News & Events: News

In April 2016, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) closed on the purchase of 586 acres along the Green River near Mill Spring for $1.75 million.  The property was purchased from Green River Cooper Properties, LLC, a Charlotte-based real estate investment company, which bought the tract from HomeTrust Bank in 2014.  A residential subdivision had been planned for the property prior to the recession of 2008-2009.

The 586-acre property is separated into two tracts – a 155-acre tract located upstream of South Wilson Hill Road and a 431-acre tract located downstream of South Wilson Hill Road.  Polk County Community Foundation purchased the larger tract, as reported in the Tryon Daily Bulletin on May 24th. This purchase by PCCF, through its subsidiary Community Green LLC, provided the majority of funding to enable the overall acquisition.  CMLC retains ownership of the 155-acre tract.  The organizations will work together to conserve and manage the property and plan for potential future public access and use.  They anticipate reaching out to other local organizations that might have interest in the stewardship and recreational use of the property.  Until further notice, the tracts will remain closed to public use.

According to PCCF president and CEO Elizabeth Nager, "We are grateful to CMLC for arranging to acquire the smaller tract for its purposes because this enabled our entity to acquire the large tract for the long term benefit of our Polk County community.”

Funding for CMLC’s purchase of the smaller tract was provided by a $225,000 gift from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, NC and a $225,000 loan from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. 

Combined, the tracts contain over three miles of frontage along the Green River.  The tracts are almost entirely forested and contain south-facing bluffs that rise steeply up from the riverfront.  The property is home to healthy and intact populations of hemlocks, which have been extensively impacted elsewhere across western North Carolina by the hemlock woolly adelgid.

“Some have said this land is remote, “says CMLC Land Protection Director Tom Fanslow.  “By making this purchase today, we are trying to anticipate future needs for open land and recreation.  With just over 3 miles of frontage on the Green River, we couldn’t let this one slip by.”

CMLC has entered into a management agreement with Community Green LLC (CGLLC) under which it has assumed responsibility for managing CGLLC’s land.  CMLC will control unpermitted use of the property, manage its natural resources, and work with community groups to arrange for permitted use and access consistent with the goals of stewardship, conservation and compatible recreation.  Under the series of recent absentee owners, informal public use of the property has taken place.  CMLC seeks to establish contact with such users and to enlist the cooperation of parties interested in helping to monitor and manage the tract.

Established in 1989, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has worked in Polk County to protect and conserve natural resources with emphasis on the lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds.  The organization has protected nearly 8,700 acres to date.

As a local land trust that has long served Polk County, PAC has offered its assistance to CMLC in carrying out the management of the newly-protected Green River land.  The two organizations will work closely together to inventory the property’s natural resources and plan for future guided hikes and outings. 

“We are thrilled that these important natural resource areas—which create a riparian buffer and watershed protection for the Green River and provide important habitat for our native flora and fauna—have been forever protected, and we’re equally excited to work with CMLC in stewarding this land and providing more valued recreational opportunities in Polk County,” states PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina.

AmeriCorps Project Conserve 2016-2017 position descriptions are up! This CMLC program places members in service with one of 18 host site organizations working to protect the unique natural resources of the southern Blue Ridge Mountain region. Each member will serve 1,700 hours during an 11 month term, from September 1st through July 31st.  During their terms of service, members will promote conservation through education, volunteerism and direct service. In addition to serving on individual projects outlined by partnering sites, members participate in 1 to 3 required trainings and service days with the full Project Conserve team. Trainings may cover a broad range of topics including conflict resolution, forest management, trail construction, invasive plant identification, and disaster preparedness.


Project Conserve Applicants must:

  • Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of service
  • Be available between September 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 and commit to full-time service
  • Consent to a criminal history check and be cleared for service
  • Meet minimum education requirements (see individual service descriptions for specific requirements)
  • Additional qualifications for each position are listed in the individual service descriptions
  • Essential functions for each position are listed in the individual service descriptions


Woman Raking

Members earn a living stipend of $12,530 over the 11-month term of service (Please be aware that the living stipend is taxed when you are budgeting living expenses). Upon successful completion of the program, each member will also receive an education award of $5,775. This award can be used to pay off existing school loans or apply for future education. Other benefits include health insurance and childcare assistance.

The policy and intent of CMLC and AmeriCorps Project Conserve is to provide equal employment opportunity to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, sex or age, or other status protected by law. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. AmeriCorps Project Conserve will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with known mental / physical disabilities. Application materials are available in large-print format upon request.

Applications are due by June 1st!

See the full AmeriCorps Project Conserve Website

View the 2016-2017 position descriptions

Learn how to apply and see the application timeline

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

In this issue:

  • Letter from the Executive Director and CMLC's Strategic Objectives
  • 2016 Additions of Protected Lands: 30,000 Acre Milestone
  • Annual Report and Thanks to our Donors
  • Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteer Award: Brenda Hillyer 
  • Get Involved with CMLC: Calendar of Events
  • ...and More!


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

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