This year’s hike will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, and features naturalist Don Hendershot and Peter Bates, associate professor of natural resources at Western North Carolina. Hendershot will talk about the flora and fauna, and Bates will answer questions about the watershed property and forest management plan. The preserve reaches from Allens Creek up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a massive flank that cradles the southern end of town. The tract serves as the source of Waynesville’s drinking water.
The 50-acre reservoir fed by the watershed holds around 600 million gallons of water. Elevations on the property range from 3,200 feet by the reservoir to more than 6,200 feet at Richland Balsam. Hikers must be able to hike three to five miles in moderately strenuous terrain and should bring their own lunch, water, appropriate clothing, hat and rain gear. Birders should also bring their binoculars.