News & Events: News


Eight Hikes. Free Gear. Save Land.


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






About the White Squirrel

Challenge Rules


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!


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. 



Thank you to everyone who made our 16th Annual Conservation Celebration a success! More than 350 folks joined us on Saturday, August 27th at

Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain Lodge to celebrate and share our beautiful lands and waters saved by YOU!


Help us make our 2017 event even better. Please take five minutes to complete this confidential survey

Event Featured:

Live and silent auctions

Click here to view auction items.

2016 Trip Raffle Drawing 

Click here to learn more about the trip raffle

Music by Grammy-nominated White Water Blue Grass Co.

Food by Chef Michael Catering

Guided pre-celebration hike around Grand Highlands 


Click here for driving directions to Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain Lodge

(Now including directions from Brevard!)

Become a Sponsor or Donate an Auction Item for CMLC's Conservation Celebration:

Guardians of the Green Business Membership and Pledge Form

Individual Sponsorship Opportunities & Individual Sponsorship Pledge Form

Give a huge welcome to CMLC's new Communications and Marketing Manager, Katie Onheiber!

Katie will be developing and implementing marketing and communications plans to inspire and engage people throughout the community. 

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Katie has slowly made her way east. She brings public relations, marketing, visual communications, fundraising and journalism experience in environmental conservation, outdoor recreation and sustainability to CMLC.

Katie earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon. She has worked to strengthen engagement for a variety of non-profits, including conserving open space, wildlife habitat and iconic views for the Crested Butte Land Trust and increasing opportunities for people with cognitive and physical disabilities to participate in outdoor recreation at the Adaptive Sports Center. Katie is passionate about connecting people to nature and fostering an appreciation for its wonders. When not at CMLC, Katie can be found exploring the beautiful mountains of WNC with her partner Grant and their pup Bowie.

Activist and self-trained botanist helped to launch Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

“Her ready and slightly mischievous smile,” said Kieran Roe, “was the first thing that struck me about Anne Ulinski.”

We will now miss that smile dearly. Ulinski passed away earlier this month at the age of 94. But we have many reasons to smile ourselves when remembering the profound impact that she had on our region.

“I really wanted to be a part of the community,” Ulinski told the Times-News when she moved to Hendersonville in 1981. “Because this is my community now.”

Ulinski, a longtime Hendersonville resident and community activist, lived a life defined by public service, optimism and compassion. She drove a Red Cross truck transporting wounded soldiers during World War II. She volunteered in clinics while living in Italy and Liberia. She tutored underprivileged children her first several years in Hendersonville. She was a mother of five.

"She was an amazing woman," said Carol Freeman, Ulinski’s first child, of Hendersonville.

"In getting to know Anne, I felt I’d met a kindred spirit,” added Roe, executive director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). “She had a driving passion for places of beauty and inspiration in this region.”

"She loved the mountains and the natural beauty of Western North Carolina,” said Freeman. “But when she first came down here, many would now be surprised that she couldn’t really identify any plants.”

A lifelong voracious learner, the region’s beauty inspired Ulinski to become a self-trained botanist. She then became a particularly active member of the Western Carolina Botanical Club.

Ulinski’s increasing love of the natural world led her to extensively monitor and document plants at several locations in the county, including Jackson Park, Mud Creek, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, and Historic Johnson Farm.

In 1991, she became involved in a grassroots community effort to locate and identify the diverse flora and fauna for the entire county. She and peers raised funds to hire a biologist to produce what became the Natural Heritage Inventory of Henderson County.

Once documentation was complete, a small group that included Ulinski decided to take the initiative one step further. Seeking to protect the rarest occurrences of plants and their habitats identified within the inventory, she and a group led by Lela McBride set forth to establish a local land trust.

That small group soon became the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. Ulinski wrote one of the first checks to the organization so that it could establish a bank account and become official.

During one of those early meetings that led to its formation, McBride tapped Ulinski on the shoulder and whispered into her ear, granting her the job of secretary of their committee. It was a symbolic gesture bestowing Ulinski with responsibility to take the reins of the organization and move it forward.

“It was like the passing of the baton,” said Freeman. “For the next five years, she ran the organization out of the trunk of her car.”

CMLC hired Roe, its first — and for several years its only — paid staff member in 1999.

“Anne had left the board shortly before then, but was still very attached to the work of the organization for which she had been responsible for initiating,” Roe recalled. “She would stop by the office occasionally and cheerfully provide leads and suggestions. Anne’s gentle and steady encouragement helped me begin to understand the goals and priorities of the fledgling land trust she had helped get off the ground a few years earlier.

“I got the sense that Anne was most happy getting good work done rather than sitting in board meetings. In fact, she had initiated discussions with Tom and Glenna Florence, acquaintances through the botany club, that led to their decision to donate their 600-acre property in Gerton to CMLC, one of the organization’s first conservation projects.“

Ulinski’s dedication to the new land trust continued to be fueled by her love of native plants. Of the many locales she botanized, she most loved to explore the Oklawaha Bog behind the Chanteloup Estates neighborhood where she resided.

The bog became one of the most sacred of all places to Ulinski. “She would walk there every day,” said Freeman.

Eventually it was discovered that the bog contained the bunched arrowhead flower, one of the rarest plants in not just the county, but the entire nation. Ulinski was particularly hopeful that CMLC, the land trust that she helped establish to protect significant natural heritage, could do just that: save the Oklawaha Bog.

“She told me that she was not going to die until that land was protected,” Freeman said.

After many years of working toward its conservation, CMLC and partners purchased the bog for permanent protection in 2010. To return the property to its original wetland and stream habitat as well reestablish a thriving population of bunched arrowhead, the partners coordinated its full restoration several years later.

“I was very happy that Anne was still able to witness the conservation and restoration of the place most near and dear to her,” said Roe. “It felt like a happy ending to a story that Anne had started 15 years earlier. It was a fitting example of cooperation and persistence that Anne had first brought to CMLC as founder and role model.”

Because Ulinski’s heath declined in recent years, she was less able to keep up with the ongoing conservation work of the organization that she had helped start. But when Freeman relayed the recent milestone of 30,000 protected acres, Ulinski was teeming with pride and elation.

“It was just beyond what she could imagine,” said Freeman. “CMLC’s work was near and dear to her heart. She told me, ‘This is the most important work I have ever done.’”

Prior to Ulinski’s death, CMLC honored her with the naming of another recently conserved and restored mountain bog in Flat Rock. Appropriately, the Anne Ulinski Bog also hosts the bunched arrowhead flower.

Three and a half decades after she arrived in Western North Carolina, Anne more than achieved her original goal. She became, and will forever remain, an inseparable part of our community. She had 30,000 reasons for that mischievous smile.

by Peter Barr, CMLC Trails & Outreach Coordinator

Read more stories of CMLC’s conserved lands at 

We are proud to present Jordan Luff with our Yellow Lady Slipper Award in appreciation of his dedicated service and commitment to CMLC.

The desire to make “positive, restorative change in our ecosystems” drives Jordan Luff in everything that he does. Jordan began volunteering for CMLC last year after a stewardship workday with his Haywood Community College natural resources class. For Jordan, this experience was a game changer, because he quickly became one of our most dependable volunteers out in the field.  Every time he “enters the forest with CMLC,” Jordan is “motivated by the difference that is made; the fruit of our efforts is the most rewarding feeling.” In his time with CMLC, Jordan has definitely been a part of some great efforts.

With the guidance of David Lee, Natural Resources Manager, and Jack Henderson, AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate, Jordan was able to take on an independent project—tackling the non-native invasive Reed Canary Grass at Lewis Creek Nature Preserve. To Jordan, non-native invasive species are “one of the most serious ecological issues” in our region and in the world, and he is doing his part to protect and restore our regions’ natural lands, not only at Lewis Creek, but through his regular attendance at other stewardship workdays.

Jordan relocated from Atlanta to western North Carolina with his family in 2002 and has been involved in outdoor and environmental activities ever since. In addition to being an outdoorsman, Jordan is a talented musician whose band just returned from a tour in Europe.  In August, he is leaving WNC to pursue his Bachelors, and later his Masters, in Forestry at NC State. We will miss him and his constant enthusiasm and eagerness, but we wish him the best in his future. Thank you, Jordan!


New CMLC Hats, both Baseball Cap and Trucker style, are available upon donation!

Show support for Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy while wearing a really cool new hat! Hats, as well as our Original T-Shirt, Fitted T-Shirt, Bandanas, Stickers/Car Decals, and more are available upon donation HERE. Then, just click on "Visit Our Shop." 


You can also click on the "Donate/Join CMLC" box at the top of this page and then click "Visit Our Shop."


Baseball Caps: Traditional cap style with full-head cloth cover. Patch on front. 100% organic cotton.

Trucker Hats: Front 1/3 of the hat with the CMLC patch is full cloth. Back 2/3 is mesh to allow for air flow and is an off white/light beige color. 70% organic cotton and 30% recycled polyester.

Both styles are Econscious brand and come in either navy blue or light brown. The CMLC patch is the same on both hats and are bright, eye catching, and saturated with CMLC's colors. Both hats are durable with a good feel and are unisex.

Both the Baseball Cap and Trucker Hat are one size fits all and adjustable. 

*Donations for CMLC gear/gifts do not include, or take the place for, a CMLC membership.

Thank you sincerely for all of your support

It is the members, volunteers, and supporters like yourselves that truly help CMLC save the places we all love.

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

In this issue:

  • Letter from the Executive Director
  • Learning from the Land: Sisters, CMLC Protects 410 Acres, Creates Teaching & Research Reserve
  • 16th Annual Conservation Celebration - August 27th
  • CMLC Teams Up with Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteer Award: Jordan Luff
  • New French Broad River Access in Horse Shoe
  • ...and More!

A new section of Hendersonville's Oklawaha Greenway was recently opened, creating a three-mile-long paved walkway through meadows, wetlands, and forests, linking Jackson Park, Patton Park, and Berkley Park. The potential future route of the greenway includes connecting the Village of Flat Rock Park to the Blue Ridge Community College, and then continuing up through the three aforementioned parks. If everything goes according to plan, the Oklawaha Greenway should be around 7 miles one way. 

Also, over the next several months, the Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway will introduce "Oklawaha Greenway Walks and Talks," a series of educational outings for the whole family.

August 20: Fall Wild Flower Walk with Michelle Skeele, trained naturalist, and Penny Longhurst, President of the Western Carolina Botanical Club

September 10: Clean Water Walk with Philip Ellis, environmental engineer, and Evan Parker of MountainTrue

October 8: Migratory Bird Walk with Cherie Pittillo, member of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society's Board of Directors

All walks start at 10:00 am. For more information about "Walks and Talks Along the Greenway," contact Jack Robinson, Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway, at 828-335-2479 or

Presented by:                      


To learn more about the Oklawaha Greenway and the "Walks and Talks" series, click here.

Want to read the Times-News article? Click here.

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