Camp Lutherock, located on the southwestern slope of Sugar Mountain in Avery County, is permanently protected for its natural resources and scenic beauty after a decade long collaborative effort by Blue Ridge Conservancy, North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, and NovusWay Ministries.
The 5,200 foot peak of Sugar Mountain is one of the 20 highest peaks in the eastern U.S. It provides a panoramic view of all nearby mountains including Grandfather, Beech, Roan, Table Rock, and Hawksbill, as well as views of the distant Black Mountains including Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak in the East. Skiers and snowboarders of Sugar Mountain Resort enjoy views of the Camp Lutherock from the North Ridge ski slope. The protected property also falls within the viewshed of the Linville Ridge community.
“Protecting scenic vistas preserves the community’s unique charm—the very thing that draws many residents and visitors to this area. It is critical to conserve these undeveloped mountain landscapes,” said Walter Clark, Blue Ridge Conservancy’s Executive Director.
This conservation easement will ensure that the property be retained forever in its natural state. It is considered a Significant Natural Area by the NC Natural Heritage Program due to its unique ecological character.
The camp hosts two endangered ecosystems, three endangered species, and numerous other rare species and high quality forests. It also contains headwater streams for the North Toe River and Sugar Creek, which provide excellent water resources and rich habitats for aquatic life.
Camp Lutherock uses the land for recreation including hiking, an advanced high ropes course, rock climbing, disc golf, and other camp activities, meetings, and conferences. Camp Lutherock will continue to serve people of all ages from throughout the Southeastern United States with primarily outdoor adventure oriented camping, just as it always has.
Dr. Ed Hauser, chair of NovusWay’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Council, states, “I’m delighted at this action that will insure the visual scenic beauty, ecological integrity of endangered ecosystems and species, and natural streams and their riparian zones which support populations of the Wheller’s Salamander, a globally endangered species, and native brook trout. Camp Lutherock is literally a treasure for today and for future generations.”
The project was funded by a grant awarded by Clean Water Management Trust Fund and a generous donation from Fred and Alice Stanback.
About Blue Ridge Conservancy
BRC is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization incorporated in North Carolina.
BRC has protected over 18,500 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties. In addition to protecting working farmland, BRC’s efforts have resulted in the creation of state natural areas like Beech Creek Bog, Bear Paw State Natural Area and Bullhead Mountain. We continue to help Elk Knob State park expand its borders and established Pond Mountain Game Land in Ashe County. More information about Blue Ridge Conservancy is available at www.blueridgeconservancy.org.
About the Clean Water Management Trust Fund
The Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) is a foundation established to assist conservation non-profits, local governments and state agencies for the protection of surface waters in North Carolina. Created in response to growing concerns about the rivers, streams and other surface water bodies in the state and their ability to support local economies dependent on these waters, the legislature introduced the program that would take an innovative and non-regulatory approach to the protection and restoration of the surface waters all across the state. More information can be found at www.cwmtf.net.
About NovusWay Inc.
NovusWay, Inc. is an independent non-profit entity owned by the North Carolina, South Carolina, Southeastern and Florida/Bahamas Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In addition to Camp Lutherock, NovusWay also owns and operates Camp Lutheridge in Arden, North Carolina, Camp Luther Springs outside of Gainesville, Florida and is developing Camp Lutheranch in Tallapoosa, Georgia. NovusWay offers programs for people of all ages and facilities for use by private groups. More information on the organization can be found at www.novusway.com