Plott Balsam conservation project gets funding

A plan to conserve more than 900 acres of high-elevation terrain in Jackson County will move forward after the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board voted last week to award $1.5 million toward its protection. 

A mile-high view: State-level squabble stalls Jackson County conservation project

To call the view stretching out below the 5,462-foot bald “spectacular,” “impressive” or even “jaw-dropping” would be an understatement. 

It was as clear a day as had been spotted in the mountains this rainy year, skies blue and cloudless ahead of the slowly moving remains of Hurricane Florence. The sun shone on Cherokee to the west, Bryson City visible just a couple folds of land beyond it and the Nantahala Mountains rimming the horizon south and west of the small towns. 

Rally ‘Round the River: Conference aims to unite Macon around watershed conservation

Twenty-five years ago, a group of residents, conservationists and agency officials met in Macon County to talk about water. At the time, the Little Tennessee River had no conserved land along its banks, and there was no nonprofit organization around dedicated to protecting it — but the gathering sparked a change.

“That conference was really the catalyst for the formation of the Little Tennessee Watershed Association and then later the Nikwasi Land Trust, (both of) which became the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee,” said Jason Love, site manager for the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Macon County.

Jackson votes in favor of Blackrock conservation

A 441.5-acre piece of land high in the Plott Balsams is well on its way to being permanently conserved following a unanimous vote from the Jackson County Commissioners to contribute $250,000 to its conservation. 

Jackson to vote on Blackrock conservation project

Sylva commissioners voted unanimously during their May 24 meeting to contribute $250,000 to a 441.5-acre conservation project adjacent to Pinnacle Park, but the success of the endeavor could hinge on a vote the Jackson County commissioners will take during a special meeting at 11:05 a.m. Thursday, May 31, at the Jackson County Justice and Administration Center in Sylva. 

Conservation project stalls in Jackson

An effort to conserve 441.5 acres of land in the Plott Balsam Mountains adjacent to Sylva’s Pinnacle Park has met resistance from a majority of the Jackson County commissioners, with the commission’s three Republican members expressing hesitation during a May 15 work session on the topic. 

Local governments mull 400-acre land purchase

An effort to conserve a 441.5-acre block of land adjacent to Pinnacle Park in the Plott Balsams is now looking much more feasible than when the possibility was first discussed nearly two years ago. 

Elk habitat projects underway on Silver Game Lands

When The Conservation Fund began acquiring the land that would eventually become the William H. Silver Game Lands near Maggie Valley, the idea was that parts of the property could be converted into elk-friendly habitat, hopefully alleviating conflicts between the large ungulates and the farmers whose crops they love to munch. 

Linked to the landscape: Community envisions Plott Balsams’ future

The doors opened, and the room filled — with hikers, bikers, ecologists, conservation workers, economic development professionals and Cherokee tribal members alike who were intent on making their voices heard during a public form Thursday, Jan. 25, which took input on plans that will impact the future of Waterrock Knob and the Plott Balsams. 

Worth protecting: Conservation organizations partner to preserve Parkway lands

Born in the upstairs of the Post Office building his mom ran in Crabtree, Robert Williams, now 87, has always called Haywood County home. 

His dad was in the cattle business, and when the family moved to Canton during Williams’ childhood, chores such as feeding cattle, splitting wood and tending the fire kept Williams busy. But his grandfather William Silver’s 1,800-acre tract in the Plott Balsams, while also technically a workplace, provided a respite from the busyness of day-to-day life. Silver and his son — Williams’ uncle — ranged cattle up there, and in the summers Williams would join them. 

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