All Current News, Events and Hikes

New CMLC Hats, both Baseball Cap and Trucker style, are available upon donation!

Show support for Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy while wearing a really cool new hat! Hats, as well as our Original T-Shirt, Fitted T-Shirt, Bandanas, Stickers/Car Decals, and more are available upon donation HERE. Then, just click on "Visit Our Shop." 


You can also click on the "Donate/Join CMLC" box at the top of this page and then click "Visit Our Shop."


Baseball Caps: Traditional cap style with full-head cloth cover. Patch on front. 100% organic cotton.

Trucker Hats: Front 1/3 of the hat with the CMLC patch is full cloth. Back 2/3 is mesh to allow for air flow and is an off white/light beige color. 70% organic cotton and 30% recycled polyester.

Both styles are Econscious brand and come in either navy blue or light brown. The CMLC patch is the same on both hats and are bright, eye catching, and saturated with CMLC's colors. Both hats are durable with a good feel and are unisex.

Both the Baseball Cap and Trucker Hat are one size fits all and adjustable. 

*Donations for CMLC gear/gifts do not include, or take the place for, a CMLC membership.

Thank you sincerely for all of your support

It is the members, volunteers, and supporters like yourselves that truly help CMLC save the places we all love.

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

In this issue:

  • Letter from the Executive Director
  • Learning from the Land: Sisters, CMLC Protects 410 Acres, Creates Teaching & Research Reserve
  • 16th Annual Conservation Celebration - August 27th
  • CMLC Teams Up with Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteer Award: Jordan Luff
  • New French Broad River Access in Horse Shoe
  • ...and More!

Join Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy for a celestial show atop CMLC-conserved Bearwallow Mountain on Sunday, July 17, 2016. We'll hike to the summit about 90 minutes before sunset in time to watch the fullmoon rise, then hike back down the gravel road about 60 minutes after sunset.

At 4,232 ft. above sea level, Bearwallow Mountain stands as the highest peak in the widely-visible Bearwallow Highlands range. Straddling the Eastern Continental Divide, it makes up part of the Blue Ridge Escarpment as well as the western rim of the Hickory Nut Gorge. Crowned with a grassy meadow at its summit, the mountain features a nearly 360 degree view that encompasses some of the southern Appalachians highest peaks including Mt. Mitchell in the Black Mountains and Mt. Pisgah in the Great Balsams range. Its breathtaking vista also includes a birds-eye view of Hickory Nut Gorge, as well as downtown Hendersonville. A historic fire lookout tower occupies the summit, as do grazing cattle who call the mountaintop home.

CMLC acquired a conservation easement on 81 acres at the summit of Bearwallow in 2009, forever protecting it from mountaintop development. An additional 85 acres were placed into a conservation easement on Bearwallow Mountain's ridgeline in 2012. At the moment, CMLC has conserved a total of 165 acres and is working toward conserving more than 300 acres at Bearwallow Mountain by the end of 2016.

Total hiking distance is 2.0 miles. This hike is rated strenuous with a total elevation gain of 537 feet. Attendance is free and open to the public. We will begin our hike Sunday evening before the sun sets, and then we will travel back down the mountain bathed in moonlight. Please note: because of the nature of this hike, plan to pack a flashlight and additional clothes, blanket/sleeping bag to stay warm while on the summit. It will probably be windy.

Participants are required to be in good physical condition and capable to hike over uneven, forested terrain. Hikers should wear sturdy walking shoes (no flip-flops), bring several layers of clothing in preparation for cold temperatures, pack plenty of water as well as a snack to eat during the hike. Hikers who attend are required to participate in the entire duration of the hike. 

This hike is open to the public as well as CMLC members. Space is limited on our hikes, so 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 e-mail 1-2 days prior to the hike. Reservations for a spot on this hike will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis using:

CMLC's Online Outing Sign-Up Form

For questions, contact CMLC's Community Outreach Associate Corinne Fretwell at Please allow one full business day for a response to Sign-Ups and inquiries. In the event of inclement weather, please call our office at (828) 697-5777 as we may have to cancel the outing.


A new section of Hendersonville's Oklawaha Greenway was recently opened, creating a three-mile-long paved walkway through meadows, wetlands, and forests, linking Jackson Park, Patton Park, and Berkley Park. The potential future route of the greenway includes connecting the Village of Flat Rock Park to the Blue Ridge Community College, and then continuing up through the three aforementioned parks. If everything goes according to plan, the Oklawaha Greenway should be around 7 miles one way. 

Also, over the next several months, the Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway will introduce "Oklawaha Greenway Walks and Talks," a series of educational outings for the whole family.

August 20: Fall Wild Flower Walk with Michelle Skeele, trained naturalist, and Penny Longhurst, President of the Western Carolina Botanical Club

September 10: Clean Water Walk with Philip Ellis, environmental engineer, and Evan Parker of MountainTrue

October 8: Migratory Bird Walk with Cherie Pittillo, member of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society's Board of Directors

All walks start at 10:00 am. For more information about "Walks and Talks Along the Greenway," contact Jack Robinson, Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway, at 828-335-2479 or

Presented by:                      


To learn more about the Oklawaha Greenway and the "Walks and Talks" series, click here.

Want to read the Times-News article? Click here.

Join us after work on Wednesday, June 29th, for a nature journaling hike at The Cabin Ridge in Hendersonville, NC. Guests will bring their own journal and writing utensils but will be guided with prompts to journal, sketch, and take observations. No experience is necessary! Participants must be able to walk an easy mile loop trail and able to sit or stand while journaling and observing.

This hike will be open to the public. Due to the nature of this hike, there will be a cap of 15 guests. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first serve basis using CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up FormAdditional information will be sent upon confirmation fo your spot on the hike within 1-3 business days after requesting a spot. 

CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up Form

For questions, contact CMLC Community Outreach Associate Corinne Fretwell at corinne@carolinamountain.orgIn the event of inclement weather, please call our office at (828) 697-5777 to learn about a hike cancellation.



Brevard High School Senior Hannah Field has been awarded CMLC's Ruth Jones Memorial Scholarship of 2016!

While attending Brevard High School, Hannah was heavily involved in both her school and the community. "Service projects, clubs, and volunteer opportunities of all shapes and sizes," Hannah wrote in her application, "have all been important factors in allowing me to become a productive member of my community." As club president, member of the Student Council, participant in volunteer and leadership roles, and competitor in a variety of competitions during her high school years, Hannah has had a true impact on both her school and the community. Hannah is also a Transylvania Scholar and in the top 10 students of her class thanks to her dedication and high grades.

The awarded $1,500 will aid Hannah in her journey through college and pursuit of a career. She intends to attend Appalachian State University this Fall to pursue an undergraduate degree in Geology or a double-major in Geology and Sustainable Development (with a concentration in Environmental Studies). In the future, Hannah hopes to become involved in research dealing with the efficient recovery and conservation of geologic resources, as well as the economic impacts that these methods have on society. 

Good luck, Hannah!

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.

Join CMLC and Pardee in this special edition guided Hiking Challenge 3 hike! We will be celebrating Pardee's sponsorship of the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge with a presentation from special Pardee guests Sarah Philipp and Chelsea Darley.

Sarah Philipp is an Athletic Trainer with Pardee Sports Medicine and will be talking with participants about the importance of using hiking poles when trail walking. Pardee Signature Care Center coordinator Chelsea Darley will be providing information on the Heels in Motion community walking program she introduced in January of 2016. Both are natives of western North Carolina and are eager to share their love of the outdoors with others! We are excited to welcome such wonderful guests on this incredibly rewarding hike.

Trombatore trail is a strenuous 5.0 mile out-and-back journey, during which hikers will descend into and out of a rich cove forest on the way to the panoramic summit of Blue Ridge Pastures. This hike has steep uphill climbs and downhill runs in both directions, and features a total elevation gain of 1200 feet

Participants are required to be in reasonable physical condition and capable of completing a four mile hike over uneven, forested terrain. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate pets on this hike. Hikers should wear sturdy walking shoes (no flip-flops), bring several layers of clothing in preparation for changing warm and cold temperatures, pack plenty of water as well as a snack/lunch to eat during the hike. Hikers who attend are required to participate in the entire duration of the hike. Hikers must be age 12 and up.

Space is limited on our hikes, so please reserve your spot today by using CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up FormHike meeting locations, times, and additional details will be sent through email upon confirmation of your spot on the hike. Reservations for a spot on this hike will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis using:

CMLC's Online Hike Sign-Up Form

For questions about this or other CMLC hikes, contact CMLC Community Outreach Associate Corinne Fretwell at corinne@carolinamountain.orgIn the event of inclement weather, please call our office at (828) 697-5777 to learn about a hike cancellation.



Come get your hands dirty and help Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and REI Asheville for a post-National Trails Day event on Saturday, June 11th!

Help finish the Little Bearwallow Trail, the newest segment of the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trail loop connecting conserved lands in Gerton, NC. Spend a fun day in the woods while constructing one of the region's newest and most exciting hiking trail systems. The new trail is a segment of the developing 20-mile Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Trail that will connect the grassy bald of Bearwallow Mountain to other conserved lands in the Gorge, including the scenic summit of Blue Ridge Pastures as well as CMLC's 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve.

No experience is necessary, but adequate physical fitness (for working in rugged terrain while using heavy tools) is required. Participants will receive a special edition REI volunteer T-shirt. Space is limited to 20 volunteers. Ages 12 and up are welcome (under 18 with supervision). Workday will last from 9:00AM - 2:30PM. Wear long pants, long sleeves and closed-toe hiking shoes or boots, dress for poison ivy, bring work gloves, sun protection, water and snacks/lunch.

Registration via REI Asheville is required.

Click here to register for REI Asheville's post-National Trails Day with CMLC!

For questions, contact CMLC Trails and Outreach Coordinator Peter Barr at or 828-697-5777 ext. 215.

EXTENDED Application Deadline is June 30, 2016

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 Host Sites Still Accepting Applications

Appalachian Voices

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

Environmental Quality Institute (EQI)

Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE)

Hemlock Restoration Initiative of WNC Communities

Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development

Polk County Recreation Department

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy


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


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.

For more information:

Please see for detailed service descriptions for each position and the application form / instructions.  Extended Application deadline is June 30, 2016.   Please contact Amy Stout, AmeriCorps Project Conserve Program Director, with any questions at (828) 698-0674, ext. 133 or

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.

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