The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has purchased the property with funds donated by Brad and Shelli Stanbeck, permanently protecting important habitat and water resources near the remote Cataloochee Valley area of the park.
“Wrapped on three sides by publicly owned land, this pocket of prime forest and open pasture habitat will remain undeveloped for future generations,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC’s executive director. “The acquisition presents a wonderful opportunity for SAHC to deepen our connection to America’s most visited national park.”
The land shares more than 7,000 feet of its boundary with the national park and serves as a key wildlife corridor for rare and threatened species, including keystone species such as the recently reintroduced elk. The property also contains nearly 3 miles of streams, including headwater tributaries of Stevens Creek, which drains directly into Waterville Lake and is part of the Pigeon River watershed.