary Studies program option she received a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Individual Degree Concentration in Environmental Non-Profit Communications. During her senior year of college, she joined Brother Wolf Animal Rescue as their Operations and Outreach Intern. Madison is passionate about protecting animals, but she also wants to adventure further into the natural world as a whole. She is excited to serve as the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate with CMLC and hopes to experience more of Western North Carolina with the great people she will meet. 

 

 


Please download the current version of Internet Explorer. IE 6 is no longer supported.