Late last week Peter Barr from the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy sent me an email alerting me to a new feature on the CMLC website. Mr. Barr has recently published a series of conservation stories on the website.
In this new series you can read tales of the people who lived on North Carolina's conserved lands, the struggles and rewards their families experienced, and the fascinating and sometimes bizarre occurrences that tied them to the mountains. Peter's hope is that through these stories, the history of these special places will be preserved just like the land itself. Moreover, readers will have the opportunity to discover the heritage of the people who call these lands home.
CMLC’s protected lands possess an abundance of amazing natural features: waterfalls, scenic vistas, and striking biodiversity, to name only a few. All of these wonderful resources are highly visible to those who visit them, yet they reveal the value of the land only on its surface. Every tract has a story. Every mountain carries echoes of the past.
Nearly 400 acres of forest, farms, and natural lands are lost to unplanned development every day in North Carolina. In addition to the loss of their natural character, equally tragic is the loss of their histories and stories—elements that make up the core of our region’s heritage and influence our values. Those who have lived amongst our mountains, worked their soils, and explored their rugged slopes have bestowed as much identity to them as the animals that roam the forests or the water that flows in their streams. CMLC is not simply conserving land, but also the timeless stories that they hold.
Peter already has several stories published, and plans to add new installments on a regular basis that will tell the stories behind CMLC’s more than 20,000 acres of protected lands in western North Carolina. You can read those stories here.
Peter Barr is CMLC’s Trails & Outreach Coordinator. He is the author of two hiking and historical guidebooks: Hiking North Carolina’s Lookout Towers and the forthcoming Hiking the Southeast’s Highest Peaks. He has also written for Blue Ridge Outdoors, Smoky Mountains News, and Lookout Network. An avid hiker, Peter has reached the summit of every southern Appalachian peak exceeding an elevation of 5,000 feet as well as hiked all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2010, he thru-hiked the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.