Picture of some trees and a field at Hungry Beech Preserve.
Hungry Beech Preserve A new trail will loop through the preserve, highlighting much of what makes this property so special. © TNC

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TNC Receives Grant to Build Trail at Hungry Beech Preserve

The $83,400 grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation will support trail development and watershed conservation at Hungry Beech Preserve.

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The Nature Conservancy recently received $83,400 from the American Water Charitable Foundation to support trail development and watershed conservation at its Hungry Beech Preserve. The American Water Charitable Foundation is an organization established by American Water, the largest regulated water and wastewater utility company in the U.S.

Located in Roane County, the Hungry Beech Preserve is home to nearly 30 acres of outstanding cove hardwood and oak-hickory forests, with many of the large American Beech and White Oaks reaching over 13 feet in circumference and exceeding 56 inches in diameter. The preserve also features two ridges and over 80 species of spring flowering plants and many neotropical migrant birds. The new trail will loop through the preserve, highlighting much of what makes this property so special.

“Developing a trail at this preserve will allow easier access to beautiful cove forests, large boulder and cliff complexes and create a unique visitor experience,” said Mike Powell, director of land management and stewardship for The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia. “Located a short drive from Charleston, this will provide a nature experience to a wide group of residents and visitors while protecting headwater streams, ancient streams, ancient forests and a unique assemblage of wildlife.”

The trail will be approximately 2.6 miles and will begin by following the first portion of an abandoned trail, reclaiming the existing footpath while building new trail to create a loop. The new trail will take a gentle descent through the stunning forests, meandering through stones and bedrocks that remind one just how old and magical the region can be. The plateaus created by the natural erosion in the area provide an excellent opportunity for a tail system that offers a hike more akin to a Sunday stroll in the park.

“The trail TNC is going to install at the Hungry Beech preserve is going to be a revamp and addition to an existing trail that became grown in and eroded from lack of maintenance,” says Tucker Curran, TNC’s recreation coordinator. “This preserve has spent a lot of time as an unheralded gem in the area, with accessibility issues keeping most folks away. So, for TNC, Hungry Beech has become an opportunity to create a community-accessible recreation area with a trail that suits folks who aren’t looking for strenuous hiking and that also gives them stunning views and an immersive experience.”

Carrie Williams, President of the American Water Charitable Foundation added, “The American Water Charitable Foundation is delighted to collaborate with the Nature Conservancy on the trail development and watershed conservation project at the Hungry Beech Preserve. Aligning with our focus on environmental stewardship and community engagement, we are particularly excited about the positive impact this initiative will provide for local families and visitors for many years to come. 

Work on the trail will begin in early July.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on X.