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Help us celebrate and maintain the beauty of Pisgah National Forest!

CMLC is partnering with the Pisgah Conservancy and many other organizations for Pisgah Pride Day 2016. 

What is Pisgah Pride Day?

Pisgah Pride Day is a new event focusing on volunteerism in the Pisgah Ranger District (PRD) on National Public Lands Day. The Pisgah Conservancy is sponsoring this day in hopes to instill a new pride in how the public owners and users of Pisgah take care of the forest and the facilities within it. As a public land, it's our forest, and it's our responsibility to take care of it!

Volunteers will be working at various sites within the PRD with a team leader from 9AM-2PM on Saturday, September 24th. All volunteers will receive a goody bag courtesy of The Pisgah Conservancy and a T-Shirt for the event!

Following the service day, volunteers can get together afterward for a post-service gathering at Oskar Blues Brewery. 

All are welcome! 

For more information or to sign-up, please see The Pisgah Conservancy's FAQ and sign-up page. Please put "CMLC" in the comments section of your sign-up!

For other questions or concerns, please contact the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate at 


Get outdoors with CMLC on Saturday, September 17th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm in the beautiful Upper Hickory Nut Gorge.

We will be working in Florence Nature Preserve in Gerton, NC. This property is owned by CMLC and monitored and maintained by CMLC staff and a group of volunteers.

Primarily, workdays at FNP involve removing non-native invasive plants by cutting with hand-tools and then applying herbicide or by hand-pulling small invasives. Other forest management projects are also undertaken depending on the needs of the property at that time, such as debris clearing from trails, stream monitoring, or weed-whacking of the meadow area.

This preserve has around 6 miles of public access trails and provides a great opportunity for people to get out into nature!

Training will be provided on site. All protective equipment and some light snacks and drinks (such as granola bars and tea or water) will be provided.

What to bring: 
Lunch or snacks 
Water bottle 
Long pants and sleeves
Closed toe shoes 
Hat (optional)
Work gloves (if you have them) 
Rain gear (just in case) 
Emergency contact information (also, just in case!)

To sign up, please contact Madison, the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate at

Go outside with CMLC on Friday, September 16th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm!

The primary purpose of the monthly Lewis Creek workdays is to restore habitat, remove non-native invasive species, and maintain the walking trail at CMLC's Lewis Creek Nature Preserve near Edneyville, NC. These volunteer service days are held monthly, and the specific projects undertaken are determined closer to the event date.

Lewis Creek is owned and monitored by CMLC.  It is maintained by CMLC staff, AmeriCorps members, and volunteers who come out monthly to help maintain this beautiful preserve. This property is special, consisting of a large field and a southern Appalachian mountain bog. 

At this volunteer day, you will be given a tour of Lewis Creek property and background information on CMLC's involvement and management strategies to this date. You will also learn more about what CMLC has in store for this property.

Frequent projects out at Lewis Creek include removing non-native invasive plants by cutting with hand pruners and then applying an aquatic safe herbicide,hand-pulling of smaller non-native invasive plants, and other habitat restoration activities such as bog bridge building and maintenance, bird house building and installation, and clearing of the grass trail.

 Occasionally, volunteers may also engage in other activities.

The workday will be a great chance to meet others interested in improving and maintaining the lands we love, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about invasive species management, nature preserve management, and other potential volunteer opportunities at CMLC.

Training will be provided on site. All protective equipment will also be provided along with light snacks and beverages (granola bars and water or tea). 

What to bring: Lunch (or a snack), water bottle, long pants and sleeves, closed toe shoes, hat (optional), work gloves (if you have them), Waders or tall rubber boots (if you have them), Rain gear (just in case), emergency contact information (also, just in case!).

If you would like to sign up for this event, please contact the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate at

Interested in volunteering with CMLC? Come to a Volunteer Information Session!

Join CMLC's Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate (VCEA) on Thursday, September 15th from 8:00-9:00 AM at the CMLC office located at 847 Case Street in Hendersonville, NC.

At the session, you'll take a tour of CMLC and meet staff, AmeriCorps members, and fellow prospective volunteers in the office. You'll learn all about CMLC, our mission, and how you can get involved through a short presentation given by the VCEA.

This information session can count as a volunteer orientation for new volunteers, so you'll be ready to get started!

Contact Madison, the VCEA at or sign up online here if you'd like to attend this or another information session!


Thank you to everyone who made our 16th Annual Conservation Celebration a success! More than 350 folks joined us on Saturday, August 27th at

Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain Lodge to celebrate and share our beautiful lands and waters saved by YOU!


Help us make our 2017 event even better. Please take five minutes to complete this confidential survey

Event Featured:

Live and silent auctions

Click here to view auction items.

2016 Trip Raffle Drawing 

Click here to learn more about the trip raffle

Music by Grammy-nominated White Water Blue Grass Co.

Food by Chef Michael Catering

Guided pre-celebration hike around Grand Highlands 


Click here for driving directions to Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain Lodge

(Now including directions from Brevard!)

Become a Sponsor or Donate an Auction Item for CMLC's Conservation Celebration:

Guardians of the Green Business Membership and Pledge Form

Individual Sponsorship Opportunities & Individual Sponsorship Pledge Form

This hike is now full! Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you the next time we host a Headwaters State Forest Tour!

Join CMLC for a limited opportunity to explore the highlights of the new Headwaters State Forest on Wednesday, August 17, at 10:00AM. This tour is composed of four short hikes (cumulative distance totaling 3.0 miles) to Gravely Mill Falls, Reece Place Falls, East Fork Falls, and Sassafras Mountain**. Several of these locations are not yet accessible to the public. Participants will caravan by vehicle to several locations where they will take a short hike to reach each point of interest in the recently conserved East Fork Headwaters tract. 

Because of the complexity of travel to numerous remote locations and limitation of parking, group size is limited to 15 participants. Because this event will likely reach capacity quickly, future tours will be scheduled to accommodate additional interest. Hiking boots are required; trekking poles recommended.

Due to the hazards associated with hiking near waterfalls, dogs and children are not able to be accommodated on this outing.

This tour is rated as moderate, the total hiking distance is 3 miles, and there is an overall elevation gain of 350 feet. The total time to hike is 2.5 hours with a total of 2.5 hours drive-time.

**trails to waterfalls are steep and slippery

A SHORT HISTORY LESSON: The East Fork Headwaters tract has been managed as a working forest since the early 1900's. In 1910, Joseph Silverstein purchased the land surrounding the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River to supply several lumber companies and owned the land until his death in 1967. Following the death of Silverstein, Champion International Paper Company owned and managed the property until former NC Congressman Charles Taylor purchased the land in the mid-1980s and maintained ownership until 2009.

In the summer of 2009, Congressman Taylor contacted the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy with an interest in conserving the 8,000-acre tract. In 2010, the partner organizations, which included CMLC, The Conservation Fund, NC Forest Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service, began to generate public, legislative, and agency support to fund the acquisition of the East Fork Headwaters property. Ultimately, the NC Forest Service will own and manage the property and plans to establish the Headwaters State Forest. The forest will be used to demonstrate good forest stewardship principles that promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of forest resources. As of 2015, the NC State Forest Service now owns approximately 5,000 acres of the future Headwaters State Forest!

For more in-depth information about the history and the progress of the Headwaters State Forest, visit

Participants are required to be in good physical condition and capable to hike over uneven, forested terrain. Hikers should wear sturdy walking/hiking shoes (no flip-flops). Also, bring several layers of clothing in preparation for cold temperatures and pack plenty of water and snacks. Hikers who attend are required to participate in the entire event. 

This hike is now full! Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you the next time we host a Headwaters State Forest Tour!

This hike is for CMLC Members Only and has limited space. Please reserve your spot by using CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up Form. Hike meeting locations and additional details will be sent out to participants via email 1-2 days prior to the hike. Reservations for a spot on this hike are first come, first serve:


CMLC's Online Outing Sign-Up Form

For questions, please contact Sarah Harden at Please allow one full business day for a response to both sign-ups and inquiries. 

Activist and self-trained botanist helped to launch Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

“Her ready and slightly mischievous smile,” said Kieran Roe, “was the first thing that struck me about Anne Ulinski.”

We will now miss that smile dearly. Ulinski passed away earlier this month at the age of 94. But we have many reasons to smile ourselves when remembering the profound impact that she had on our region.

“I really wanted to be a part of the community,” Ulinski told the Times-News when she moved to Hendersonville in 1981. “Because this is my community now.”

Ulinski, a longtime Hendersonville resident and community activist, lived a life defined by public service, optimism and compassion. She drove a Red Cross truck transporting wounded soldiers during World War II. She volunteered in clinics while living in Italy and Liberia. She tutored underprivileged children her first several years in Hendersonville. She was a mother of five.

"She was an amazing woman," said Carol Freeman, Ulinski’s first child, of Hendersonville.

"In getting to know Anne, I felt I’d met a kindred spirit,” added Roe, executive director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). “She had a driving passion for places of beauty and inspiration in this region.”

"She loved the mountains and the natural beauty of Western North Carolina,” said Freeman. “But when she first came down here, many would now be surprised that she couldn’t really identify any plants.”

A lifelong voracious learner, the region’s beauty inspired Ulinski to become a self-trained botanist. She then became a particularly active member of the Western Carolina Botanical Club.

Ulinski’s increasing love of the natural world led her to extensively monitor and document plants at several locations in the county, including Jackson Park, Mud Creek, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, and Historic Johnson Farm.

In 1991, she became involved in a grassroots community effort to locate and identify the diverse flora and fauna for the entire county. She and peers raised funds to hire a biologist to produce what became the Natural Heritage Inventory of Henderson County.

Once documentation was complete, a small group that included Ulinski decided to take the initiative one step further. Seeking to protect the rarest occurrences of plants and their habitats identified within the inventory, she and a group led by Lela McBride set forth to establish a local land trust.

That small group soon became the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. Ulinski wrote one of the first checks to the organization so that it could establish a bank account and become official.

During one of those early meetings that led to its formation, McBride tapped Ulinski on the shoulder and whispered into her ear, granting her the job of secretary of their committee. It was a symbolic gesture bestowing Ulinski with responsibility to take the reins of the organization and move it forward.

“It was like the passing of the baton,” said Freeman. “For the next five years, she ran the organization out of the trunk of her car.”

CMLC hired Roe, its first — and for several years its only — paid staff member in 1999.

“Anne had left the board shortly before then, but was still very attached to the work of the organization for which she had been responsible for initiating,” Roe recalled. “She would stop by the office occasionally and cheerfully provide leads and suggestions. Anne’s gentle and steady encouragement helped me begin to understand the goals and priorities of the fledgling land trust she had helped get off the ground a few years earlier.

“I got the sense that Anne was most happy getting good work done rather than sitting in board meetings. In fact, she had initiated discussions with Tom and Glenna Florence, acquaintances through the botany club, that led to their decision to donate their 600-acre property in Gerton to CMLC, one of the organization’s first conservation projects.“

Ulinski’s dedication to the new land trust continued to be fueled by her love of native plants. Of the many locales she botanized, she most loved to explore the Oklawaha Bog behind the Chanteloup Estates neighborhood where she resided.

The bog became one of the most sacred of all places to Ulinski. “She would walk there every day,” said Freeman.

Eventually it was discovered that the bog contained the bunched arrowhead flower, one of the rarest plants in not just the county, but the entire nation. Ulinski was particularly hopeful that CMLC, the land trust that she helped establish to protect significant natural heritage, could do just that: save the Oklawaha Bog.

“She told me that she was not going to die until that land was protected,” Freeman said.

After many years of working toward its conservation, CMLC and partners purchased the bog for permanent protection in 2010. To return the property to its original wetland and stream habitat as well reestablish a thriving population of bunched arrowhead, the partners coordinated its full restoration several years later.

“I was very happy that Anne was still able to witness the conservation and restoration of the place most near and dear to her,” said Roe. “It felt like a happy ending to a story that Anne had started 15 years earlier. It was a fitting example of cooperation and persistence that Anne had first brought to CMLC as founder and role model.”

Because Ulinski’s heath declined in recent years, she was less able to keep up with the ongoing conservation work of the organization that she had helped start. But when Freeman relayed the recent milestone of 30,000 protected acres, Ulinski was teeming with pride and elation.

“It was just beyond what she could imagine,” said Freeman. “CMLC’s work was near and dear to her heart. She told me, ‘This is the most important work I have ever done.’”

Prior to Ulinski’s death, CMLC honored her with the naming of another recently conserved and restored mountain bog in Flat Rock. Appropriately, the Anne Ulinski Bog also hosts the bunched arrowhead flower.

Three and a half decades after she arrived in Western North Carolina, Anne more than achieved her original goal. She became, and will forever remain, an inseparable part of our community. She had 30,000 reasons for that mischievous smile.

by Peter Barr, CMLC Trails & Outreach Coordinator

Read more stories of CMLC’s conserved lands at 

Support your native pollinators!

On Thursday, July 28th, CMLC staff and AmeriCorps will be joining students from Camplify! to plant milkweed on a CMLC conserved property in Henderson County. 

We will be planting three different kinds of milkweed--common, swamp, and butterfly--at the Hyder Pasture property owned and conserved by CMLC. 

Hyder Pasture is a beautiful now-restored southern Appalachian mountain bog property located in Flat Rock. In 2013, CMLC acquired the deteriorated bog-site and in 2015, the area underwent a complete rehabilitation in partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and NC's Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

At the time of purchase, Hyder Pasture was home to one of the rarest plant species in the nation--the bunched arrowhead. Found only in Henderson and Spartanburg counties at 11 sites in the entire world, the bunched arrowhead was on a great decline in Hyder Pasture. Now, Hyder Pasture and its rare plant are thriving and it is a great time to introduce some native pollinators!

Please join us at this service day to install a pollinator patch on this beautiful conserved property.

Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes, pants, and should be prepared for the weather. Additionally, volunteers should bring plenty of water and a lunch to eat out on the field. CMLC will provide all gloves, tools, and additional water for the service day.

If you are interested in volunteering for this service day or any other or would like more information, please email Ericka Berg, the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate at

For more information about Camplify!, please visit their website:



We are proud to present Jordan Luff with our Yellow Lady Slipper Award in appreciation of his dedicated service and commitment to CMLC.

The desire to make “positive, restorative change in our ecosystems” drives Jordan Luff in everything that he does. Jordan began volunteering for CMLC last year after a stewardship workday with his Haywood Community College natural resources class. For Jordan, this experience was a game changer, because he quickly became one of our most dependable volunteers out in the field.  Every time he “enters the forest with CMLC,” Jordan is “motivated by the difference that is made; the fruit of our efforts is the most rewarding feeling.” In his time with CMLC, Jordan has definitely been a part of some great efforts.

With the guidance of David Lee, Natural Resources Manager, and Jack Henderson, AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate, Jordan was able to take on an independent project—tackling the non-native invasive Reed Canary Grass at Lewis Creek Nature Preserve. To Jordan, non-native invasive species are “one of the most serious ecological issues” in our region and in the world, and he is doing his part to protect and restore our regions’ natural lands, not only at Lewis Creek, but through his regular attendance at other stewardship workdays.

Jordan relocated from Atlanta to western North Carolina with his family in 2002 and has been involved in outdoor and environmental activities ever since. In addition to being an outdoorsman, Jordan is a talented musician whose band just returned from a tour in Europe.  In August, he is leaving WNC to pursue his Bachelors, and later his Masters, in Forestry at NC State. We will miss him and his constant enthusiasm and eagerness, but we wish him the best in his future. Thank you, Jordan!


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