Roan Mountain viewsheds protected by land trust

out carversgapA 76-acre tract along the Appalachian Trail on Roan Mountain has been permanently protected thanks to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, safeguarding scenic views and wildlife habitat.

The tract is half a mile from Carvers Gap, a popular access point for the AT and the Roan Highlands near the Tennessee line.

It is a highly visible tract fronting the state road that snakes up and over Roan Mountain, making it prime acreage at high risk for development.

“This tract has been a priority for SAHC for over 40 years, and we are thrilled to be able to conserve it,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC’s executive director. “We are so pleased that the landowners chose to sell to SAHC so that the land — and hiking experiences along the AT — will be preserved for the future.”

Gifts and loans from private philanthropists, as well as through grants from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, provided partial funding for the purchase. However, SAHC had to take out a loan to finance the purchase and is still trying to raise funds to pay it off. 

During the summer of 2013, more than 3,500 people visited the grassy balds in the Roan area by accessing the A.T. from Carvers Gap. The recently protected, bowl-shaped property is highly visible from the A.T. at Jane Bald and lies approximately 900 feet south of the trail at Engine Gap, surrounded by Pisgah National Forest. It’s part of the Audubon Society’s Roan Mountain Important Bird Area, and Carver Gap Creek, which the N.C. Division of Water Quality classifies as Trout Waters and High Quality Waters, originates on the property.

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