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.

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. 

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