Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and Camp Grier in Old Fort have collaborated to permanently conserve 203 acres in the Jarrett Creek watershed portion of the non-profit camp’s property.
Conservation easements on the land will protect forested stream buffers and include other conservation provisions to ensure that stream water quality, extensive natural habitats, and scenic public views from Pisgah National Forest are forever protected. This includes land along high quality streams at the camp including Jarrett Creek in the Catawba Basin headwaters.
“We’re grateful and pleased to be able to work with Camp Grier to protect these important watershed lands,” says Tom Kenney, land protection director for Foothills Conservancy. “Conserving this land will benefit everyone who enjoys spending time outdoors at Camp Grier and in surrounding areas, and all of the Carolinians who depend on drinking water from the Catawba Basin.”
Each summer, children from across the state visit Camp Grier. Its watershed lands are home to educational activities, trails, rustic camping and places to wade in Jarrett Creek. U.S. Forest Service lands, which adjoin two sides of the property, already protect nearly all of the creek’s watershed lands upstream to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“It has been wonderful to work with Foothills Conservancy on this project,” said Jason McDougald, Executive Director of Camp Grier. “As an outdoor ministry, preserving our natural resources and developing a love of the outdoors in young people is central to our mission. Knowing the funds generated from this project will not only conserve over 200 acres, but will also be used by our endowment to provide the base funding for our Maybin Mission Streets to Peaks program—co-founded by Cameron Maybin—is tremendously rewarding. This is truly a win for our land and water and a win for the young people who will be able to enjoy life-changing experiences in the outdoors for generations to come.”
In September 2014, the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund awarded a $178,653 grant to help Foothills Conservancy acquire the conservation easement at the camp. The project received $34,500 of grant funds from the N.C. Department of Justice Environmental Enhancement Grant Program, through a block grant to Blue Ridge Forever, a Western North Carolina land trust partnership of which Foothills Conservancy is a member. Conservationists Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury also contributed $145,000 to the project.
Camp Grier is an outdoor ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The camp offers an overnight residential camp each summer for boys and girls grades 2–12 that includes hiking, swimming, rock climbing, arts and crafts, agriculture, canoeing, service, whitewater paddling, mountain biking, and backpacking. Camp Grier also works with church and community groups throughout the year to plan and execute service-learning experiences. Each year its facilities are also rented by church groups, youth groups, mountain bike and equestrian groups, retreats, and weddings.