All Current News, Events and Hikes

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!

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of CMLC’s own Florence Nature Preserve, including rock outcrops, unusual plant communities, and a rushing stream that traverses the 600-acre property on the slopes of Little Pisgah Mountain. The Preserve was donated to CMLC by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Florence as a means of protecting its unique natural heritage qualities for future generations.

This will be a moderately strenuous 4-mile hike from our new entrance point on US-74, much of it along a beautiful mountain stream. There is a rather steep climb early and another steep climb just before our lunch spot at a rock formation with a good view of Hickory Nut Gorge. Areas of interest include an old foundation on a spur of the Buncombe Turnpike, rhododendron grove, Southern Appalachian forest, chestnut trees, and a rock overlook. Long pants, waterproof boots and a hiking stick are recommended, in addition to the usual water and snacks or lunch. Please, do not bring dogs on this hike. The hike will last about 3 hours.

To sign up, please email or call (828)697-5777x211


CMLC's Annual Holiday Party

Tuesday, December 6th, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Salon Blue Ridge
(Architectural Warehouse & Showroom)

518 S. Allen Road (off of Upward Road)
Limited space, please RSVP by Thursday, December 1st


Join CMLC for a festive evening as we wrap up a successful 2011! Attendees enjoy wine, hors d'oeuvres and live jazz guitar by Dan Keller.

This year's holiday gathering is a true FRIEND-RAISER as follows:

$25 per for CMLC members

$35 per for CMLC non-members

FREE for CMLC members that bring a non-member as guest**

**You, members of your household and your non-member guest are welcomed gratis if you will kindly encourage that your guest become acquainted with CMLC's mission to conserve a regional network of locally and nationally significant farm, forest, park and natural lands. How can you know if your guest is a non-member? Simply ask! Email Kristin Harkey at

To sign up for this year's friendraiser, click here!


Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy for an extremely strenuous 3-mile hike on the East Fork Headwaters section of the Foothills Trail. This is a CMLC Hiking Challenge Hike. The hike is an out and back involving roughly 1,200 feet of elevation gain. This hike is recommended for experienced hikers only, and attendees are advised to wear proper hiking gear. CMLC began conservation efforts on the East Fork Headwaters in 2010, and the land we will be hiking on is the first section of conserved land in the area. CMLC Land Protection Director Tom Fanslow will be along to answer questions about this keystone property. If you’re up to the challenge, please join us!

Space is limited, so email or call (828)697-5777x211 to reserve your spot today! Children 12 and over are welcome to join our hikes. We unfortunately cannot accomodate dogs at this time.

Join CMLC atop the scenic summit of Bearwallow Mountain to celebrate conservation successes in the Hickory Nut Gorge and the opening of our new Bearwallow hiking trail with food, fun, and fall foliage!  Admission is free! RSVP today to join us!

 How to Get to the Top of the Mountain

Click here to enter your address and receive turn-by-turn directions to the trailhead. GPS users may enter N35.4607, W-82.3681 in their units. The trailhead is at the crest of Bearwallow Mountain Rd. where the pavement turns to gravel. Signs will direct you to a parking area set up at the Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain. From there, volunteers will help shuttle you to the start of the trail.
Once inside the gate, locate the trail to the right of the gravel road.  The path switchbacks up the mountain slopes to arrive at the grassy meadow summit in one mile.   Alternatively, hike up the gravel access road to reach the summit in 0.75 miles. Or consider using this road for your descent after the event, making a loop hike.

When To Come

Bearwallow Oktoberfest begins at 4:00pm, so consider beginning your hike to the summit in advance to allow plenty of time to reach the top.
A CMLC guided hike will begin from the trailhead at 3:30 or 4:15pm if you wish to walk to the top with a group.
The celebration goes until 7:00pm, when the sun is due to set (bring a headlamp for the walk down).

What You Should Bring

-A picnic blanket and/or a camp chair (chairs can be shuttled to the top by our vehicle while you hike)
-Wear boots or sturdy shoes due to the steep terrain of the trail
-Consider layers of clothing for the changing temperatures at the top of the mountain as the sun goes down
-A headlamp or flashlight to walk down in the dark if you choose to stay at the summit for the sunset

Raffle for Free Outdoor Gear! 

Enter our raffle to win a REI Half Dome 2 tent ($179.00 retail value) or a mountain bike from Bikeways!  Raffle tickets are $5 each or 10 for $20.

This is a Free Event, but RSVP to Let Us Know You're Coming

Click here to RSVP to the Bearwallow Oktoberfest event on Saturday October 15, 2011 *Rain Date: Sunday October 16th same time, same place!


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

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