News & Events: News

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

We invite you to share your stories of how the natural world has enhanced or changed your life.  CMLC will share your story with the community and other members.  Lend your voice to conservation and send an email with your story, and pictures to:

State Rep. Chuck McGrady is the recipient of an award given by North Carolina’s 24 land trusts to a public official who has been a critical part of land and water protection in the state.   The award is given to a public official who leads efforts to protect the state’s streams and lakes, forests, farms, parkland and wildlife habitat, thereby protecting clean drinking water and air, local food, outdoor recreation, and North Carolina’s unique natural heritage. 

The award was presented in February at the board meeting of Blue Ridge Forever, a consortium of 13 partnering land trusts with a goal to protect 50,000 acres in western North Carolina.  Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and the Conservation Trust of North Carolina and nominated McGrady for the award.

In his very first year as a member of the General Assembly in 2011, Chuck McGrady of Henderson County spearheaded legislation that for years has been high on the list of priorities for North Carolina’s land trusts. House Bill H350 called for greater uniformity and consistency in exempting land owned by land trusts from local property taxes.

McGrady worked diligently to build consensus on H350 with the NC Association of County Commissioners, the NC Tax Assessors Association and the NC Department of Revenue, all of whom had previously opposed the legislation. He also worked closely with the House and Senate leadership to prevent amendments that would have weakened the bill. The measure was passed in both chambers by wide margins and was signed into law by Gov. Beverly Perdue.

“In a session marked by a change in power and priorities, North Carolina land trusts needed an energetic friend with strong ties to leaders in both chambers,” said Kieran Roe, executive director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. “Chuck McGrady provided that service, carrying on a longstanding tradition of conservation leadership within the ‘Teddy Roosevelt wing’ of the Republican Party.”

McGrady’s conservation work is based on long experience, including serving on the board of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund and as chair of its Acquisitions Committee. He was a founder, past president and long-time supporter of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). He also served as executive director of the North Carolina Youth Camp Association and is director emeritus of Falling Creek Camp, a boys’ summer camp in Tuxedo, N.C. In addition to his ongoing support of CMLC, he has been a volunteer leader for numerous conservation groups including John Muir Foundation, Muddy Sneakers, N.C. Forest Council, Friends of DuPont Forest and the American Camp Association. He served for seven years on the national board of directors of the Sierra Club, including as president from 1998 to 2000.

For more information on Chuck McGrady visit or find him on Facebook.

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