All Current News, Events and Hikes


The Mills River Partnership (MRP) along with CMLC and MountainTrue are pleased to present the third annual “Mills River Day” on Sunday, May 22nd from 1-5 p.m. The event will be held at Mills River Park, located at 124 Town Center Drive, Mills River, NC. 


Join us in celebrating with the theme “The River Connects Us” to learn how the Mills River community and watershed are joined to the greater Hendersonville/Asheville area through the use of the river’s resources.  This event aims to educate participants about the river and water quality issues, helps build a stronger sense of community, and raises awareness of local agriculture.


This fun and educational community event is for kids of all ages and will have a bounce house, inner tube rides, wagon rides, conservation tours, farm equipment demonstrations and displays, and a fire safety house. Ice cream, BBQ, and other food truck cuisine will be available as guests enjoy live music and entertainment provided by the Lonesome Road Band and local musicians and storytellers.


Mills River Day will also feature fun-filled water quality activities including fly-fishing and kicknet demonstrations, in which guests can hunt for river “bugs” and learn about water improvement projects near the river.


The event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. The first 100 visitors will receive a flowering hanging basket courtesy of Van Wingerden Greenhouse Co.!


In the news: "Mills River Day Showcases Pristine Watershed"



Through Mills River Day, the Mills River Partnership hopes to foster connections between the Mills River, the people who use its water resources, and the people who live within its watershed. The Mills River Partnership is a not-for-profit organization that addresses water quality in the Mills River watershed. MRP has a diverse board of directors, with members from the agricultural community, local governments, and conservation organizations. MRP's work focuses on educating the local community about water quality issues and helping farmers and other landowners implement best management practices to control sediment pollution.

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:


CMLC invites members to our Land Lovers Picnic, SUNDAY April 24th as we recognize and honor our recent conservation landowners and our amazing volunteers. 

A suggested donation of $10 per person at the door would be greatly appreciated.

RSVP by Thursday, April 14th to Laura Pocock, Donor Relations Manager, by email at or by phone at (828) 697-5777 x 203

CMLC is partnering with Henderson County to seek funding to acquire 72 stunning acres of natural land in the Green River Gorge for the creation of the Bell Trail Park. To find out more about the project, attend a public hearing on Wednesday, April 20th at 9:00am in downtown Hendersonville at the Henderson County Historic Courthouse. If you would like to make your voice heard, make sure to arrive early to sign up to speak during the public comments section. For more information about the proposed Bell Trail Park, visit:


Join CMLC on Monday, April 18th for a joint hike with Pacolet Area Conservancy and Keith Viglietta’s hiking group that will take place at Walnut Creek Preserve. Hikers will take a short tour of the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center before heading out to enjoy the hiking trails at Walnut Creek Preserve. The hike will include a short snack break around 11:30 as well as stops to enjoy the many blooming wildflowers. The hike will be an easy to moderate 4-5 miles and will conclude around 1:00 pm.

Guests are asked to meet at 9:00 am at McGuinn’s (general store and gas station) on Highway 9 at the intersection of Mcguinn Road. Our final destination is not clearly accessible via GPS mapping and is surrounded by privately owned land. Help us respect local landowners and minimize lost parties; please be sure to arrive at McGuinn's by 9:00am so we are able to all head to the final meeting place together.

Families and children with accompanying adults are welcome, however no pets are allowed on this hike. Make sure to bring a lunch and/or snacks, plenty of water, and a wildflower guide and camera if you so choose. In the case of a last minute cancellation or change in weather, an update (no later than 7:30) will be posted to this news page and will show on CMLC’s website homepage as well as Facebook page. You can also call CMLC at (828) 697-5777 the morning of for an additional recording in the event of a cancellation. 

Please contact Community Outreach Associate Corinne Fretwell with any further questions. 

Make a Difference in Transylvania County on Saturday, April 16th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm!

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy will be joined by the BCServes group (a service organization from Brevard College) at the Deerlake Community in Brevard. 

CMLC holds a conservation easement at Deerlake and will be working alongside the students in BCServes and the neighbors in the Deerlake community to remove non-native invasive species from the easement property.

Non-native invasive species take over a land and prevent the native species from thriving. The invasives are able to do this through a variety of means, boiling down to the fact that they often have less competition in the area. With the non-native invasive species removed, natives will hopefully have room to move in and take back the natural area.

If time permits, we will also be working on the existing pollinator garden in the community--either adding to it and expanding it or by removing unwanted plants and weeds to provide the pollinator plants with the best atmosphere possible.

If you are interested in attending this weekend volunteer event, please email the CMLC Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate Ericka Berg at or call at 828-697-5777 ext 211 before Friday, April 15th.

On Friday, April 15th from 10AM-4PM, the AmeriCorps Project Conserve members will be hosting a workday to assist Ranger Amy Kinsella at Holmes Educational State Forest for National Volunteer Week

We will be working on improving and repairing the educational helicopter display, making updates and improvements to the public campground structures and lands, removing invasive species, and restoring the Holmes pollinator garden, along with any other tasks that may come up. 

This workday is being organized by AmeriCorps Project Conserve members Ericka Berg (at CMLC), Anna Alsobrook (at MountainTrue), Kate Nelson (at Asheville GreenWorks), and Katie Hargrove (at Mills River Partnership). ACPC members will be present at the workday, but community members, all host site volunteers, and staff are encouraged to attend and take part in taking care of our local educational forest. The workday will be from 10AM-2:30PM, with celebration and networking occuring from 2:30-4PM at Holmes. 

Holmes is a 235 acre state forest in Henderson County--located close to DuPont State Recreational Forest. It is a a small forest whose primary purpose is education and promotion of forest resources and sustainable forestry practices. It was opened in 1977 and named for Dr. John S. Holmes, North Carolina's first state forester. 

The forest rangers regularly hold outdoor classes for schools, other groups, and open educational activities for children and families from Spring to Fall. Included in the trail system is a self-guided interpretive system that teaches visitors about forestry through trail-side exhibits, displays, and small audio boxes. Holmes Educational State Forest is a great asset and treasure for Henderson County.

Please be sure to wear long sleeves, pants, suitable work shoes, and to dress for the weather! Workday will go on, rain or shine, but activities will be modified if there is bad weather. Also be sure to prepare for the day by bringing enough water and a picnic lunch or small snack to eat at the covered picnic shelter at Holmes. Food items will be provided for the celebration!

For more information on this event or to sign-up to volunteer with us, please contact Ericka Berg, the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate at or by phone at 828-697-5777 ext. 211.



Lace up your running shoes and join the community on Wednesday, April 13th for a 5K prediction race! Foot Rx Running Asheville will host this fun race as a part of their $5 5K series--just $5 to enter the race. All proceeds benefit CMLC and will help us save the land you love!

This will be a prediction run--meaning that each runner will estimate his or her finish time and complete the run without a timepiece. The runner closest to his or her predicted time will be declared the winner! So come one and all--fast and slow--to run with us for conservation.

The run will take place on Wednesday, April 13th at Fletcher Community Park, located at 85 Howard Gap Rd., Fletcher NC 28732. Look for the red Foot Rx tent. Registration begins at 5:30pm and the race starts at 6:30pm

Need some new shoes or running socks? Make sure to visit Foot Rx Running Asheville for all your running/walking gear needs! Check out other upcoming $5 5K races below.

Please download the current version of Internet Explorer. IE 6 is no longer supported.