Mainspring’s story begins new chapter

Sharon Taylor was in her mid-30s when she left her office gig to return to school, hoping to pursue a career that would allow her to spend more time outdoors and less time handling fluorescent-lit paperwork.

After graduating from Western Carolina University with a degree in natural resources management, Taylor found a job at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Macon County, where she worked as a research technician and enjoyed the full menu of retirement and health benefits to which she was entitled as an employee of the University of Georgia. Things were going well, and if she gave UGA the next 20 years, they’d give her a comfortable retirement. 

Stakeholders offer initial feedback on long-awaited forest management plan

The atmosphere inside the Lake Logan Conference Center was more akin to a reunion of friends than to a gathering of business associates as members of the Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision arrived Wednesday, Feb. 26 — and perhaps there’s good reason for that. 

Rallying around the red wolf: Haywood man works to save N.C.’s native wolf

Christopher Lile, 23, was just months away from graduating to begin a career in wildlife conservation when he first learned that North Carolina has a native wolf population. He was sitting in a senior-year class at Gardner-Webb University, and a Defenders of Wildlife representative was speaking about the red wolf. 

Legacy for education: Waynesville couple donates land for natural resource education

Haywood County has seen its share of change over the past century, and nobody knows that better than Joe Morrow. 

Morrow, 86, grew up on 107 acres of steep mountain land that today is located just down the road and across from the Haywood County Fairgrounds. It’s been in the family since his grandparents were farming, but he and his wife Sue have now placed 53 acres in a conservation easement that allowed it to become Haywood Community College’s newest teaching forest. 

Conservation purchase will protect elk, other wildlife on I-40

A 187-acre conservation purchase in Haywood County will allow for wildlife grazing and movement near Interstate 40.

Conserving for clean water: Project protects 710 acres in Maggie, with 1,350 more to come

Conservation leaders from across the state and nation gathered in Maggie Valley earlier this month to dedicate a land protection project that’s been in the works for a decade and a half — but is in many ways just beginning. 

The Conservation Fund now owns tracts of land totaling 710 acres in Maggie Valley’s Campbell Creek and Jonathan Creek watersheds, with work underway to transfer that property to the Maggie Valley Sanitary District for permanent conservation. Another 1,350 acres are in the pipeline for protection, with property owners having agreed to sell it once the money is there to buy it. 

Trump signs Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was permanently reauthorized today following President Donald Trump’s signature on a law that received overwhelming bipartisan in both the House and the Senate.

Congress votes to reauthorize Land and Water Conservation Fund

Congress has voted to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund following a 363-62 vote of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.

Tribe votes for Plott Balsam conservation

An effort to conserve 912 acres along the Plott Balsam ridge in Jackson County cleared the final hurdle of a five-year-long race last week when the Cherokee Tribal Council narrowly voted to contribute $1 million to the project. 

Funding conservation: Federal program’s expiration impacts local land trusts

On Sept. 30, 2018, a program that’s been pouring money into land conservation for more than 50 years expired. And despite bipartisan support, efforts to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund have so far failed. 

“A program like LWCF should not be subject to these crazy swings in politics and funding,” said Jay Leutze, vice president of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Board and a spokesperson for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. “This just creates chaos.

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