The mountain landscapes of western North Carolina remind us of our heritage, rich culture, beautiful scenery, and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. But these are just a few reasons we must protect our mountains.
Foothills Conservancy’s region is home to some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Hotspots of biodiversity, these mountains provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including numerous endangered and threatened species. Forested slopes shelter clear mountain streams that are full of life. These headwater streams provide critical clean drinking water for millions downstream in both North and South Carolina. The mountains’ natural riches bring us economic, physical and psychological benefit when responsibly managed.
Our land trust protection efforts focus on the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains and their biologically rich and dramatic gorges, including the nationally significant Linville Gorge, Hickory Nut Gorge/Chimney Rock, Wilson Creek Gorge and Johns River Gorge. We also focus on unique small mountain ranges that rise like islands in the Piedmont – the South Mountains and Brushy Mountains – and that provide bridges to the Blue Ridge for wildlife. Since 1995, we have permanently protected thousands of acres across these mountain landscapes with more protection projects currently in process.
- The Blue Ridge Mountains of the Southern Appalachian Range are one of the most majestic, frequently visited, and well-known natural wonders of the eastern United States.
- Protection of the South Mountains range starts close to home. The ancient mountains rise from the foothills just south of Morganton and encompass nearly 100,000 acres including portions of Rutherford, Burke, Cleveland, McDowell, Catawba and Lincoln counties.
- The picturesque views and clear mountain waters encountered during a visit to Lake James and the Linville Gorge National Wilderness Area are unparalleled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Foothills region.
- When thinking of the natural wonders of western North Carolina, many people envision Chimney Rock. The towering spire rises from rocky cliffs and overlooks scenic Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure in western Rutherford County.