View from the Highlands, Annual Report 2017

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from the Highlands

43 Years Protecting the World’s Oldest Mountains 2017 Annual Report Issue

A Magical Moment on the Roan Photo by Travis Bordley

Conserving Mountains • Farms • Streams • Habitat


34 Wall Street, Suite 502, Asheville, NC 28801-2710 828.253.0095 • FAX 828.253.1248

Board of Trustees Jay Leutze, President Jack Hamilton, Vice-President Lyman “Greg” Gregory, III, Secretary Laura McCue, Treasurer Jeff Needham, At-Large Courtney Blossman Patty Cunningham-Woolf Jim Houser Anne Kilgore Bill Lowndes Popsie Lynch Rick Manske Robbie McLucas Matt Moses Stu Ryman Kathy Singleton

Minneapolis, NC Arden, NC Asheville, NC Arden, NC Kingsport, TN Asheville, NC Asheville, NC Charlotte, NC Kingsport, TN Asheville, NC Fairview, NC Asheville, NC Asheville, NC Erwin, TN Fairview, NC Kingsport, TN

Staff Carl Silverstein Kristy Urquhart Michelle Pugliese William Hamilton Hanni Muerdter Marquette Crockett Sarah Sheeran Cheryl Fowler Lisa Fancher Angela Shepherd Pauline Heyne Chris Link Anona Miller Ben Linthicum Haley Smith Spencer Scheidt Travis Bordley

Executive Director Associate Director Land Protection Director Farmland Program Director Stewardship & Conservation Planning Director Roan Stewardship Director Stewardship Associate Membership Director Finance Compliance Director Communications Director Donor Relations Manager Community Farm & Food Program Associate AmeriCorps Stewardship & Volunteer Member AmeriCorps Stewardship & Volunteer Member AmeriCorps Conservation Education & Volunteer Member AmeriCorps Land Protection & Education Member AmeriCorps Roan Highlands Volunteer & Outreach Member

We’ll be moving into a NEW office this year. 372 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801 After more than five years of planning and preparation, we’ve taken the major step of purchasing a building at 372 Merrimon Ave in Asheville, NC for our offices. The new space will offer a more efficient working environment, on-site parking for staff and visitors, and easier public access than the offices we have been renting. “SAHC’s mission is very long-term in nature, with a commitment to serve conservation and land stewardship needs in the community in perpetuity,” said Treasurer Laura McCue. “Owning a home office will help protect against rising rents over the long haul. We are building equity in something that will be a valuable asset to the organization.” To purchase the space, we used donated funds earmarked for this purpose and financed the remainder through a loan from Asheville Savings Bank, which we will work to pay off over the next fifteen years. Membership contributions were not used for the transaction. We are in the process of renovating the building from its previous use as a restaurant, and plan to move in this Spring. Watch for updates! We are offering naming opportunities for donors and plan to host an open house when renovations are complete.

Join our E-Mail list for monthly updates about upcoming hikes/events Did you know we send monthly updates about our conservation work and planned outings via e-mail? Our printed View from the Highlands comes out just three times each year, but we send hike & event updates once a month throughout the year in our E-View! Sign up to receive the E-View at

Letter from the



Upcoming Hikes & Events

Non-profit of the Month at Second Gear: March and June Focus Area Feature Hike: Smoky Mountains Saturday, March 25

Thank you. In this Annual Report Issue, we share some of the highlights we accomplished in 2016, thanks to you. This season, our Annual Giving Program surpassed our expectations. Your gifts enable us to continue to save unique habitat, farms, waterfalls, and scenic places for future generations. Prompt action is critical as our region becomes increasingly popular. The threat of development of our fragile, unprotected forests, ridgelines and farms is rebounding after the brief lull in real estate development that accompanied the 2008 recession. Thank you for your generosity, so we can continue to do this important work! We look forward to hosting our Appalachian Spring annual membership celebration in Johnson City, TN on May 18 (p. 17). You can find our full schedule of spring and summer hikes, events, and volunteer work days on this page. We are offering two new guided hike series for 2017. Our Focus Area Feature guided hikes (p. 13) will highlight SAHC’s six conservation focus areas, with details about the geographic and cultural qualities of each area, and our Southern Sixer Challenge (p. 15) will lead groups to peaks above 6,000 ft. in the Southern Appalachians. We invite you to join us! Carl Silverstein Executive Director

The mission of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is to conserve the unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty, and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee for the benefit of present and future generations. We achieve this by forging and maintaining long-term conservation relationships with private landowners and public agencies, owning and managing land and encouraging healthy local communities.

Noli-Fest March 31 - April 2 Focus Area Feature + Southern Sixer Hike: Balsam Mountains Saturday, April 1 Bill Popper Memorial Hike Saturday, April 22 Volunteer Work Day: Roan Garlic Mustard Pull Saturday, April 22 “For Love of Beer & Mtns” Big Briar Release Party Saturday, April 28 Roan Mountain AT Community Celebration Saturday, May 6 Focus Area Feature Hike: Appalachian Trail Countryside Sunday, May 7 Yoga at the Vineyard Saturday, May 13 Appalachian Spring Event Thursday, May 18 Land Trust Day Saturday, June 3 June Jamboree Saturday, June 17 Grassy Ridge Mow-Off July 15-16 See a full list of upcoming Farm Workshops for 2017 on page 9 | 3

L a n d P r o t e c t i o n U P D AT E S View from the newly protected, 7-acre parcel (below) adjoins Pisgah National Forest and another SAHC preserve near Carvers Gap. It is visible from the AT at Round Bald and Jane Bald.

Carvers Gap 7-acre tract

New SAHC acquisition

US National Forest

Other SAHC-owned lands

H ighlands


R oan F ocus A rea

Carvers Gap

We purchased a 7-acre inholding just below Carvers Gap, the popular access point for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) in the Highlands of Roan. Although small in acreage, this parcel was a conservation priority because of its visibility from the AT at Round Bald and Jane Bald and its location, surrounded by an SAHC preserve and Pisgah National Forest. “People often ask me if SAHC has a minimum acreage requirement for land protection projects,” said Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese. “This is an excellent example of a small acreage project with large conservation benefits.” “With the entire property surrounded by land protected by either SAHC or the US Forest Service, these seven acres were essentially an ‘inholding’ — the type of property some people seek out for private

residential development,” continued Michelle. “This tract was the closest unprotected land to the main public access to the Highlands of Roan and the Appalachian Trail. With this project, we are carrying forward our organization’s roots of expanding the protected land in the Highlands of Roan.” Dominated by northern hardwood forest, the property rises to 5,220 ft. elevation and has 435 ft. of road frontage on Highway 261 along the route to the Carvers Gap parking area.

parcel; Johns Camp Branch empties into Fall Creek, which is classified as High Quality Waters and Trout Waters by the NC Division of Water Resources. “We are extremely grateful to Fred and Alice Stanback for making a generous contribution which made this acquisition possible,” said Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “Our purchase of this tract means that one more critical piece of the Roan landscape will never be developed.”

The property lies within the Audubon Society’s Roan Mountain Important Bird Area and the state-designated Roan Massif Natural Area. Two tributaries of Johns Camp Branch flow through the Hardwood forest dominates the high-elevation tract, providing wildlife habitat.

Tributaries of Johns Camp Branch flow through the tract.

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L a n d P r o t e c t i o n U P D AT E S SAHC Land Protection staff on Sorrells Meadow - (L to R) Former AmeriCorps Caitlin Hopkins, Farmland Program Director William Hamilton, Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese.

Sorrells Meadow We assisted the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) with the purchase of 82 acres at Sorrells Meadow, to be added to the Cold Mountain Game Lands in Haywood County. With a remarkable mix of high elevation open meadow, forest communities, and pristine water sources, the property provides excellent wildlife habitat and opportunities for public recreation. It adjoins existing Cold Mountain Game Lands to the north and the Shining Rock Wilderness of Pisgah National Forest at its southern tip, within a quarter mile of the Art Loeb National Recreational Trail. “Sorrells Meadow will be a crown jewel for the Cold Mountain Game Lands,” said Farmland Program Director William Hamilton. “The open meadow atop this 82-acre addition to the public game lands is one-of-a-kind in this area. If it had been developed, you would have been looking down on houses or condos from popular public trails. Now, that won’t happen.” The Sorrells Meadow tract was a high conservation priority for its namesake 10-acre, high-elevation successional meadow and adjacency to public lands. The meadow, above 4,000 feet in

B alsam M ountains F ocus A rea

elevation, provides valuable habitat for various animals and migratory birds. Panoramic views of the Fork Mountain Ridge and the watershed of the West Fork of the Pigeon River are visible from this vantage point. Part of the property falls within the Audubon Society’s Great Balsam Mountains Important Bird Area. “What made it really attractive to us is the meadow, because high elevation openings like that are few and far between on state property,” said David Stewart, Land Management Biologist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. “That area offers great habitat for a wide range of species, and it was at high risk for development. It was an important piece of property to protect, and we’re looking forward to managing it for wildlife.”

The Sorrells Meadow property also contains headwater tributaries of Sorrell Creek, a direct tributary of the Little Cold Mtn East Fork of the Pigeon River. The Sorrells Meadow acquisition protects 3,318 ft. of stream Art Loeb Trail corridor.

Sorrells Meadow tract Other SAHC-protected lands

US National Forest Cold Mtn Game Lands

SAHC provided private philanthropic

funds to match public funds, making the NCWRC purchase possible. “We thank Brad and Shelli Stanback for their generous gift,” said Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “NCWRC’s purchase of the tract has the potential to connect the state-owned game lands with federal forest land. SAHC is extremely pleased that we can help the State of NC acquire lands for public use, furthering our mission to protect habitat and places for outdoor recreation.” Earlier this year, we helped the NCWRC acquire two additional tracts, adding a total of 306 acres to the Cold Mountain Game Lands this year. “We really appreciate the partnership with SAHC,” continued Stewart. “We have worked together to protect several tracts for the Cold Mountain and Sandy Mush game lands, and hope to continue to do more. Without this partnership, we wouldn’t be able to acquire these tracts for the public. The land is going away quickly, and these opportunities won’t always be available.” The NCWRC plans to manage the property as a part of the Cold Mountain Game Lands, and it will be open to the public for hunting, hiking, and birdwatching.

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L a n d P r o t e c t i o n U P D AT E S

F rench B road R iver V alley Flatwoods Pasture offers stunning, almost 360-degree views of the countryside in the Newfound Mountains.

Flatwoods Pasture & Little Creek Headwaters

Recently we purchased two adjoining tracts totalling 292 acres in the Crabtree Community of Haywood County, NC, adding to protected lands across the ridge in Sandy Mush. The high elevation Flatwoods Pasture combines productive agricultural land with valuable wildlife habitat and breathtaking scenic views. It connects with our Garret Cove property in Sandy Mush and the recently purchased Little Creek Headwaters tract, a beautiful forested cove in Bald Creek Valley.

Flatwoods Pasture “Flatwoods Pasture bridges the Sandy Mush agricultural community and Bald Creek/Crabtree agricultural community,” said Farmland Program Director William Hamilton. “Mountain pastures located on ridge tops are generally rare. Our purchase will protect high quality forage for agricultural

use as well as high elevation habitat, open space for recreation, and scenic mountain views.” Elevations on the property rise above 4,000 ft. asl. Approximately 85% of the tract is open pasture, with the remainder covered by successional and old growth forest. We plan to own the property for the long term, managing it as an agricultural property and nature preserve.

Little Creek Headwaters Our purchase of the adjoining Little Creek Headwaters expands the growing network of lands protected by SAHC in the Newfound Mountains and halts the planned development of a gated community. The headwaters of Little Creek, which flows into Bald Creek, originate on the property.

Little Creek Headwaters Flatwoods Pasture

“This relatively untouched forest — once slated for development — will now be permanently protected,” said Land Protection Director Michelle Pugliese.

New SAHC acquisitions Other SAHC-protected lands

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The Little Creek Headwaters is a lovely forested cove with streams running through it, now protected for future generations.

The land is entirely forested — predominantly Appalachian oak forest with small areas of cove forest and hemlock forest. Little to no evidence of invasive species has been observed — making it a “gem” in the area. We plan to own and manage it as a preserve, and explore potential future use for our outreach program. “I’m extremely proud of the completion of these projects,” said Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “We are grateful to Brad and Shelli Stanback for making a donation to SAHC to acquire these lands for conservation.”

L a n d P r o t e c t i o n U P D AT E S Cattle currently graze the recently protected farmland , which has been used for various crops over the years, including tomatoes, corn and hay.

Rush Fork Farm We protected 32 acres of farmland in the shadow of Crabtree Bald in Haywood County. Located along Rush Fork Creek and adjacent to NC Scenic Byway 209, the farm contains prime agricultural soils and has been in the same family since the late 1700s. Currently used for cattle grazing, the land has been used for various crops over the years, including tomatoes, corn and hay. It is now permanently protected for agricultural use under conservation easement with SAHC. Fertile soils on the property include prime farmland (Saunook loam), soils of statewide importance and of local importance. “We appreciate the landowner’s commitment to improving water quality by using agricultural best management practices,” said Hanni Muerdter, Stewardship and Conservation Planning Director. “Fencing livestock out of Rush Fork Creek and providing alternative water sources protects water quality downstream.” Conservation of this tract helps protect tributary streams of the

F rench B road R iver V alley

Pigeon River Watershed from sources of sedimentation and other types of pollution. Rush Fork Creek flows across the farm into Crabtree Creek, in the Pigeon River watershed. Protection of the farm also adds to a significant protected landscape within the Newfound Mountains and preserves pastoral views along Rush Fork Road (also known as The Appalachian Medley), a rural NC scenic highway. The property adjoins a 625-acre NC Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Easement property, held by the NC Department of Agriculture. The connectivity of all farmland and forested land in the general vicinity of the property is important for agricultural viability of the region as well as plant and animal diversity.

We are grateful for funding from the NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund and Brad and Shelli Stanback for making this farmland conservation work possible.

Rush Fork Farm

New SAHC conservation easement Other SAHC-protected lands NC ADFP Term Easements

Landowner Perspective: Robbie Kirkpatrick “I am glad to have worked with SAHC to protect this land with a conservation easement. It was important to me to protect the property because it is tied to the history of our family. There isn’t anything like it. As time goes on, being able to see this place, to remember our connection to the past, and to have it available to continue farming in the future will be more and more important.” A member of Robbie’s family fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain in the Revolutionary War. The family later moved to Spring Creek in Madison County, and then to the Rush Fork Creek area in Haywood County around 1800. View from the Highlands | 7

O u r C O M M U N I T Y FA R M Eight cow-calf pairs are foraging on our Community Farm. The hearty heritage breed cattle work well as a cooperative, self-sufficient herd .

Farmer Incubator Highlight:

Sparrow Hill Farm

Farmer Incubator Program Updates: Matt Coffay of Second Spring Farm, our program’s first vegetable operation, finished production in 2016. Matt has taken a position with the National Young Farmers Coalition to help educate farmers in the region about the Food Safety & Modernization Act. Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of WNC (CFWNC), we converted a 40’ shipping container into storage and a small office to serve as our Incubator Farm Hub. This provides dry, safe and secure storage for equipment and tools as well as on-farm office containing resources for Incubator farmers. We are grateful to CFWNC for supporting our Community Farm and Farmer Incubator Program through grants administered as part of their Food and Farming Focus Area. For more info, visit http:// FoodandFarming.aspx

The hearty pineywoods cattle on our Community Farm have interesting personality quirks, according to farmer Gina Raicovich. The herd has been growing, with eight cow-calf pairs currently thriving. Gina has diversified her Sparrow Hill Farm agricultural enterprise and is looking for grazing land for the herd after her time in our Farmer Incubator Program. “It’s been really fun to watch how they function as a herd,” says Gina. “They are very good natured and have basic instincts that seem more like a free-range herd. I watched one mother give birth, and then every other cow came over and licked the baby, helping out while the mother recovered. I haven’t seen other cattle do that. At other times, I’ve seen them take turns as one mom ‘babysits’ all the calves while the other cows graze. They can be very inquisitive and charismatic, too.”

Sparrow Hill Farm is the first livestock producer in our Farmer Incubator Program, and we have grown together. A total of 14 calves have been born, and using rotational grazing the resilient cattle have helped maintain pasture on our farm property by eating back woody growth. They have even been seen munching on invasive multiflora rose.

“Thanks to having the land at the Community Farm we’ve been able to increase our herd,” says Gina. “We are Pineywoods are a currently looking for heritage breed brought Pineywoods have been bred for temperament as well as milk & meat. over from Spain during a new lease so we can the early colonial period. They once ranged transition off. ” Their ideal next step would be freely in southern Mississippi and the Gulf a long-term lease of 25 acres with fencing, but Coast area. According to Gina, they calve easily also could work with smaller 5-10 acre parcels and are easy to maintain. with rotational grazing. “They are more self-reliant since they were In addition to the cattle, Sparrow Hill Farm range animals for so long. They were bred for raises heritage breed Gulf coast native sheep good-natured temperament as well as meat and laying hens, and their eggs are available at and milk. They can even be used like oxen; for the French Broad Food Co-op. example, they have been used in logging teams For information about purchasing in the Gulf area. We bought our stock from grass-fed meat or breeding stock, visit two families that have been breeding them the longest, so our herd has really good genetics.”

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for our Farmer Incubator Program For more info, visit: or contact for questions. 8 | 2017 Ann

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O u r C O M M U N I T Y FA R M AmeriCorps Project POWER Visits Community Farm

We hosted a farm tour for 26 AmeriCorps members from Project POWER, which stands for “Putting Opportunity Within Everyone’s Reach.” Project POWER is a local division of the national AmeriCorps program, working with at-risk youth in schools, non-profits and faith-based organizations. SAHC and Project POWER have been fostering a relationship to connect people with the environment and outdoor experiences on conservation properties. “The current group of AmeriCorps members with Project Power is a really special team,” said Travis, our Roan AmeriCorps member. “They are positive individuals with a passion for what they do.” The group visited goats doing invasive kudzu management on the farm, productive greenhouses growing fresh veggies, and our successful stream-bank restoration project. We wrapped up the tour in our new Education Center.

French Broad River Academy Volunteers Improve Discovery Trail Students from the French Broad River Academy (FBRA) helped out during another volunteer work day. They focused on addressing erosion on part of our 1.5 mile educational Discovery Trail. Armed with mattocks, shovels, rakes and picks the boys made quick work of the 40+ foot section of trail. Using nearby trees that had died, we created a retaining wall and re-graded the trail to prevent further erosion. Thank you, FBRA! This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 201670017-25341 for Farm Pathways: Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Workshop Recap: Mobile Walk-In Cooler Design/Build Over the course of two design-build days, we constructed a mobile walk-in cooler, which can be used by farmers in our Incubator Program to take produce to market. This workshop offered a hands-on learning experience for members of the community and was made possible through generous grants from CFWNC, the USDA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program, and support from Coolbot.

Upcoming Workshops: • Two-wheel “Walk Behind” Tractor Demo & Maintenance April 9 • Dig In Design Charrette May TBA • Protecting Your Biggest Asset on the Farm: Your Body May TBA • Pasture Walk: Invasive Plant ID, Control and Removal June TBA • “Skills for Every Farmer’s Toolbelt” July TBA • Irrigation Design at the Small Farm Scale July TBA • Tractor 101 for Women August TBA • Forage Management August TBA • Bee Hands On (Beekeeping) September TBA • Food Safety & Modernization Act Training October TBA • Whole Farm Planning November TBA To attend, or to be added to our farm workshop e-mail list, contact

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C o n s e r v at i o n I N A C T I O N Volunteer Work Day: Roan Garlic Mustard Pull

Volunteers from UNCA’s Environmental Science program helped manage habitat in the Roan.

Date: Sat, April 22 | Time: 9:30 am Where: Roan Mountain State Park This year, we are partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, US Forest Service, and Roan Mountain State Park to remove invasive garlic mustard from the park and heavily trafficked highways around Carver’s Gap and our conservation properties in the Highlands of Roan. Plucking out the pesky invaders when they’re young and tender isn’t hard work, but it does take a lot of hands! For more info or to volunteer, contact Marquette Crockett at

ATC Speciality License Plate programs help the Roan

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) specialty license plate programs in TN & NC provide grants which are crucial to our stewardship work on the Highlands of Roan. These funds support our Roan Naturalist position, provide fuel and gear for grassy balds management, and have even helped us build a new kiosk to educate hikers at Carver’s Gap. Many thanks to our partners at the ATC for their support! 10 | 2017 Ann

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UNCA Student Volunteers

Grassy Ridge Work Day Ten UNCA Environmental Science majors volunteered at our Bird House cabin at Grassy Ridge in the Highlands of Roan. Led by Travis Bordley, our CTNC AmeriCorps Roan Highlands Outreach & Volunteer Member, the group worked to improve Golden-winged Warbler habitat. Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA) are neo-tropical, migratory songbirds that overwinter in Central and South America. In the summer months, these birds return to the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, including our land at Grassy Ridge. GWWA prefer young shrubby habitat or regenerating forest edges. They move quickly to mature forest after fledging, so the high elevation open areas of this property – surrounded by hundreds of acres of conserved forest – provide perfect habitat. GWWA populations have declined dramatically over the past half a century. They are among the rarest species not on the endangered species list. Around our Bird House cabin, the ten generous volunteers mowed with weed eaters and cut overgrown black berry

bushes with clippers. They collected and piled the cut branches into three large brush piles. Such brush piles provide habitat for other rare species, including the Appalachian cottontail. “I really enjoyed being able to volunteer with SAHC,” said Iyana Quinn-Cuffie. “Having the ability to go out and have such an immediate impact on something like the Golden-winged Warbler and its habitat gave me a deep joy.”

Volunteers spread out to work on land around our Bird House cabin.

Save the Date! Grassy Ridge Mow-Off July 15-16 Join us for our annual volunteer work weekend, to manage bald habitat at Grassy Ridge. A wonderful experience for volunteers of all ages — enjoy camaraderie and gorgeous views while doing something great for the Roan. More details to follow. Visit for updates. p o r t


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C o n s e r v a t io n

On the Roan

Field Journal

with AmeriCorps Tra vis Bordley

The phrase, “Mind Ove r Matter”, was put to the test when the UN C-Asheville Mindfulne ss club volunteered for a day in the Roan! Four members of club and St an Murray Volunteers of the Year Saylor Fox and Be ttye Boone joined us fo r a trash clean-up day on a conservation proper ty located just below Car vers Gap. People pulling off to the side of High way 261 had thrown ou t empty bottles, trash, an d tires, and our brave volunteer group came in to help remedy the sit uation. The mid-day temperat ure reached just 20 de grees with winds blowing gu sts up to 50 mph, but this did not deter the crew from removing several bags of garbage to protect important st ream headwaters. Volunteers helped clean up, despite cold After lunch we decid ed to carry on with th e day’s itinerary and hike up R ound Bald. Starting from about 1,000’ below the summit, the mountain was consumed in a clou d of blowing ice. The view looked like the ins ide of a ping pong ball. The group struggled to maintain footing against the wind, fueled by th e wonder of the Roan. Everyone was amazed by the arctic condition s, which existed only at this elevation. At the top the group took its time rolling in the

snow and taking picture s of the ice caked landscape. We ar e very proud of our volunteers for ta king care of our natural resources de spite the wintry onslaught!

UNCA Mindfulness Club enjoying arctic temps on the Roan

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C o n s e r v at i o n I N A C T I O N

Goat-powered Habitat Management


We received funding from Audubon North Carolina to manage habitat for Golden-winged Warblers on two of our Roan Highlands preserves. We contracted with Sh-Nanny-Gans goat farm in Avery county to graze our Elk Hollow property, a known Golden-winged Warbler nesting site. The goats helped maintain the open scrubby conditions these birds love. Partnership Highlight: Article by Aimee Tomcho, Conservation Biologist with Audubon NC A nanny is a female goat, which must be why goat farmers Shannonrae and Rickie decided to name their business ‘Sh-Nanny-Gans.’ That, and the fact that they lead fun and busy lives keeping up with a herd of incredibly charming Boer goats! Sh-Nanny-Gans is “going green with goats”. What does this mean? Land management such as grazing, logging with horses, and utilizing alternative forest products is making a comeback. These environmentally-friendly tools reduce air emissions and soil erosion while encouraging sustainable animal farming. Following the principles of sustainable land use, these progressive farmers are bringing back the ways of old. These techniques, used by farmers and foresters years ago, can replace tractors and skid steers and often prove more useful on slopes in the Appalachian Mountains. What’s more, they help maintain critical habitat for birds!

Sh-Nanny-Gans is often hired for weed control. Areas that are too difficult to mow, have pervasive invasive plants or require chemical

Sh-Nanny-Gans goats helped with habitat management.

avoidance provide the perfect scenario for Shannonrae. The goats are browsers (versus grazers), which means they will munch the leaves, woody stems, and high vegetative growth that many grazing animals will not. They don’t like to eat grass. This makes them the perfect partner in Golden-winged Warbler habitat

management. Goats and Golden-wings – who would have thought? In fall 2016, Audubon NC and Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy partnered with ShNanny-Gans to restore Goldenwinged Warbler habitat in Avery County, NC. As is often the case, the early successional habitat of hawthorn and goldenrod became overgrown with blackberry stems. This year we tried something new for management — adorable and effective goats. Using mobile electric fencing set in mosaics across the field, Shannonrae set up 3 paddocks for intensive directed browsing to set back the growth, or succession, of the invading woody stems of the blackberries. In less than one month, two acres of habitat was restored. We hope the Golden-winged Warblers like what they see when they return in the spring!

Elm Hollow Habitat Restoration We also received support from Audubon NC to perform habitat restoration for Golden-winged Warbers on our Elm Hollow property, adjacent to Hampton Creek Cove. We removed 6 acres of agricultural conifers to restore native open and shrubby areas, which we hope will be used by Golden-winged Warblers to “expand” their nesting territory from the adjacent Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area. Blue Ridge Aromatics will make fraser fir essential oil from some of the removed conifers, and they have pledged to donate 10% from sales of this oil to SAHC. 12 | 2017 Ann

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Golden-winged Warbler


Focus Area Feature Hikes Appalachian Trail Highlands Countryside of Roan French Black Broad Mountains River Smoky Valley Mountains Balsam Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Date: Sat, March 25 | Time: 10:00 am Where: Hemphill Bald, NC Difficulty: Strenuous (7-8) Cost: FREE for all participants This hike will highlight our Smoky Mtns focus area, where we work to expand the network of non-fragmented conservation land and create habitat corridors that link the Great Smoky Mtns Nat’l Park to other protected land. We’ll begin at Purchase Knob with breathtaking views. This 6-mile out-and back hike will climb along the boundary of the National Park to Hemphill Bald at Cataloochee Ranch, where we hold a conservation easement. On a clear day at Hemphill Bald, you can see the Balsams Mtns, the Blacks and Highlands of Roan. We’ll discuss land protection efforts in this region and be joined by the Smokies’ AmeriCorps Citizen Science Associate, who will tell us about work at Purchase Knob. You’ll also have the option to help gather salamander data at a research plot.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about SAHC’s land protection work, particularly our conservation focus area priorities? This year we are offering a series of six Focus Area Feature Hikes, each highlighting one of the six distinctive geographic regions where we work. Over the past 43 years, our members and donors have protected over 70,000 acres across ten counties in NC and TN. Join us in learning about these successful projects and find out what makes each of our six Focus Areas unique.

To register for hikes, contact Haley Smith at or 828-253-0095 ext. 205. Pre-registration is required for all outings.

Balsam Mountains / Southern Sixer Challenge

Date: Sat, April 1 | Time: 10:00 am Where: Black Balsam & Tennent Mtn Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (6-7) Cost: Members FREE/Non-members $10 This hike will feature our work in the Balsam Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot. The Balsams contain two designated Wilderness Areas and nearly 3,000 acres of old growth forest, making them some of the most pristine wilds in our region. This 5-mile loop will take us up through high elevation forests and across beautiful open balds with scenic views, including over the summit of Black Balsam Knob at 6,214 feet and onwards to Tennent Mountain at 6,040 feet. We will discuss our land protection efforts in this area, including additions to the Cold Mountain Game Lands and along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob and other locations.

Appalachian Trail Countryside Date: Sun, May 7 | Time: 10:00 am Where: Rocky Fork, TN Difficulty: Strenuous (8-9) Cost: FREE for all participants In this focus area, learn about our work in the landscape surrounding the Appalachian Trail (AT) between Hot Springs, NC and Watauga Lake in TN.

We will hike along the Flint Creek Trail past a battle site and old fish hatchery to meet up with the AT. The trail is beautiful with the creek running beside it most of the way. We will be joined by John Beaudet, a native of the region who is familiar with Rocky Fork and will recount the story of the Battle of Flint Creek, the 1789 militia attack led by John Sevier against the Cherokee. May is also a great time for wildflowers, and John will help us identify plants along the hike. Once on the AT, we will continue on for about 2.5 miles to Devil Fork Gap, where we will carpool back to the start.

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Connecting PEOPLE WITH L AND Bill Popper Memorial Hike

Friend-Raising! We educate people about our conservation work by hosting information tables at regional events. Would you like to help? To volunteer, contact or 828.253.0095 ext 209.


Date: Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2 Where: USA Raft Outpost in Erwin, TN

Date: Sat, April 22 | Time: 10:00 am Where: Prices Creek Preserve, Burnsville, NC Difficulty: Moderate (4-5) Cost: Members FREE/Non-members $10 We invite you to join us for a memorial hike to honor and remember our friend Bill Popper and his dedication to preserving the 573-acre property in Yancey County that he loved so much. This hike is a perennial favorite, taking participants through our Price’s Creek Preserve with numerous wildflowers this time of year including May Apples, Blood Root, Lark Spur and much more. We will hike through mature northern hardwood forest and make our way to a lovely spot on Price’s Creek for lunch, then loop back to the beginning, all the while enjoying the flowery splendor of Mother Nature!

Yoga in the Vineyard

We are excited to be a part of this weekendlong celebration of outdoor adventure on the Nolichucky River! For more info visit

Date: Sat, May 13 | Time: 2:00 pm Where: Addison Farms Vineyard Difficulty: All levels (no experience req’d) Leader: Lillah Schwartz of One Center Yoga Cost: $20 for SAHC members and $30 for nonSAHC members; registration required

ATC Community Celebration

Date: Saturday, May 6 Time: 10 am - 4 pm Where: Town of Roan Mountain Community Park Last year the Appalachian Trail Conservancy designated Roan Mountain as the 41st Appalachian Trail Community. Roan Mountain and Unicoi County are the only two official AT communities in Tennessee. We will host a table at the celebration. 14 | 2017 Ann

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Join us for a peaceful yoga session at Addison Farms Vineyard, surrounded by scenic views protected by SAHC. We’ll walk around the Vineyard before an all-level yoga class, absorbing the aroma of blossoming grapevines. Learn breathing techniques to bring your body, heart and mind into coherence with the earth in this session, led by Lillah Schwartz of One Center Yoga. Lillah has been a trailblazer since opening Asheville’s first yoga studio in 1981. Addison Farms Vineyard is nestled between Buncombe and Madison Counties in the heart of the French Broad River Valley. After our yoga session, you are invited to enjoy a wine tasting at Addison Farms Vineyard, one of our valued corporate partners. Yoga session proceeds benefit SAHC; wine tastings are an additional $10 (including keepsake stemware). Recommended: Bring a yoga mat and strap. Lillah Schwartz, instructor (Hint: This would be a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend!)

To register for outings, contact Haley Smith at or call 828-253-0095 ext. 205. Pre-registration is required for all outings. Re

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Pa r t n e r s h i p s i n t h e B U S I N E S S C O M M U N I T Y

“For Love of Beer & Mountains” Partnership Highland Brewing Company partners with us to support conservation and heighten awareness of the natural treasures of the Southern Appalachian mountains. As part of this partnership, Highland donates a portion of sales from each seasonal release party and works with us to co-lead hikes.

Southern Sixer Hiking Challenge Highland’s latest seasonal creation, “Southern Sixer IPA,” is named for the collection of more than 40 peaks in NC and TN whose summits reach over 6,000 feet elevation. Most of the Southern Sixer peaks fall within our six conservation focus areas. The Southern Sixer IPA also contains six different hop varieties, is 6% AVB, and only comes in six-packs. To celebrate the “For Love of Beer & Mountains” partnership – along with the impressive geography of our surrounding mountains and the landscape we work to protect – we have launched a 2017 Southern Sixer Hiking Challenge. We challenge you to summit at least six of these 6,000+ ft. peaks to receive your commemorative patch! To help you meet the Challenge, we will lead several guided hikes to different peaks throughout the year, including our Balsam Mountains Feature Focus Area Hike to Black Balsam & Tennent Mountain (see description p. 13). We invite you to join us on any or all of these hikes, but you may also complete the challenge on your own. For more info, and an online or printable form to complete your Challenge, visit us at

Commemorative Southern Sixer Hiking Challenge Patch

Southern Sixers

Our Southern Sixer Challenge kickoff hike, to Mt. Kephart.

To find out where Southern Sixers are located, check out this Google Map at

Upcoming guided Southern Sixer hikes include: • Grassy Ridge Bald • Black Mountain Crest Trail featuring: Celo Knob, Gibbs Mountain, Winter Star Mountain, Potato Hill, Balsam Cone, Mount Craig & Mount Mitchell • Waterrock Knob • Cold Mountain

Big Briar Raspberry Tart Raspberry Ale Release Party Date: Friday, April 28 | Time: 4 to 9 pm Where: Highland Brewing Company, Asheville, NC Join us for the release of Highland’s new seasonal Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale — and help save the places you love! Highland will donate $1 per pour to support our ongoing local land and water conservation efforts. The Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale is named after a unique, protected cove in the Newfound Mountains. Free music begins at 7 pm, and the event is family-friendly. SAHC staff will be on-site to sell our merchandise and answer questions about our work. View from the Highlands | 15

Pa r t n e r s h i p s i n t h e B U S I N E S S C O M M U N I T Y Our Corporate Partners Mt. Mitchell: $25,000+ Conservation Advisors of NC

Nonprofit of the Month at

Second Gear

Asheville’s local consignment shop specializing in new and used outdoor gear, clothing and accessories, Second Gear has selected us as “Nonprofit of the Month” for March and June. They will donate 1% of net sale proceeds those months to support our conservation efforts!

Waterrock Knob: $15,000+ Highland Brewing Company New Morning Ltd. Salesforce

“Second Gear is excited about expanding our support of SAHC beyond our annual participation in Land Trust Day, as we highlight the organization twice this year throughout March and June,” says owner Russ Towers. “We treasure the natural wonders here in WNC and love to play outdoors, so we are especially grateful for all that SAHC does to protect our mountains for generations to come.”

Roan Mountain: $10,000+ Mast General Store Cold Mountain: $5,000+ Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo Causeway Interactive Eastman Chemical Company Big Yellow: $2,500+ Appalachian Realty Associates Brunk Auctions First Citizens Bank Jubilee! Community Mamacita’s Taqueria Parsec Financial Management USA Raft

Second Gear is located at 444 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806. Open 7 days/week, 10 am to 6 pm.

Max Patch: $1,000+ Addison Farms Vineyards Aloft Asheville Downtown Duke Energy Foundation Eastman Credit Union Equinox Environmental French Broad River Garden Club Foundation IMC Investments, LLC Kee Mapping & Surveying McLucas Ventures Network Computer Solutions New Belgium Brewing Company NC Appraisal Company Oakely Roberts & Stevens, Attorneys at Law Samsel Architects Starks Financial Group Steelcase Foundation 16 | 2017 Ann

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Come see us in the store on Sunday, March 26 from 11 am to 3 pm, as we highlight our Southern Sixer Challenge.

Have gently used gear you no longer use? You can support conservation by choosing to consign your outdoor gear with Second Gear under SAHC’s consignment account at anytime throughout the year.

More info at

Land Trust Day — June 3 Each year, in conjunction with National Trails Day, we partner with local businesses and restaurants to raise awareness about the economic impact of conservation on our local communities. Mast General Store in Asheville and Hendersonville supports us by donating 20% of sales from Saturday, June 3, and Second Gear will donate 10% from that day! Can your business commit to be a Land Trust Day sponsor this year? To participate, or for more info, contact or 828.253.0095 ext 209.

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Blue Ridge Aromatics Youngblood Bicycles

Members’ CORNER

Thursday, May 18 | 6 to 8 pm

Appalachian Spring Member Celebration We will hold this year’s annual membership celebration at Yee-Haw Brewing in Johnson City, TN. Come celebrate 43 years of conservation with us! Enjoy camaraderie, music by Redleg Husky (Americana band from Asheville, NC), raffle to win exciting prizes, and savor a few of Yee-Haw’s local brews and food by White Duck Taco. More details to come. Tickets $10 in advance (does not include food or beverage).

Purchase your tickets now (and check for updates) at Thank you, for being an event sponsor!

Welcome, New Members! Amy Alterman Walton Andrews Margaret Averyt Dan Axtell Meghan Baker Arnold Barrett David Berrier Rodney Bossert Tricia Brown Cotton Bryan Judith & David Butler Peggy Cantrell Casey Carmichael & Mary Worrell Anna Caulder Bill Chase Maegan Clawges James Weil & Vicki Cleary Ann Cook James Cooper Julene Cupp

George & Kathy Dambach Jessie Dean Scott & Susan Drake Bret Duncan Allen Edwards Martha Eshleman Wendy Feinberg Cyn Slaughter & Kevin Fitzgerald Sammy Fong Florrie Funk & Thomas Gonzalez Roderick & Barbara Gerwe George Glenn Schaune Griffin Jeanie Hale Reggie Hall Lucinda Hastings Patricia Hearron Ray Hemachandra

To become an event sponsor or donate raffle items, contact Membership Director Cheryl Fowler at or 828.253.0095 ext 209. Nan Henderson David & Suzie Higgins Peggy Holtsclaw David Howell Marjorie & Bob Hrozencik Leslie Huntley Jacqueline & Robert Hurwitz Robert Inglis Vinod & Manju Jindal Megan & Todd Johnson James & Deena Johnston Robert & Beth Kandra Carrie & John Keith James King Wesley & Heather Knapp Robert & Kelly Koney John Koon

Charlotte Lackey Justin Lamountain Joan Mahery Lorne Malec Misty Mathes & Robert Lucas Charles & Carole Mauldin Ken McClung Emily & Adam McDaniel Neil McPhee & Barbara Flint Beth McPherson & Steve Sykes Austin Morris Hilary Morris John & Peggy Morris Emily Moses Kenneth Moss Nora Murdock

Robert Noble Clint & Chrisy Ogden Joy Oliver Janet Opila-Lehman & Randy Lehman Bob & Louise Orr Adam & Hannah Palmer Sharon Parker John & Beverly Perdue Jennifer Petosa Gina Pieroni Thomas Plott Marc & Susan Propst Jake & Tina Quinn Sue Randall David & JoAnne Rittenberg Gale & Leroy Roberson Alfred Saupe Judi Sawyer

Maggie Schlubach Lee & Anna Sease Andrew Shelton John & Annette Sherden Don Silver Ann Skoglund Nona Stuck Elizabeth Swann Rachel Swinney George & Linda Thorpe Clif Traver Linda Wagner James Wallace Beth Weegar Bruce Whelchel Sarah Wolfe & Allan Turner Richard Zimmerer

SAHC members enjoy FREE guided outings on protected properties throughout the year! To become a member, fill out the enclosed membership form in this newsletter or join online at View from the Highlands | 17

Members’ CORNER


Enjoying the Roan, photo by Witt Langstaff, Jr.

A tribute gift is a special way to honor someone! In honor of Jamie & Brent Bookwalter Scott & Susan Drake

In honor of Dr. James C. Karegeannes Ann Karegeannes

In honor of Carl Silverstein Jeanne Conerly

In honor of Jack & Amy Boyles Art & Charlotte Ellis

In honor of Malcolm Kendall Charles & Jeanne Cummings

In honor of Dr. Tom & Jo Brock Art & Charlotte Ellis

In honor of Ray & Janie LeFevers Samuel Hightower

In honor of Kathy Singleton Dorothy Chappell Eleanor Hill Lamb

In honor of Mike Carpenter Kathleen Carpenter

In honor of Jay Leutze Charlie & Ann Baker Ellen & Rountree Collett Jamie & Elizabeth Kiser Twin City Garden Club

In honor of Zellie Earnest Josephine Morrison In honor of Charlotte Ellis Art Ellis

In honor of Popsie Lynch Megan & Todd Johnson

In honor of Lee Galloway & Nancy Thompson Zach Galloway

In honor of Bill & Dee Dee Maxwell R. Fielding Lewis

In honor of Tom Gatti & Judy Murray Art & Charlotte Ellis In honor of Tom Gatti Jim Pate In honor of Bob Gault Beth Wells In honor of Sue Guerrant Gaye Booth & Vernon Larry In honor of Tracy Hudson & Tom O’Brien Sharon Stafford In honor of Susannah C. Jones Randall & Nancy Raskin

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In honor of Beth McPherson & Steve Sykes Sharon Stafford

In honor of David Smith and family Pat Dunn & Lee Ann Smith In honor of Jasper & Ellis Tait Megan Sutton & Andy Tait In honor of Kristy Urquhart Andrew Stevenson In honor of Frony Ward & Allan Morgan Sylvia Dry In honor of Thomas Ward Harold & Libby Ward In honor of Rebecca Warner Sandra Jilton

In honor of Janet Powell Patty & Ben Woolf

In honor of Bill & Carol Watterson Eric Watterson

In honor of Amy & Steve Quinn Art & Charlotte Ellis

In honor of Beth Weegar Marcella Rudick

In honor of Peggy Rose James Schreiber

In honor of Dave Werle Starks Financial Group

In honor of Bill Ryan Lee Ryan & Nancy Aalberg

In honor of Donna Wilson Patty & Ben Woolf

In honor of the Awesome SAHC Family! Caitlin & Will Hopkins

In honor of Rebecca Withrow & Brian Wurst Naomi Slifkin

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Members’ CORNER

In Memoriam


Please join us in remembering the lives and accomplishments of these SAHC former leaders who passed recently.

Zellie Earnest

One of our longtime members, Zellie passed away in January this year. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelors degree and later a masters in Industrial Engineering. SAHC Founding Roan Stewardship Director Judy Murray and former Trustee Rick Phelps remember him: “As son Mark observed in his eulogy to his father, Zellie assumed that people are fundamentally good, each one a gift waiting to be unwrapped. His incredible ability to befriend strangers proved invaluable in the early days of the ATC’s Roan Mountain Preservation Committee, which later became SAHC, as initial

contacts were carefully made with key landowners. He rapidly developed their trust and confidence in our young organization through his authenticity and enthusiasm. The protection of Hump Mountain was one of his primary goals. Zellie’s communication skills and professional training contributed to SAHC’s initial public relations and outreach materials. His excitement for the protection of the Roan Highlands was infectious, and brought many others to SAHC in its early years. None who knew him can think of him today without breaking into a big smile, though tinged with sadness, knowing we’ll never see his like again. Some of us called him Zealously Earnest. Because he was.”

Bruce Cunningham Former Trustee and Treasurer Bruce Cunningham passed away on January 4, at the age of 90. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Harvard Business School, Bruce retired as treasurer of Tennessee Eastman Company in 1986 after 37 years of service. Bruce was very active in the community. In 75+ years of Boy Scouts, Bruce was an Eagle Scout and served in many leadership positions. He worked over 6,000 hours on the AT with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club, and served as an SAHC Trustee from 2009-2014.

“For most of his adult life Bruce worked tirelessly on behalf of our great out of doors!” said friend and former SAHC President Jeanette Blazier. “Among other efforts he served for years on a team dedicated to maintaining the Appalachian Trail in our area. Later as a Trustee he brought his best skills: budget development, financial forecasting, investment planning, along with strategic planning to our beloved SAHC. Many thanks to Bruce for everything he did to uphold our mission and vision at SAHC. He helped immensely with our goal to become a more professionally run and financially sound organization.”

We share in honoring the memory of those friends who have passed. In Memory of Ernest Campbell Berdelle Campbell In Memory of Gary Cook Erica Ruffin In Memory of Jim Crews Mary Crews In Memory of Mrs. Julia B. Cross Mountain View Garden Club In Memory of James Curwen Bob & Kathy Armstrong Elizabeth Best John & Joan Dickson Gaylord & Katherine Gasque Hazel & Thomas Hawkins Nantahala Outdoor Center In Memory of Mary Frances Shirley Erskine Jay Leutze In Memory of John Finnegan Philip Thomas In Memory of Bryan Freshour Priscilla Blanton In Memory of Allen de Hart Alan & Christina Householder In Memory of Jane Hatcher Mary Anglin In Memory of Kay Hultquist James & Katherine Overholser In Memory of Eckess Jones Anne Jones In Memory of John Lowndes Sally Long Katie Wysocki In Memory of Eloise MacKay George MacKay In Memory of Don McLeod Philip Thomas In Memory of Deborah Dyer Neves W. Mills & Nancy Dyer In Memory of Jamie Page Dave Charlton In Memory of Ronald D. Vinson Kimberly & Tom Brewster

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Annual Report

Land Protection Highlights of 2016

An Invitation from

Jay Leutze

Highlands of Roan

“The night we chose to camp atop Hump Mountain promised to be chilly but not cold by winter standards. The shadowline followed us up the spine as the sun fell behind the Unaka range. It went down, we crawled up. This was an overnight so our packs were light. One friend brought a pillow, a preposterous indulgence, but generally we were out with the bare necessities: water, jerky, wraps with peanut butter. Fleece hats and backpacking tents.

Big Rock Creek Donation of land adjoining our Big Rock Creek preserve. Big Yellow Mountain 70 acres just 2,500 ft. from the Appalachian Trail and visible from Overmountain Shelter. Carvers Gap In-holding near the popular access for the Appalachian Trail.

French Broad River Valley Garret Cove/Tuckaseegee Headwaters/Flatwoods Pasture 3 adjoining tracts totalling 393 acres between Sandy Mush and Crabtree, with pasture, forest habitat, and headwater streams. Rush Fork Farm Historic family farm in Crabtree.

Appalachian Trail Countryside Rocky Fork Access Tract adjoining Rocky Fork State Park, to improve public access.

Balsam Mountains Cold Mountain Game Lands 3 tracts totalling 313 acres, added to Cold Mountain Game Lands.

Sorrell’s Meadow Cold Mountain Game Lands

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The night was spectacular with stars and views down into the valleys. And then the electric lights from far off towns and cities leapt to the fore. I was astonished by the volume of artificial light. Newland, Banner Elk are a few miles off, but on a clear night like this we could also see the glow of Blowing Rock, and Boone, and even a golden haze above Hickory and Morganton, the foothills. Then swinging around to the northwest, the shimmer of Elizabethton, Bristol, and Johnson City. As surprising as the artificial light “out there” was the stunning darkness of the protected lands of the Roan. Inky dark. Dark as a pocket. Pick your metaphor, it is inadequate to describe the void of invasive artifice. And this is what SAHC does. What we have done for 43 years. As lead partner and convenor, as a visionary non-profit with out-sized ambition we have saved the Roan from threats seen and unseen, known and unknowable at our founding. Together we have saved it from fragmentation, from light pollution, from invasive species. From

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conversion. These fragile lands, these species, this experience. It’s what we have done, and what we will continue to do. Because I believe the work we have done is best experienced on foot or through the fly on a tent I am excited by the launch of our newest initiative: connecting people to the landscape. We do not want our work to be an abstraction only, or a collection of photographs to be admired in a gallery. To make our work meaningful to our members and volunteers we are creating trailheads, opening parts of this landscape so you can experience some of that we have experienced out in the field. We will take you there in a guided hike of our outings program, or we will hand you a map so that you can take yourself there. Waterfalls are waiting, deep coves and soaring ridges are within your reach. Our first two camping platforms are being nailed together as I type. Consider this an invitation to spend more time with us, or to spend more time with your family in places you have helped us protect. Out we go!”

Jay Leutze, President, Board of Trustees

Annual Report

Your Impact in 2016 Thank you for making a difference. Your gifts of time and money have a measurable impact in our landscape, and on the lives of youth and adults throughout the region. We are extremely grateful to you for supporting our conservation efforts. Look what we accomplished together last year!

865 more acres at 11 sites, now protected FOREVER, for habitat, outdoor recreation, productive farmland, and scenic beauty.

150 acres of working farmland

was kept in production for healthy, locally-sourced food for our communities. (Also included in total land protection acreage)

20,271 linear feet of stream corridor protected for clean water and aquatic habitat.


428 people hiked, biked, and paddled

2,301 miles on guided adventures to enjoy and experience unique protected places.

450 people volunteered

3,500 hours to make a difference, to support our work and to manage and restore habitat for native plants and animals.

Thank you!!

Our stewardship team monitored a total of 199 properties on 44,500 acres, including 152 conservation easements and 47 fee simple tracts owned by SAHC. Our Stewardship and Conservation Planning Director, Hanni Muerdter, was honored as 2016 “Rising Conservation Leader of the Year� by the NC Land Trust Assembly.

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Annual Report

Financial Report

FY 15/16 Revenue & Support $4,315,473

Contributions Grants Government Foundation Other

$1,279,673 $196,098 $563,907

(Investments/Planned Giving/In-Kind)

Total Revenue & Support: $6,355,151 (Includes funds to purchase land and conservation easements) Government Grants 20%

Foundation Grants 3% Other 9%

SAHC Assets



$ 2,105,469 22,978 20,621 23,868 $ 2,172,936

$ 1,689,709 495,573 24,827 139,141 $ 2,349,250

Long-Term Assets Permanently Protected Properties Endowments/Investments Planned Giving Receivable Life Estate Land Assets Property & Equipment Mitigation Escrow Trade Lands Total Long-Term Assets

$ 21,678,484 6,295,612 81,479 3,272,064 1,248,005 9,833 54,000 $ 32,639,477

$ 19,456,896 6,150,393 99,483 2,425,014 1,051,099 7,710 164,000 $ 29,354,595



$ 31,703,845

Current Assets Cash & Equivalents Receivables Prepaid Expenses Mitigation Credit Total Current Assets

SAHC Liabilities & Net Assets 2016/2015 Contributions 68%

FY 15/16 Expenses


$ 328,295

Total Net Assets






Total Liabilities

To obtain a copy of the complete SAHC financial statements, please send us a note: 34 Wall Street, Suite 502, Asheville, NC 28801 or email:

Program Services $2,907,065 Management & Administration $281,603 Fundraising $86,170 Total Expenses: $3,274,838 (Includes expenses for land and conservation easement purchases) Management & Administration 8%

Endowment Fund Growth (2000-Current)

Fundraising 3%

Program 89%

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Annual Report

Grants Strengthen Our Strategic Conservation Work: Thank you to the following for providing critical funding to support our work. (Grants awarded in 2016 calendar year) Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Open Space Institute: $15,000 for strategic planning to prioritize lands for conservation, for Resilient Landscapes.

AT in the Highlands Highlands of Roan of Roan

Appalachian Trails Conservancy: $12,200 to support grassy balds management in the Highlands of Roan and the Roan Naturalist position. Audubon NC: $4,400 to provide herbivore treatment in the removal of invasives utilizing goats and improving the habitat in Elk Hollow (Roaring Creek) and Elm Hollow (Hampton Creek). Beattie Foundation: $5,000 tto support our conservation and stewardship efforts. The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina: $30,000 to fund many facets of our Community Farm and Food Project including the purchase of an enclosed trailer to teach local food producers how to convert it into a walkin cooler; the purchase of a shipping container that will act as the incubator farmer hub, providing a small office space and secure storage; and assisting with the purchase of livestock equipment and infrastructure improvements at our Community Farm. We also received $16,500 for WNC Farmlink, to help link landless farmers to farmland. The Conservation Fund: $45,000 to build and foster legislative support for land and water conservation.

NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund: $506,229 to purchase conservation land near existing SAHC preserves in the Highlands of Roan. NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: $163,624 to fund land and easement acquisitions in Madison and Haywood counties. NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources: $452,000 for the Dix Creek preserve to become part of the Cold Mountain Game Lands. National Forest Foundation: $25,000 to improve and manage Roan wildlife habitat. TN Heritage Conservation Trust Fund: $35,000 to purchase the Rocky Fork Access tract for a new parking and visitor center for Tennessee’s newest state park. USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS): $4,884 to support Golden-winged Warbler habitat management in the Roan as well as assist in invasive control utilizing goats and management of the Short Leaf Pine Reforestation Project at our Community Farm. US Fish & Wildlife Service – Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act: $200,000 for acquisition of land containing habitat for neotropical migratory birds.

Grants for Blue Ridge Forever: CTNC/OSI: $30,000 for online conservation planning and communications tool, for Resilient Landscapes. Merck Family Fund: $50,000 over 2 years. Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation: $50,000 over 2 years.

Workshop at our Community Farm

USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP): SAHC, the Organic Growers School (OGS), and WNC Farmlink were awarded a $600,000 federal grant over three years to continue developing Farm Pathways: Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access. Farm Pathways was selected this year as one of 37 projects across the nation to receive funding which aims to educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. Together, our organizations are providing training, farmer-to-farmer networking and farmland access to help beginning farmers in the Southern Appalachians overcome obstacles for successful agricultural enterprises.

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Annual Report

Gray’s Lily Leadership Circle The Gray’s Lily Leadership Circle is a group of generous & passionate leaders who contribute $1,000 or more annually. As a GLLC member you receive invitations to special hikes and programs, including our signature event, and insider information about our conservation efforts and most recently protected properties. You also serve as an inspiration for others. For more information please contact Pauline Heyne at or 828.253.0095 ext. 216. [Members listed below as of March 1, 2017]

Anonymous (3)

Carol T. Coffey

John & Sarah Green

Joel & Marla Adams

Howard Colby & Penelope Longhurst

Michael & Sydney Green

John & Annie Ager

John Cram & Matt Chambers

Clemie Gregory

Michael & Catty Andry

Kate & Dick Crawford

Greg & Michele Gregory

Holly & Bernard Arghiere

John Crosland III Charitable Foundation

The Haddock Family

Richard Baird

Paul & Susan Crutchfield

Jackson & Laurie Hamilton

Warren & Larissa Bare

Charles & Jeanne Cummings

Keith & Patricia Hargrove

The Barnhardt Family

George & Kathy Dambach

Bob & Mabel Harvey

Ann Batchelder & Henri Kieffer

Joe DeLoach

Robert Harvey

Frank & Ranlet Bell

Robert Detjen

The Harvey Family

Robert & Joy Bierbaum

Norman & Erna Earle

Jeff & Lee Hatling

Fred & Cleone Black

Richard & Bridget Eckerd

Richard & Eileen Hayes

Kent & Jeanette Blazier

Stephen Edge & Sarah Davis

Lance & Nancy Herning

Courtney Blossman

Ron & Nancy Edgerton

Ronald Hicks

Clay & Leigh Bordley

Mary Ellen Edmonds

Joscelyn Hill

David & Laura Bourne

Charles & Mary Edwards

Molly & Dan Hitchcock

David & Lin Brown

David Erwin & MaryAnn Kiefer

Robert & Jane Hite

Ken & Ida Brown

Murray Evans & Dee Montie

Ray & Beth Hohenberger

Kirk & Shelley Brown

William & Carol Falender

Sheila & Stace Horine

Wes & Nancy Brown

Priestley & Brent Ford

Ann-Patton Hornthal & Lang Hornthal

Nathan & Anne Burkhardt

Lisa & George Francisco

James P. Houser, Jr. & Pat Cox

Bruce & Toni Byers

William & Ellen Gaddy

Chip & Teri Hultquist

Stuart Camblos

David Gantt

Dinesh & Alexandra Jain

Mr. & Mrs. L. Lee Chambers

John & Janet Garrett

Mary & Randy Johnson

R. Booth & Georgeanne Chapman

Peter & Jas Gentling

Jim & Lynn Karegeannes

Dorothy Wilson Chappell

Jim & Jill Gibson

Jamie & Elizabeth Kiser

Maggie Clancy & Alan McGregor

Helen C. Gift

Donna & Robert Kelly

Billy & Cindy Clarke

Joe & Sharon Goldston

Anne Kilgore

Dumont Clarke & Shirley J. Linn

Thomas Gonzalez & Florrie F. Funk

Laura Kimberly

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Annual Report Jack & Florence Krupnick

Carol Ann Mitchell

Waid & Babbie Shelton

Joe & Jill Lawrence

Ken & Lotta Murray

David Sherman

R. Scott & Meryl Lawrence

Carol Namkoong

Terry & Elizabeth Simmonds

Carrie Lenburg

Jeff Needham

Kathy & John Singleton

Jay Leutze

Edward Oliver

Jim & Marianne Skeen

Kathleen Leutze

Gregory Olson & Rosalind Willis

Dan & Evelyn Slagle

Robert & Ann Lewis

James & Katherine Overholser

Brian & Susan Smith

Anne & Claude Libis

Leonard & Esther Pardue

Phil & Pat Smith

Bill & Kim Lowndes

Cathy & George Phillips

Sandra S. Spooner

John & Rita Lowndes

Cynthia Poortenga

Brad & Shelli Stanback

Rich Luker & Vicki Bennett

Nancy J. Pope & Jacklyn G. Tatelman

Fred & Alice Stanback

Ellen & Hank Lyle

Mary L. Powell

Peg & Bill Steiner

Popsie Lynch

Rich & Marilyn Jacobs Preyer

Margaret Storey

Bill & Kitty Lynch

Suzy & Ed Rankin

Donna & Jim Sublett

William & Janice Maddox

Kathy & Robert Rauch

Rick & Maggi Swanson

Richard & Rebecca Manske

Sally Rhoades

Tim Sweeney

Rick & Carole Marcotte

Blair & Ivon D. Rohrer, Jr.

Craig Thompson

John & Dee Mason

Dan Rosenberg & Jen Gervais

Rebecca & Jason Warner

Bill & Dee Dee Maxwell

Marc Rudow & Deborah Miles

Jean Webb

Laura & Mike McCue

John & Susie Ruhl

Laura Webb & John Hoskins

Shirley Anne McCullough

Bill Ryan & Lynn Bledsoe

Jason Wicker

John & Connie McLendon

Stuart & Nancy Ryman

Stephen & Kelley Wilkinson

Robbie & Jen McLucas

Jim Samsel & Kim McGuire

Joseph & Terese Williams

Sandy Melton

Joseph Sasfy & Marianne Mooney

Tom & Laurie Williams

Jacqueline Michel & Miles Hayes

Kurt Scheidt

Stephen & Mary Bruce Woody

David & Jill Millar

Sandy & Missy Schenck

Ben & Patty Woolf

Hezzy & Sharon Miller

Shirley Schultz

Lach Zemp

Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Leadership Event

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful fall day at our Community Farm as over 80 guests enjoyed local food, signature cocktails and a sneak peak of our newly renovated Education Center. Carl updated the attendees on our recent activities and how leadership gifts are making a difference to our ongoing land and water conservation work. Thank you once again to all those who attended — it was great to see you! View from the Highlands | 25

Legacy of L and and People

Legacy Society Members

Judith Roach Judith K. Roach, 77, of Kingsport, passed away in December 2015 — but her legacy lives on through her beloved mountains in the Roan. Judith was a long-time member of SAHC, and she provided a lasting gift for conservation in her will. We are extremely grateful for her vision and generosity. Judith retired from Eastman Chemical Company, where she was a Market Research Analyst. She was community-minded and volunteered in several organizations and at her church. Her interests included bridge, travel, river boating, water skiing, genealogy, nature study, and bird watching. She was also a long-time member of Friends of Roan Mountain and an organizing member of the Kingsport Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. “Judy like to visit Roan Mountain often,” said friend and SAHC member Jane Adams. “In her younger years she loved to hike, birdwatch, just anything to be in nature. In her later years she continued her love of bird watching and getting to the Roan as often as possible. Land conservation meant alot to her.” 26 | 2017 Ann

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Tom and Dawn Alligood Katherine Bachman* Gary & Betty Bailey Mildred Blaha* Tom & Jo Brock Robert D. Brown* G. Kimberly Carter* Carol T. Coffey Ann Cook Kate & Dick Crawford Lee Davis Bruce DeBruhl* Robert Detjen Jerome Drown* Dennis Duncan Pauline Dunne* Alan & Suzanne Escovitz Bill & Maxine Ference Robert & Kerri Ford David Goodkind* Clemie Gregory Mildred Hawk* Miles Hayes & Jacqueline Michel Mary & Joe Hemphill Lisa Huff Kay Hultquist* David & Judy Johnson Julia Jones* Julia Irwin* Leah Karpen Charles Klabunde* Carrie Lenburg Jim & Mary Allen Martin Laura & Mike McCue Sandra & Jackie Melton

Carol Ann Mitchell Karen & David Mouw Kay Murray* Rick Phelps Bill Popper* Raphael M. Rice, Jr.* Lynnell Reese Charles & Caroline Ribelin Elizabeth Richardson & Michael Pawlyk Judith Roach* Allan Safford* David Scanlon* William & Martha Scarborough Maggie Schlubach Shirley Schultz Gary & Lillah Schwartz Terry & Elizabeth Simmonds Jim and Marianne Skeen David Slobodin William Smith* Susan Stone* Dave & Debbie Taylor Sarah Thomason Craig Thompson Bob & Mary Thompson Buddy Tignor and Ava Carr Pat Tompkins Charlotte Umholtz* Nancy Wallace* Amelia Jo Wier* Ben Willis* Emily Wood Suzanne Wyckoff Lach Zemp *those whose gifts have been fulfilled

“If you are interested in leaving SAHC in your will, I would be honored to sit down and answer any questions you may have,” says Donor Relations Manager Pauline Heyne. “If you have included SAHC in your estate plans, please let us know. We would like to thank you for your generosity, make sure the purpose of your gift is understood by us, and recognize you as a member of our Legacy Society. We truly value our relationship with you. You are important to us and our future.” Is

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Legacy of L and and People


Leave a Lasting Legacy Would you like to protect the places you love — for now and for future generations to come? You can receive immediate benefits for gifts that last lifetimes. Many of these gifts cost nothing today — and in some cases give you money back in the form of tax benefits and/or life income payments. Your gift shapes the future of your community and helps ensure that we and our children will have places to hike, bike, boat, fish, hunt, see wildlife and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. You can name SAHC in your will in any one of a number of simple ways. An outright gift, either a designated dollar amount or percentage of your estate, could be specified. SAHC also could be named as a beneficiary to receive funds only after specific sums have been paid to individual beneficiaries. For example: “I bequeath ____(dollar amount or % of estate) to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Inc., a not-for-profit organized and existing under the laws of the State of Tennessee, and with a current business address of 372 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801, for its ongoing land conservation, stewardship and education (or for a specific program). Tax ID#62-1098890.” Every family’s financial situation is unique and it is important that you consult with your personal attorney or financial advisor to find the most suitable gift arrangements for you and your family to review it periodically as your circumstances change. For more information, contact Pauline Heyne at or 828.253.0095 ext 216, or visit our website at under the Ways to Give button. “Including SAHC in my estate plan was so easy. I simply directed that a percentage of my available estate go to SAHC. It is very satisfying to know that one of my final acts will be for the protection of the water, forests, and habitat of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I encourage all to consider this important and easy way to continue the significant work of SAHC.” — Lach Zemp, Former Trustee, Attorney with Roberts & Steven, P.A.

Our 2016-2017 AmeriCorps crew (L to R): Travis Bordley, Haley Smith, Anona Miller, Ben Linthicum, & Spencer Scheidt.

The AmeriCorps program (part of the Corporation for National and Community Service) is an important public/private partnership in which non-profits like SAHC match federal funds in order to accomplish meaningful land & water conservation and to create vibrant rural and urban communities. Our AmeriCorps service members each year help monitor and steward conservation properties, meet with landowners to make new land protection projects possible, and lead guided hikes and volunteer work days. AmeriCorps provides an investment directly into our communities — one which is amplified by our organizations and by the service of program members. It also provides critical experience and network-building opportunities for young professionals to launch successful careers. SAHC has hosted 33 AmeriCorps members, most of whom have gone on to continue careers in conservation. Currently, 91% of our former AmeriCorps are employed in jobs involving the environment. This year, we look forward to sharing their stories in upcoming newsletter and blog articles. Stay tuned!

View from the Highlands | 27

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage


Asheville, NC Permit No. 460

34 Wall Street, Suite 502 Asheville, NC 28801-2710 (828) 253-0095 Return Service Requested

Printed on Post Consumer Recycled Paper

Increase your impact!

Upcoming Hikes & Events! Focus Area Feature Hikes: Smoky Mountains – Saturday, March 25 Balsam Mountains – Saturday, April 1 AT Countryside – Saturday, May 6

Popper Memorial Hike Saturday, April 22

“For Love of Beer & Mountains” Big Briar Seasonal Release Party Friday, April 28

Yoga at the Vineyard Saturday, May 13

Remember SAHC with a gift of cash or stock. Our Wells Fargo account number is 4205-3519 and the DTC number for transfers is 0141. Your broker can arrange the transfer for you or call our office for assistance at 828.253.0095.

Appalachian Spring Celebration Thursday, May 18

See pg 3 for more events. Follow us online for updates!