The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy marked the 35th anniversary of their conservation partnership with the joint purchase of the 104-acre Indian Saddle tract on Little Yellow Mountain in Avery County. The purchase was the result of a foreclosure proceeding after a failed development attempt.
“This tract bridges a gap between the mountain peak, which The Nature Conservancy bought last year, and Mollie’s Branch, which the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy protected earlier,” explained David Ray, NC Mountains Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. “Successful conservation is a matter of cooperation, not competition.” The two conservancies have protected 1,115 acres on Little Yellow Mountain.
“Protecting this property builds on the work that the two conservancies have done since 1975,” said Jay Leutze, SAHC Board Member. That’s when the two groups began joint management of Big Yellow Mountain Preserve, which lies across from Little Yellow Mountain. “Together, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy have made a real difference.”
Little Yellow Mountain is an important piece of the nationally significant Roan Mountain Massif natural heritage area, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Southern Appalachians. Seventy-six rare species of plants and animals are found there. The Roan contains an incredible mix of habitats – spruce-fir forest, grassy balds, high elevation rocky summits, and rich coves.
The sale was made possible through a generous grant from the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund and private donations to both conservancies. Eventually these Little Yellow Mountain properties will be transferred to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation to become part of the newly created Yellow Mountain State Natural Area.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.