OUR MISSION: To protect and conserve natural resources in the Foothills of North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina, with emphasis on the lands and waterways with scenic, ecologic or agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds.

THE VISION: A community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage.

Welcome to the Pacolet Area Conservancy website!

Through the varied conservation tools at its disposal, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has helped protect over 8,608.719 acres of our area’s valuable natural resources. PAC holds conservation easements on 60 protected properties. PAC owns 26 properties. PAC is responsible for monitoring 68 easements annually, 8 of which are held by the state of North Carolina and one which is held by The Nature Conservancy. PAC is responsible for monitoring a total of 4,737.39 acres annually to make certain that the terms of the conservation agreements are upheld.

Click here to read the Summer newsletter!




Duke Energy has determined that their plans for the Western Carolinas Modernization Project, which proposed a 45-mile Foothills Transmission Line and Campobello substation, are no longer necessary!

no dukeClick here to read the Duke news release, 11/4/15!

 The Pacolet Area Conservancy cordially invites you to our Annual Holiday Party!

Join PAC for an Open House at the home of Dewitt and Betsy Miner,

540 Pierce Road, Landrum, SC

on Sunday, December 6th, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Come for a Holiday Brunch and Cheer, Silent Auction and Native Plant Sale!


House with decorationRSVP by December 1st

Please call PAC for more information.

Upcoming Events at Walnut Creek Preserve in 2016!

January 30Mary Holcombe of Southern Heritage Nursery (a native plant nursery in Blue Ridge, SC) will present, “Native Plants in the Landscape: For Unparalleled Beauty and Ease of Care.”


March (26?) – naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, present “More Woodslore andWildwoods Wisdom—Stories, Songs, and Lore Celebrating the Natural World”


April 30 – Joyce Pearsall will present “The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Current Status”


May 14 – botanist and naturalist, David Campbell, will present a program on Butterflies and Butterfly Identification.
August – Dr. Bill Stringer, a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University, will
present on native grasses.
September 17, Melissa Pilgrim,Director of Research and Associate Professor of Biology
at the University of South Carolina Upstate will present on Amphibians!
October 22, Dan Lazar will present on “the Southern Appalachians During the Ice Age.”
(Photo Credit: © George)
More to come!

For more information about these programs, click on this link to go to the Upcoming Events page of this website.

PAC/WCP programs are made possible, in part, due to a grant provided by Delores Lastinger

 Monarch Butterflies have found the new PAC Butterfly Garden at the PAC office!



P1110711_9-18-15Monarch Chrysalis in the garden!

So far, we have had TWELVE Monarch caterpillars feeding on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in the PAC butterfly garden!!!

The Gulf Fritillary are busy feeding and laying eggs all over the Passion Flower too!  The vine is LOADED with eggs and larvae!  We’re sure to have plenty of pupae in the garden!

gulf fritillary

9-24-15A Gulf Fritillary that pupated on one of the windows at the office HAS HATCHED INTO A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY!

Verigated FritillaryThe Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) has also used the Violets in the garden for its caterpillars to feed on!

The “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats” project has come to an end.

On Wednesday, October 7, Wells Farm removed the crew of 19 Kiko goats – as well as Moses, an Anatolian Shepard – from the Town of Tryon lot, near IGA, for the final time.

The goats have been working to eradicate Kudzu from the site twice a year, for three consecutive years.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative.

Before and after-Fall 2015

For more information on this project, click here

NEW!!!  Help PAC locate “Species of Interest” in Polk County!

Check out the new Polk County’s Most Wanted “pocket guides” for (1) Plants and for (2) Animals and Habitats!

Polk County's Most Wanted pocket guide to plants       Polk County's Most Wanted pocket guide to animals

Follow this link to download and print the pocket guides!

Stanback Volunteer Conservationist of the Year Award

presented to Bob & Babs Strickland!

"                               "

Bob Strickland, PAC’s Executive Director, Mary Walter, and Babs Strickland, PAC President of the Board of Directors. (photo by Rebecca Hankins)

Click here to read an article about North Carolina’s Local Land Trusts Annual Awards to Eleven Conservation Leaders.

monarch-butterflies-on-a-flowerMigratory Monarch Waystation Habitats

Each fall, as conditions in the north become unfavorable, millions of Monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada to overwintering sites in Mexico and California.  As spring returns and conditions become more favorable, these butterflies return to their summer range in the north. North America’s Monarch migration is one of the greatest natural history spectacles on Earth, but these beautiful insects are threatened due to habitat loss in their summer breeding range.

Consequently, many non-governmental groups, including the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), are encouraging their members, partners, and area residents to restore milkweed and native nectar-plant habitat for Monarchs and the need is critical.

Therefore, PAC is urging the public to create butterfly gardens that cater to the Monarch butterfly, Monarch Waystation Habitats.  Monarch Waystations provide the necessary plants for Monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their annual migration.  Milkweeds, the host plant to the larvae (caterpillars) of the Monarch, enable Monarch’s to produce successive generations, resulting in the migration each fall.  Likewise, without nectar from flowers, the butterflies migrating in the fall would lack the necessary energy to be able to make the long journey to their overwintering grounds.

Thanks to a grant from Loti Woods, PAC has created Monarch Waystation Seed Kits that include approximately 100 seeds each, with 8 varieties of nectar plants and 3 varieties of Monarch larval host plants (milkweed) that are all native to Polk County.

Let’s work together to save the migratory Monarch!

For more information on this topic, click here.

Seed packet

PAC receives Certificate of Appreciation

for the creation of a Monarch Waystation at Norman Wilder Forest!

Waystation certificate

PAC creates Migratory Monarch Habitat at the Polk County Library!

On Tuesday, June 16th, PAC Volunteers met at the Polk County Library to create a Monarch Waystation/butterfly garden habitat at the Polk County Library!

Four PAC volunteers, Edith Castello (Education Committee member), Vince Castello, Sue Mullen (past Board member), and Ford Smith (Education Committee chair) planted numerous milkweed (a larval host plant of the Monarch Butterfly) and native nectar plants to create what is sure to be a beautiful butterfly garden!

This project was made possible by a grant from Loti Woods and is part of an initiative that PAC is working on to raise awareness and create habitat for the Migratory Monarch (and other butterflies), which is on a population decline due to habitat loss, increased pesticide use, climate change, and lack of knowledge.

P1080439_f Edith Castello, Sue Mullen, and Vince Castello planting the Monarch Waystation at the Polk County Library (photo by Ford Smith)

Memorial Planting of Rare, Potentially Blight-resistance American Chestnut Trees in Polk County!

On Saturday, February 7 at 11:00 a.m., The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) directed a memorial planting of four potentially blight-resistant American Chestnut trees at Harmon Field in Tryon, NC, as well as four American Chestnut trees at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest. This planting is a living memorial to Mara Smith, local photographer and writer, who died February 5, 2014.

This is a partnership between Ford Smith & family, The American Chestnut Foundation, Harmon Field/The Town of Tryon, and the Pacolet Area Conservancy.

by Bob Bruce_10

Click here to hear Tom Saielli, Southern Regional Science Coordinator for the American Chestnut Foundation, summarizes the purpose and importance of reintroduction efforts by the Foundation and the public.

Gil's slide

PAC announces trail closure

With great sadness, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is announcing that the Weaverbarton Shuford Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary trails will be closed to the public as of August 31.

Since the passing of Robert Shuford in 2011, the land has been managed by the executor of the estate.  Although the conservation easement, protecting the property in perpetuity, allows for private and public nature trails, it does not require the owner to keep the trails open.

PAC is hopeful that the trail system will be re-opened in the near future and regrets the current situation and loss of this beautiful, much enjoyed, public natural area.

PAC is working hard to find a conservation buyer for the property who will re-open the public hiking trails, but it is very early in that process.

A long beloved property

Helen Shuford, Robert Shuford’s mother, loved her home in Columbus and its surrounding acreage of pastures, woods, and meadows.  She also had a profound love of birds.  Upon her husband’s death in 1965, she decided to donate her property to the Carolina Bird Club (CBC) as a memorial to her husband and as a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife.

For more than 30 years, CBC used the property for annual Christmas bird counts and for educational excursions.  The initial generation of bird club members took an interest in the property, and they built trails and used the property annually for bird watching, bird counts, and nature walks.

In 1998, a year after Mrs. Shuford’s death, CBC made plans to sell the 82-acre property.  Robert Shuford, who lived in the family home adjacent to the CBC property, was devastated to learn of CBC’s plans to sell the “protected” property.  Due to its location in Columbus, he feared that the land would be sold for development, destroying his mother’s intentions and wishes for the land, “that the property remain an island of green.”  

Mrs. Shuford never intended for the land to be sold or developed.  Therefore,  Robert Shuford made a generous offer to purchase his family land from CBC, taking on a great financial burden, and spending a great deal of time arranging for the family farmstead to be preserved forever as a wildlife sanctuary with a public trail system.  Robert dreamed that the land would be used forever by nature and bird lovers, honoring his mother’s wishes.

In 1999, CBC agreed to sell the land to Robert Shuford with the understanding that a conservation easement, granted to PAC, would be placed on the property, protecting the land as a wildlife sanctuary forever.  Indeed, a conservation easement was placed on the property the very same year and runs with the land, protecting it in perpetuity, as not only Mr. Shuford, but his mother intended.

Early in 2006, at the request of Robert Shuford, PAC began to establish walking trails on the property to make the land accessible to the public for bird watching, plant and tree identification, water study, animal track identification, and the general enjoyment of hearing the sounds of the wind in the trees and water running in the streams.

In October 2007, PAC held the official opening of the Weaverbarton Shuford Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary trails.  It was a wonderful celebration with more than 50 community members, Mr. Shuford, PAC staff and volunteers, and several county commissioners in attendance.

This trail system was not only an important link in the trail system in this part of the county, but it also allowed for easy access to the public from the Town of Columbus.  It provided 2-miles of hiking trails, including three loops, a self-guided nature trail, allowing visitors to learn about and appreciate their surroundings, and in 2009, it was accepted as a site along the North Carolina Birding Trail.  The trail system also adjoined the St. Luke’s Tom Raymond Fitness Trail and linked to the Isothermal Community College hiking trail, offering visitors a variety of hiking options.  Finally, the Shufords’ dream had been realized. 

PAC will work hard to find a conservation buyer who will re-establish the intentions and purposes for the land in fulfillment of the Shufords’ dream for it and for our community.

Volunteers Ford Smith & Alan Leonard help PAC remove the trail signs from the Weaverbarton Shuford Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary, as per the request of the executor to the estate.

PAC is pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation for our Kudzu Eradication Initiative!

We can always use more volunteers for this worthy cause!

Click here to visit our tab about Kudzu eradication projects in the area.

The Polk County Community Foundation is also funding a grant to PAC for a survey of flora and fauna of Polk County!

Botanist, David Campbell, will conduct the study and identify and document important species in our area. Polk County is considered one of the ‘Jewels in the Crown’ by the botanical community in our state but is one of only five counties where no study has been done. The primary focus is on species of concern: plants, animals, natural communities, and habitats most at risk of extinction at the global or local level.

At the end of the survey, a report will be written, all data recorded, and then will be distributed to all interested individuals, organizations, universities and colleges, etc. The data enables the land trust to take a proactive role in protecting habitats supporting species of concern at both the county and municipal levels. These projects have been used by conservation organizations for decades to help prioritize their work and incorporate the data into comprehensive plans.

Campbell has been writing stories for the Tryon Daily Bulletin called “Polk County’s Most Wanted” about plants and animals unique to our area.

PAC would also like to thank the Polk County Community Foundation for making it possible for seven PAC representatives to attend the Land Trust Alliance 2015 Southeast Conference for Land and Community Conservation at Kanuga Conference Center in May!

Land trust professionals and board members from all over the southeast came together for a two-day training and information sharing event. Topics ranged from forest and farmland conservation to fundraising and media tactics.

PAC extends grateful thanks to the Polk County Community Foundation for their support.

millikenThe Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is pleased to announce a recent gift from Spartanburg based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. The generous award will be used in support of PAC’s mission to protect and conserve the natural resources of our area.

Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc., has also awarded a grant to PAC for the purpose of strategic planning.

“We applaud the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s efforts to create a strategic plan for the organization’s future growth and are happy to support the decision to bring in experts to lead the process,” said Rick Webel, president of Pacolet Milliken. “You won’t find a successful company or organization out there that hasn’t invested in putting together a strategic blueprint for its future and listened to the advice from experts. The PAC has done great work for the last 25 years, and I have no doubt that going through this process will position them for greater success for the next 25 years. I would encourage all non-profits to consider doing the same.”

PAC extends grateful thanks to Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. for their support.

PAC is in need of tools to help us continue our stewardship efforts!If you happen to have tools lying around that you are no longer using and you would like to donate them to PAC, we would greatly appreciate it!

On our “wish list”:

-chain saws

-weed whackers

-brush saws



-work gloves

-eye and ear protection

-push lawn mower

Do you know of a sensitive area that is scheduled for clearing and contains a lot of beautiful, native plants? Contact PAC! We would love the opportunity to visit the site and, perhaps help rescue the native plants there!

For information on Voluntary Conservation Easements (Agreements), click on the link below to download the latest in depth publication, Voluntary Conservation Agreements: An Introduction for North Carolina Land Owners, or contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy for a printed version.


Click here to download the 3 MB pdf: Voluntary Conservation Agreements: An Introduction for North Carolina Land Owners


Contact us to get information about how protecting your property may qualify you in for FEDERAL TAX BENEFITS!  And how preservation of your land can set the standard for our area’s conservation efforts.

Visit us to SEE A MAP showing where your property fits in the landscape of permanently protected land in the area, and/or see where your farm fits into protected land in Horse Country!

If you’d like to see a 10 MINUTE VIDEO about protecting our horse country, featuring interviews about how Virginia’s Piedmont Environmental Council protected their vast Horse Country, just drop in or contact PAC to for details on how you can watch or borrow our “Saving Horse Country” DVD.

PAC works not only with landowners, but also with other land trusts, state and federal agencies to accomplish conservation goals. PAC also endorses the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, or SWAP, which encourages the preservation of wildlife through habitat conservation.