The New River Headwaters ranks as one of the most diverse and critically important biological hotspots in the entire Southern Appalachians.
Many species found here came to the region just one step ahead of the encroaching Ice Age and remained in the high peaks of these rugged mountains after the ice receded 10,000 years ago.
The New River Headwaters is home to many rare plants, including the world's largest population of federally endangered Heller's blazing star.
The landscape of mountain bogs and boulderfield forests is rich with unusual natural communities and endangered plants and animals. It faces the dual threats of rapid development and habitat fragmentation.
The New River Headwaters has been a focus of The Nature Conservancy since the North Carolina Chapter established the Bluff Mountain Preserve in 1977. The Conservancy is currently working to protect Long Hope Creek, which feeds into the North Fork of the New River.