News & Events: News

In December, CMLC began construction on a new section of hiking trail that connects CMLC's newly opened trailhead on Highway 74A to the 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve (FNP).  Located in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge near the hamlet of Gerton, the new section of trail will replace a steep and eroded trail that currently accesses the FNP. This new, sustainable trail will feature multiple switchbacks to improve the grade of the ascent to FNP.  The new route, open to foot traffic only, will also incorporate multiple natural and cultural points of interest as it accesses the Preserve and its five-mile hiking trail network on the slopes of Little Pisgah Mountain.  The existing trail will be closed following construction of the new access trail.  Construction of this trail re-route is scheduled to be completed in January 2012.

HIKERS: Please use extra caution. Hiking access to FNP will remain open during trail construction. However, please pay extra attention to safety while hiking to FNP during the construction process. Heavy machinery & tools are in use among the trail crew.  Stay alert and ensure your presence is known if you hike near the construction.

For directions to the trailhead, click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.4734, W-82.3320 in their units. Located off of Highway 74A, the grassy parking area is most recognizable by a rock wall and stone chimney.  Park here, making sure to leave space for other vehicles.

Florence Nature Preserve'a 600 acres harbor pristine mountain streams, old growth forest, and rock outcroppings with scenic views.  The Preserve was donated to CMLC for preservation and public access by Dr. Tom & Glenna Florence in 1996 and 2001.  FNP and its new public trailhead on Highway 74A will one day be part of the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Loop Trail that will link conserved lands at Bearwallow Mountain and Hickory Nut Gap by footpath. For more information on CMLC's Florence Nature Preserve, click here.

CMLC's Landscape Winter 2011 Issue

In this issue:

  • Saving More Than Mountains: Timeless History at Alexander's Ford Protected Forever, Forever Remembered
  • 2011 Conservation Celebration: Bringing Together Our Mountains' Finest - Photos & Thank Yous
  • Mills River: Protecting Drinking Water For Tens of Thousands
  • CMLC Oktoberfest Celebrates New Bearwallow Mountain Trail
  • Our Newest Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteers: Bill & Jerry McAninch
  • New AmeriCorps Project Conserve Members at CMLC
  • CMLC Welcomes New Staff & Family
  • Take the CMLC Hiking Challenge! 18 Challenge Completers Through October

Fill the stockings of your family & friends with mountains this year! Or enroll them in CMLC's White Squirrel Hiking Challenge for the New Year!

Gift Memberships:

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Select a level of membership below and click Buy Now
  2. Be sure to include your friend's name, address, phone number, and email.  If paying using PayPal leave this information as a note to the merchant, or call CMLC to give the additional information.
  3. Practice saying "You're welcome!" for all the "Thank yous!" you will receive for giving such a priceless gift

Don't forget to give us their address!

We will mail a welcome package to your friend including:

  • A letter of welcome from Kieran Roe, our Executive Director
  • A $20 Diamond Brand gift card (for gift memberships of $50 or more)
  • Our latest newsletter
  • Our annual report for the last year
  • General information about the organization

Membership Levels
Name of Friend

** Don't forget!  If you are a current member and you buy a gift membership for a friend at the $50 level, you both get a $20 gift card to Diamond Brand!

New and Improved Access to Florence Nature Preserve!

CMLC is proud to announce that a new trailhead for the Florence Nature Preserve is now open to the public.  Located directly on Highway 74A, the new trailhead offers convenient and scenic public access to the Florence Nature Preserve and the developing Hickory Nut Gorge Trail System.  

The new trailhead is now the only point of public access to the Preserve. When preparing for your trip to the Preserve, please plan on using this access because Kelly Hill Road and the trailheads off of it (red and blue) are now closed.

Located approximately 0.9 miles east of the Hickory Nut Gorge Community Center and Nita and Susan’s Hickory Creek Market, the new trailhead allows for more vehicle parking and provides a much more scenic route of entry into the Preserve. 

Please note that the existing trail is strenuous for a short stretch up the mountain from the trailhead.  CMLC is currently planning improvements to the existing trail that will accommodate access by a broader range of trail users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation as we continue to improve the Hickory Nut Gorge Trail System!

New Trail Map

Visit the main Florence Nature Preserve Page for more information

Thank you to everyone for Springing into Action and Running for the Hills! 

Race Results:

Overall and Age Group Winners on the main race page

CMLC Conservation Story Series

In this series, read tales of the people who live on our conserved lands, the struggles and rewards their families experienced, and the fascinating and sometimes bizarre occurrences that tied them to our mountains. Discover the heritage of the people who call these lands home.  Enjoy the memories of all those who hold these places dear.

CMLC’s protected lands possess an abundance of amazing natural features: waterfalls, scenic vistas, and striking biodiversity, to name only a few. All of these wonderful resources are highly visible to those who visit them, yet they reveal the value of the land only on its surface. Every tract has a story. Every mountain carries echoes of the past. CMLC is not simply conserving land, but also the timeless stories that they hold.

Check back reguarly for installments that will tell the stories behind CMLC’s more than 20,000 acres of protected lands in western North Carolina.

Foothills Trail Fully Protected Along The Blue Ridge

Acquisition is First Step Toward Possible Protection of 8,000 Acres in Western North Carolina
Transylvania County, N.C. (Dec. 29, 2010)The Conservation Fund today announced the $5.5 million purchase of a privately-owned 786-acre tract that represents the last, unprotected section of the storied Foothills Trail, which winds along the border between North and South Carolina. The support of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, a generous donation from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury and a $1 million grant from the Carolina Water Management Trust Fund helped make this project possible.
By protecting this land for the State of North Carolina to ultimately purchase and manage, a corridor of conserved land will be established stretching more than nine miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including key headwaters of the French Broad River. The property sits adjacent to the 43,000-acre Jocassee Gorges, acquired in 1999, through the Fund, by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. 
Preserving this property is the first phase of a potential multi-year, multi-phase effort that is contingent upon support from state and federal conservation funding programs to protect
a magnificent 8,000-acre property known as the East Fork Headwaters Tract. The tract features pristine forests, waterfalls and bogs long prized by conservationists and currently owned by former Congressman Charles Taylor and his family. Protecting this entire expanse would ensure the land is publicly available for hunting, hiking and other outdoor pursuits accessible through the property’s 100 miles of trails. The Headwaters Hunting and Fishing Club currently leases the property and manages it for hunting.
“By protecting a key nine-mile stretch of Blue Ridge crest followed by the longest yet to be protected stretch of the 70-mile Foothills Trail, The Conservation Fund has focused this first phase where the general public will get the most immediate use and good,” said R. Michael Leonard, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Conservation Fund. “Hikers will be out there enjoying the magnificent views along this ridge crest between now and the New Year, and I wish that I could join them. We will also be protecting pristine headwaters and rare plants and animals, but I am glad that this first step will provide immediate enjoyment to the people of North Carolina.”
“The completion of this initial Headwater acquisition is an exciting first step that conserves some of the most significant features of the larger tract,” said Kieran Roe, Executive Director of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. “Due to the cooperation of the Taylor family and the generosity of public and private funders, a key link in the corridor of conservation along the Blue Ridge Escarpment is now permanently protected for the benefit of North and South Carolina.”
About The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America's land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, we have helped protect nearly 7 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. We're a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient.
About The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), based in Hendersonville, N.C., helps landowners protect local land and water resources vital to western North Carolina’s natural heritage and quality of life. As a local nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the region’s natural beauty, water quality, wildlife habitat, and working landscapes, CMLC has helped to create a regional network of more than 21,000 acres of protected farm, forest, park, and natural lands since 1994. CMLC offers monthly hikes and a variety of volunteer opportunities for members and the public. More information is available by calling (828) 697-5777 or on the web at

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Fill out a remittance form (found in your newsletter, or at the CMLC office), or purchase one online here.   
  2. Be sure to include your friend's name, address, phone number, and email.  If paying using PayPal leave this information as a note to the merchant, or call CMLC to give the additional information.
  3. Practice saying "You're welcome!" for all the "Thank yous!" you will receive for giving such a priceless gift

Buy a gift membership at or above the $50 level before the end of the year and your friend gets a $20 giftcard to Diamond Brand Outdoors

In the last years, the Big Creek Lodge property has been a constant worry for local anglers. An approximately 80 acre in-holding in the Pisgah National Forest on the North Mills River, it holds key access to significant sections of the river for both angling and stocking. A change in ownership has given CMLC and TU the opportunity to protect this property! Click here for more information on how you can help our effort to keep the North Mills cold, clean and fishable.

Some quick facts about our latest land protection victory:

  • Congressman Taylor and his family have signed an agreement with CMLC and The Conservation Fund for the acquisition of their land in Transylvania County
  • Known as the East Forks Headwaters Tract, the conserved land totals 8000 acres
  • Public Benefits include
    • public access to 25 new waterfalls in the “Land of Waterfalls”
    • permanent protection of a clean drinking water supply
    • extensive hunting and fishing opportunities including access to trout streams that support native brook trout
    • a new driver for the local recreation and tourism economy
    • the preservation of habitat for some of North Carolina’s rarest wildlife species.

Click here for more information:

*Photo credit - Everette Robinson

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