Land conservation is off to an exciting start in 2020 with Blue Ridge Conservancy’s (BRC) purchase of 91 acres on Peak Mountain in Avery County. The land includes the summit of Peak Mountain, originally part of the planned Tynecastle development.
The prominent rock outcropping is familiar to residents and visitors of the Banner Elk area, and is quite visible from Sugar Mountain and Seven Devils. The property was previously owned by the Schwebke Family of Avery County, and is known by several other names including Tynecastle Peak, Invershiel Peak and Dunvegan Peak.
“The Schwebke family is thankful to work with Blue Ridge Conservancy to protect Tynecastle Peak in loving memory of Robert C. Schwebke, an amazing husband, father and grandfather,” said Judith Schwebke. “He loved the peak of this mountain and knowing that it is protected and enjoyed by others now is very special to our family.”
The land boasts a dramatic ridgeline, healthy forests, interesting rocky outcrops and several populations of rare plant species. Peak Mountain is located within the Dunvegan Natural Heritage Area, a significant natural area identified by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program (NHP). The NHP developed the state’s most comprehensive database of natural resource information based on rare plant and animal species occurrences and assemblages of natural communities.
Land protection in the Greater Grandfather Mountain Conservation Area has long been a priority of Blue Ridge Conservancy. The 91 acres is adjacent to 310 acres BRC purchased since 2016. The spine of Peak Mountain runs parallel to NC Highway 105 with Grandfather Mountain to the South. This is especially important wildlife habitat conservation for migratory birds, bats and insects using the Grandfather Mountain area corridor.
“BRC will continue to work with the Town of Seven Devils to pursue grants for the creation of a public access trail on Peak Mountain to connect to the Town’s Otter Falls Park,” said BRC Executive Director, Charlie Brady. “Public access acquisitions are a continuing priority for BRC, and the Peak Mountain project is a significant achievement toward that end.”
Funding to purchase this property came from a generous donation from Fred and Alice Stanback.
Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) is a local, nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving natural resources in northwest North Carolina. BRC has conserved over 21,000 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties.
BRC’s efforts have resulted in the protection of scenic vistas, working farmland, rare and threatened ecological habitats and clean water resources. BRC assisted the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Elk Knob State Park in expanding their borders, established Pond Mountain Game Land and is spearheading the Middle Fork Greenway project to connect Blowing Rock to Boone, naturally.
Exceptional levels of financial transparency and accountability earned BRC a perfect score from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations. BRC is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for meeting the highest standards for excellence and conservation permanence. More information about Blue Ridge Conservancy is available at www.blueridgeconservancy.org.