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Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:36

Get outdoors and support land conservation

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Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is challenging outdoor enthusiasts to support land conservation simply by hiking. The Hiking Challenge encourages all those who enjoy the beauty of Western North Carolina’s mountains to explore and discover the breathtaking scenery of the conservancy’s preserved lands, up close and personal.

By completing eight hikes on the conserved lands, hikers can earn rewards while having fun outdoors. Hikes range from easy to moderate difficulty, and are between one and four miles in length.  

Completers of the eight hikes will earn a badge of honor: the conservation’s exclusive white squirrel embroidered hiking patch. The white squirrel represents the local wildlife oddity unique to Henderson and Transylvania counties, the conservation’s primary protection areas. Those who complete the challenge will also earn a $20 gift certificate for free hiking gear at the Hendersonville location of the Mast General Store.

Hikes may be completed at the participant’s own pace and schedule, and there is no deadline to complete the eight hikes. Challenge hikes may be completed individually or as part of monthly guided outings led by conservation staff and volunteers.

The challenge hikes include scenic locations such as the 360-degree view from the summit of Bearwallow Mountain, and the old growth forests of the conservation’s 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve. Also featured in the challenge are seven waterfalls, including the newly opened Connestee Falls Park near Brevard and three waterfalls in DuPont State Forest.

Participants have the opportunity to hike within private conservation properties otherwise not open to the public, such as the 3,100-acre Green River Preserve. www.carolinamountain.org/hikingchallenge

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