News & Events: News

As of early 2016, Pardee Hospital has become the proud sponsor of the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge, partnering with CMLC to both enhance the community through conservation and stewardship of the land and to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles. Through this partnership, CMLC hopes to provide to the Pardee community the opportunity to learn about the places everyone loves while giving them a fresh way to stay healthy as they hike the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge's 8 hikes. 

Thank you Pardee for your generosity. With your sponsorship of the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge, we will work together to create wonderful outcomes throughout the community.

Pardee Hospital is a non-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds and has several locations separate from the main campus, including a comprehensive physician practice network, two urgent care locations, and five orthopedic clinics.

Pardee encourages everyone to take advantage of all that the region has to offer in terms of getting active, maintaining a healthy weight, and being well. For more information about Pardee Hospital, visit, or visit for assistance in finding a physician. 

Pardee Signature Care
800 North Justice Street - Hendersonville, NC 28791 - 828.692.4600

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy enhances community through conservation and stewardship of the land. CMLC protects land and water resources vital to our quality of life in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. Dedicated to saving the places you love, we work to permanently conserve and actively care for a regional network of farms, forests, parks, and natural lands among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge, and French Broad River Watershed. By working with landowners and partnering with local organizations, CMLC strives to continually better our community by safe-guarding clean drinking water, establishing new parks, protecting rare species, building public trails, preserving cultural history, and maintaining our mountain's natural scenic beauty.

Sign up for Pardee & CMLC White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 3 today! Also, be on the lookout for information about the exciting release of White Squirrel Hiking Challenge 4, to be formally announced soon and released in September 2016! If you have questions about the Hiking Challenge, please visit You can also call the office at 828-697-5777 or email Corinne Fretwell at


Ready to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, colorful flowers, and amazing views with CMLC? Check out our list of Spring and Summer guided hike opportunities! Keep an eye on our home page as hike descriptions and sign ups are posted or check back here to click on linked hikes below. 

Spring and Summer CMLC hikes:


The Bearwallow Mountain Trail will be reopened Sunday, April 10th after being closed due to weather damage. Thank you to everyone who helped us protect this special trail by using the gravel road to reach the summit while the trail was closed. 

Thank you for your patience and for respecting and protecting this special place!

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) is seeking applications from eligible Brevard High School seniors for the Ruth Jones Memorial Scholarship.

The Ruth Jones Scholarship was established in 2015 by CMLC in honor of life-long Transylvania County resident and Brevard High School graduate Ruth Elaine Jones.

Jones passed away in June 2011, leaving us suddenly—and far too early—at the age of 56. Ruth will be missed, but her legacy—and embodiment of her values—will forever live on. Bequeathing her estate to CMLC, the local land trust ensured the permanent protection of the rural character and natural beauty of her Cedar Mountain farm via a conservation easement in 2014.

“Ruth devoted her life to her church, her community, her friends, and her parents, never asking for or expecting anything in return,” said Brevard resident Mark Tooley, Ruth’s friend. “She always had a smile on her face.”

CMLC also created the Ruth Jones Scholarship in dedication to her love of the outdoors, her appreciation of the natural world, and her career in giving to her community and helping to educate others.

The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to selected individuals attending an accredited university, college, or technical college, who wish to pursue a four-year degree in health or environmental sciences, including but not limited to: biology, environmental science, health education, pre-medicine, nursing, agriculture, forestry, natural resource conservation, or wildlife science.

The award shall emphasize academic achievement but will also include participation in extra-curricular activities and community service that exemplify Ruth’s service to others.  Applicants must also show a demonstrated desire to continue educational pursuits in one of the fields listed above.

The Ruth Jones scholarships awarded through this program are intended to benefit bona fide residents of Transylvania County and graduates of Brevard High School.

The scholarship award may be used only at an accredited institution of higher learning. The monetary value of a scholarship given to a student attending college shall be a one-time award of $1,500.

Application deadline for the 2016 scholarship cycle is Friday, March 11.

To apply, contact Jenita Pace, Guidance Counselor, in-person at Brevard High School or by calling 828-885-7330.

CMLC has protected more than 30,000 acres of lands that you love—and need—along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, French Broad River Valley, Hickory Nut Gorge, and beyond since its inception in 1994. 

The Spring edition of The Leaflet includes recaps of recent Project Conserve programming--the Appalachian Culture Peer Training, MLK Day of Service, and the Life After AmeriCorps Member Retreat. You can also check out upcoming events on the Project Conserve calendar as well as see the incredible progress this year's AmeriCorps Project Conserve members have made on this term's project goals!

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving Western North Carolina for an 11 month service term. Project Conserve was founded in 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in western North Carolina. The program focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations, community groups, and local governments to provide service throughout the region. Find out more by visiting the Project Conserve website.


Learn about Hemlock Restoration and CMLC! We now have a page dedicated to hemlock restoration and the biological control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Read about what hemlock restoration entails and how CMLC is involved in this important effort. You can find the page here or by clicking the "Hemlock Restoration" page listed under the "Landowner Resources" button within the navigation bar at the top of this page. 

Click here or on the cover above to read the full volume

In this issue:

  • Leaving a Legacy of the Land: Honoring the Life of Ruth Jones
  • Welcome New AmeriCorps Project Conserve & Board of Trustee Memebers
  • Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteer Award: Howard McDonald 
  • Get Involved with CMLC: Calendar of Events

By Beth De Bona
Times-News Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 9:01 a.m.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has been awarded $100,000 in grant monies from Duke Energy for its Sitton Creek Protection and Restoration project in the Mills River watershed.

CMLC was one of 13 nonprofit organizations in North and South Carolina to receive portions of the $1 million earmarked for 2015 from Duke Energy's Water Resources Fund. The recipients were announced Wednesday by Duke Energy.

“We're excited to receive the Duke Energy grant for our Sitton Creek project,” said Kieran Roe, executive director of CMLC. “The grant will help protect and restore the quality of the Mills River watershed, a source of drinking water serving hundreds of thousands of users in Henderson and Buncombe counties in North Carolina.”

This is the first grant CMLC has received from Duke Energy, which established the fund in September 2014 with eight seed grants; 15 inaugural grants were distributed in March.

CMLC's project is based along the Sitton Creek tributary, located north of the North Mills River. The project is designed to protect water quality and will additionally expand public access to the area by adding 178 acres to Pisgah National Forest.

Roe said the added acreage is a key component to the project, as it will connect an outparcel of forest to the main body of the National Forest.

The project also includes planning for protection of about 150 additional acres, comprising acreage on each side of Sitton Creek that would be placed under conservation easements.

“If everything comes to pass as we hope, then this grant will allow us to protect acreage around Sitton Creek,” said Roe.

Duke Energy has committed to a $10 million, multi-year commitment for its Water Resources Fund. It aims to support nonprofits in their work to “protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states,” according to a news release.

Recipients are selected by an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees. Twenty-three projects in the region are already benefiting from the fund.

“Local organizations are vital to protecting waterways across the Carolinas,” said Shawn Heath, vice president of The Duke Energy Foundation and Community Affairs. “Already, we're seeing good things happen due to this fund, including a new nature preserve that recently opened in Wake County and a streambank that was restored in Watauga County. These are projects that will have a lasting impact on the environment for decades to come.” 

Reach De Bona at or 828-694-7890 

Read about graduation and the end of last year's service term in AmeriCorps Project Conserve's Leaflet Newsletter. See where the new 2015-2016 class of AmeriCorps members are serving and learn about the Project Conserve events that are making a difference throughout western North Carolina.

You can also check out the Project Conserve 2014-2015 Impact Report, which displays the goals and exceeding results of the last AmeriCorps term. 

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving Western North Carolina for an 11 month service term. Project Conserve was founded in 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in western North Carolina. The program focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations, community groups and local governments to provide service throughout the region. Find out more by visiting the Project Conserve website.

Please be advised that Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is partnering with the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS) to conduct a controlled burn in Florence Nature Preserve. This burn will occur on a single day between November 2015 and late March 2016. The date will be determined based on weather conditions and will be announced 1-3 days in advance. The burn will directly affect the northern portion of Florence Nature Preserve (see map below) but the entire property, including all trails and Little Pisgah Road, will be closed on the day of the burn.
Benefits of Controlled Burns:
  • Reduce the accumulation of fuels and therefore the risk posed to people and property from an uncontrolled fire
  • Promote species diversity, ecosystem health, and help control invasive species
  • Create openings in the canopy stimulating growth of oak and other beneficial species 
Safety is the #1 Priority of Every Controlled Burn Managers consider the safety of people, property, and the resource they are managing. This burn has been carefully planned by CMLC & NCFS, and the NCFS has prepared a burn plan for smoke & fire control. Florence Nature Preserve trails will be used as firebreaks. NCFS & CMLC have prepared these trails to ensure that the fire does not leave the burn area. NCFS personnel will be on property until the fire is completely out.
For more information please contact Sarah Fraser at CMLC: 828-697-5777 ext. 209; or Lee Wicker at NCFS: 828-891-3957

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