Born in the upstairs of the Post Office building his mom ran in Crabtree, Robert Williams, now 87, has always called Haywood County home.
His dad was in the cattle business, and when the family moved to Canton during Williams’ childhood, chores such as feeding cattle, splitting wood and tending the fire kept Williams busy. But his grandfather William Silver’s 1,800-acre tract in the Plott Balsams, while also technically a workplace, provided a respite from the busyness of day-to-day life. Silver and his son — Williams’ uncle — ranged cattle up there, and in the summers Williams would join them.
A 35-acre tract of forested land next to the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Haywood-Jackson countyline in Balsam has been protected thanks to work of the Conservation Trust of North Carolina and the help of private donors and land conservation champions, Fred and Alice Stanback.
Ownership of the tract will be transferred to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Mount Lyn Lowry is known for the lighted cross that can be seen at night when driving through Balsam on U.S. 23-74. The tract is near Waterrock Knob around milepost 450 and is highly visible when traveling that section of the Parkway.
“The Mount Lyn Lowry property is small in size, but large in importance to the region’s wildlife habitat and spectacular natural beauty,” said Reid Wilson, director of the Conservation Trust.
Part of Mount Lyn Lowry remains in private hands and is dotted with homes.
In addition to bordering the Parkway, the tract is directly across from The Nature Conservancy’s 1,700-acre Plott Balsams Preserve, which links Waterrock Knob and Sylva’s Pinnacle Park.
Funds for the $200,000 bargain purchase of the tract were provided by Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury. The property was brought to Conservation Trust attention by the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee.
Map of tract and photos can be downloaded at ctnc.smugmug.com/News/Richland-Creek-Headwaters.