Friday, February 15, 2013

Tract Adjacent to Grassy Ridge on Roan Mountain now Protected

This week the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy announced the recent purchase of a 601-acre tract of land that will protect areas adjacent to Grassy Ridge on Roan Mountain.

At the very end of December 2012, SAHC purchased the tract at Grassy Ridge in Avery County, NC, adjacent to the Pisgah National Forest and near the Appalachian Trail. This incredible tract borders one of the highest ridges of the Southern Appalachians, and has been one of SAHC’s top conservation priorities for four decades - due to its size and location within a large network of high elevation protected lands.

At its northern boundary, the tract takes in the crest of Grassy Ridge where it joins Pisgah National Forest, and at the southern end the property joins a tract owned by the State of NC in the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area. This newly protected Grassy Ridge tract consists of a large, forested bowl within three ridges: Grassy Ridge, Big Roan Ridge, and Martin Ridge. It lies in the view shed of the Appalachian Trail, the Overmountain Victory Trail, and other locations in the Highlands of Roan.

SAHC's purchase of the tract permanently protects pristine water quality and globally significant plant & animal habitat, and will enable biological research, contributing to large-scale management of the core Roan landscape. One of the largest concentrations of rare species and communities in the state are found on Grassy Ridge and the adjoining habitats of Roan. The Roan Mountain Important Bird Area and the Roan Massif Significant Natural Heritage Area cover the property, and hundreds of acres of high elevation old fields form a wonderful swath of bird habitat, prime for Golden-winged warblers. Headwater tributaries of Roaring Creek originate on the tract – wild trout waters that flow into the North Toe River.

For more information on the purchase, please click here.

The hike out to Grassy Ridge, along the Appalachian Trail, is one of my favorite hikes in the entire Southern Appalachians region. If you've never had the pleasure of hiking it, I highly recommend spending a half day soaking in the incredibly beautiful views. For more information about the hike, please click here.

Hiking in the Smokies

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