News from the conservation front

out savedwaterfallHighlands-Cashiers Land Trust conserves five parcels in 2012

With the help of community members and donors, the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust will have conserved five new properties by the end of 2012.

The properties include two in Highlands, one that holds a mountain bog that is home to numerous rare plant species and another containing a forest and a waterfall. Other properties include one in Jackson County that protects more than 30 endangered plants and one that protects part of the Nantahala River in Macon County.


Nominate your favorite wildlife protector

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is accepting nominations for an award recognizing those who make outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in the state. The award is called the Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award, and nominations are open through Jan. 30.

The winner will be announced at the Commissioners’ meeting in July. The winner will join a list of seven existing winners ranging from the first, Quay himself, a volunteer and retired zoologist, to Harry LeGrand, an authority on the conservation of rare vertebrate animals and their habitats.

Those interested must fill out a form and complete an essay. Nominations from 2010 and 2011 will be automatically be considered as well, while nominations submitted prior to 2010 will be considered upon request.



Group saves land from development

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently purchased 260 acres visible from the Appalachian Trail and the overlook at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain.

Located in the middle of the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, the parcel adjoins the 225-acre Spear Top Mountain property that the organization acquired in 2011. Together, these adjoining conservation projects protect the summit and three sides of the mountain.

“This area is so special and precious, with beautiful waterfalls and many rare plants and mushrooms. It just needs to stay natural,” said landowner Laura Mitchell, who sold the property to the organization in early December.

Protecting this parcel has been a priority for SAHC since the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area was created in 2008. The newly purchased tract holds rich cove and northern hardwood forests, extending to 4,800 feet in elevation along the upper reaches of Spear Top Mountain’s western slopes. The headwaters of Justice Creek originate on the property, and tributaries of the North Toe River, a trout stream, flow through it.

SAHC plans to lead guided hikes on the property beginning in 2013.

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