Blue Ridge Conservancy Protects 1.3 Miles of Scenic Ridgeline Along NC 105 Corridor

Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 3:51 pm

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“The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature.”

The horizon seems endless from the vistas of the High Country. The panoramic views of 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, never cease to inspire and amaze.  For over twenty years Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) has been working to protect the lands that preserve the High Country’s unique charm.

BRC recently purchased 245 acres on Peak Mountain in Watauga and Avery counties from BH Land Acquisition, LLC.  The property is highly visible from Seven Devils, the NC Hwy 105 corridor, Grandfather Mountain, Hanging Rock and other mountains and ridges in the vicinity.  Its close proximity to other protected lands, such as Grandfather Mountain, Bear Paw State Natural Area, and Otter Falls Trail adds to the conservation significance.

Peak Mountain is a well-defined ridgeline running from southwest to northeast through the center of the property.  The northern boundary adjoins Hawksnest Resort.  The land is entirely forested dominated by mixed hardwoods.  Topography is steep, mountainous land with elevations ranging from 3,680 to 4,760 feet.

Scenic landscapes endow communities with significant benefits, such as higher property values and increased tourism revenue. Protecting prominent vistas from unwise development allows a community to attract positive growth in the area.

Blue Ridge Conservancy is guided by the principle advocated by Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote in his essay, Nature “None of us owns the landscape,” but everyone owns the view.

The goal of scenic protection also often overlaps with other conservation goals such as protection of open space, wildlife habitat, forests, or water resources.  The conserved property lies within the Dun Vegan Mountain Natural Area as designated by the NC Natural Heritage Program (NHP).  According to NHP, “Dun Vegan Mountain supports a good example of the rare High Elevation Rocky Summit natural community, as well as good examples of Rich Cove Forest and High Elevation Red Oak Forest.  The High Elevation Rocky Summit community supports an assemblage of rare plants.”

Valley Creek, a tributary of the Watauga River, flows along the northeastern portion of the boundary and is designated Trout Waters by the NC Division of Water Resources.

Funding to purchase this property came from 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.

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