OUR MISSION: To protect and conserve natural resources with emphasis on the lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and 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, PAC has helped protect over 8,530 acres of our area’s valuable natural resources. PAC holds conservation easements on 58 protected properties. PAC owns 25 properties. PAC is responsible for monitoring 66 easements annually, 7 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 4,752.87 acres annually to make certain that the terms of the conservation agreements are upheld.

PAC announces the Fall Hiking Series dates!

September 26thHorsepasture River-Waterfalls: Rainbow, Turtleback, Drift, & Bearwallow Falls at Gorges State Park/Pisgah National Forest, 6-miles, moderate/strenuous
October 10thBoogerman Trail, Cataloochee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 7.4-miles, moderate
October 24thGreen River Cove Trail, Green River Game Lands; PAC/Foothills Humane Society joint hike, 7-miles, moderate
November 7thLower White Water Falls, Oconee Co., SC, 4-miles, moderate
November 21stSassafras Mountain, Pickens Co., SC, 5-miles, strenuous
Click here for a link to “Upcoming Events” for more information about each hike.

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 .

The Goats at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA have completed their job for the summer…to Eradicate Kudzu from a PAC Protected Property

On the morning of Tuesday, July 8th, Wells Farm delivered a crew of goats to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA.  Their goal?  To battle Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive plants) growing on the property.

In 2013, the Pacolet Area Conservancy, in partnership with the Town of Tryon and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation through their Kudzu Eradication Initiative.  This grant is being used to fund the use of goats to eradicate Kudzu from this site.  These goats will be working on the site twice a year, for three consecutive years.  This is their second year on the job.

There were 20 Kiko goats on the 2-acre site for nearly one month.  On August 5th, they completed their job, but will be returning to the site near the beginning of October to eat any new growth on the site.  Then, they will return in 2015 for work in the summer and fall.

What a difference, in just one month!

Before and after_round 1_1 Before and after_round 1_2

Click here for more information about this project.

Upcoming Events at Walnut Creek Preserve!

September 27th, Lisa Wagner of the South Carolina Botanical Garden will present a program on creating a native woodland garden.

October 11th, Carlton Burke will present a program on owls, with live owls!!

November 8th, Patrick McMillan will be presenting (more info. to come!)

Click here for more details.

PAC/WCP programs are made possible, in part, due to a grant provided by the Polk County Community Foundation

Great News for Conservation! 

GRANTS to help protect land and watersheds!

The North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) has made mini-grants of up to $25,000 available to help landowners protect their land with a conservation easement!

The property must establish a stream buffer of at least 50′, with restrictions to protect/benefit water quality.

These mini-grants will help cover the costs associated with protecting your land with a conservation easement, covering the cost for:


-baseline documentation report

-legal fees

-project administration cost

-stewardship donation

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has also made mini-grants of up to $25,000 available to help landowners protect their land with a conservation easement!

These mini-grants will help cover the costs associated with protecting your land with a conservation easement, covering the cost for:


-baseline documentation report

-legal fees

-project administration cost

-stewardship donation


If you are interested in learning more about voluntary conservation easements, please contact the PAC office, (828)859-5060.

Thank you to the following business sponsors of our recent annual fundraiser PACWalk for Preservation and PACRun 5K on April 26, 2014:

PACWalk sponsors

Check out PAC’s NEW Spring 2014 Newsletter!

spring newsletter pg1Click here to open the newsletter

In December, PAC helped four area landowners permanently protect nearly 200 acres of land, forever!

Each of these properties is unique, with its own character, habitat, and conservation values.  The protection of these lands ensures appropriate habitat for over 100 species of birds (two listed by the state of North Carolina as Special Concern and one Significantly Rare), over 275 species of plants (two listed by the state of North Carolina as Threatened and one listed by the Federal Government as Threatened), at least 15 species of reptiles (one listed by the state of North Carolina as Special Concern), at least 20 species of mammals, and at least 10 species of amphibians.  The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission devised the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) in 2005 and these properties protect priority species as identified by SWAP: 12 birds, 3 reptiles, and 1 amphibian.  Over 3,000 feet of two major creeks are now protected as well as 8 tributaries to these creeks.  There is even a portion of family land going back to one of the original families that settled in Tryon, dating back to the 1760’s, that has been protected as a legacy to the family in perpetuity.

PAC ended 2013 with seven new land saving projects, protecting over 229 more new acres! Six of the projects were through conservation easements and one was property that PAC purchased.

PAC Launches a Membership Campaign!

This year, PAC celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary! We are proud of the over 8,500 acres of land that we have permanently preserved in the area!

We are very grateful to the many generous supporters of PAC over the last quarter of a century!  During that time, PAC never officially had a “membership”!  So, to help PAC celebrate a quarter of a century of success in conservation, and to give our supporters the recognition that they deserve, PAC has launched an annual membership!

We ask you to join our efforts in saving the places you love by becoming a member of PAC!

Please follow this link to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member and how you can join PAC today!


PAC’s Pam Torlina Discovers a New Plant Species for Polk County!


Follow this link to read the full story.

PAC Welcomes our new Executive Director, Mary Walter!

Mary photoMary Walter

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Arrington Walter as Executive Director.   Mary formerly served as Executive Director of SPACE, the Spartanburg Area Conservancy, a conservation land trust based in Spartanburg, SC.  There she led that organization to national accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance.  She brings over 20 years of experience in the field of conservation to PAC.

Click here for the full story!

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is proud to announce that Pam Torlina has been promoted to Director of Stewardship and Land Protection.


Pam Torlina at the Rhododendron Gardens on Roan Mountain.

Click here to read the whole story.

On November 4th, PAC helped an area landowner permanently protect over 21 acres along the Middle Tyger River in Greenville County!


PAC was selected as one of 8 beneficiary local non-profits for the TR&HC Ariat Jumper Challenge June 7-9 at FENCE!  Thank you Tryon Riding & Hunt Club!

For more information, please read the attached Tryon Daily Bulletin article!



PAC is pleased to announce the purchase of an 8.5 acre gem near the North Pacolet River on the Saluda Grade. The property is adjacent to over 100 acres of already protected lands and is an important addition to the preservation of the North Pacolet River watershed. Little Falls Creek bisects the property and Little Falls itself begins at the top of the property and cascades through the property and into the North Pacolet River below. It is truly a beautiful and amazing piece of property!

A special thanks to the landowner, PAC Past President Carole Bartol, PAC Land Protection Specialist Pam Torlina, Board Member Robert Williams, PAC volunteer and attorney Alan Leonard and attorney Phil Feagan for working diligently to preserve this property in perpetuity.  The purchase of the property was made possible in part by a donation from the Tom and Muriel Nash Estate and the many donors who have contributed in recent months. Thanks to all of you.


Local Artist’s Work Benefits PAC!

Local artist, Carol Icard, showed her artwork at a solo exhibition, “The Nature of Abstraction” at Upstairs Artspace in Tryon May 31 – July 13.

A portion of her sales were donated to the Pacolet Area Conservancy,

“to support and honor the valuable natural resources we are fortunate to have in these beautiful Foothills.”  -Carol Beth Icard


Click here to learn more about Carol Icard.

PAC is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation for education programs at Walnut Creek Preserve!

PAC is pleased to announce that we have just 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.

Click on the link below to check out PAC’s fall newsletter! Click here: Fall Newsletter, 2013

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is pleased to announce a recent gift from 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. PAC extends grateful thanks to Pacolet Milliken Enterprises 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

PAC is pleased to announce that we were named the beneficiary of the Green Creek Hounds Charity Hunt Ball in the fall of 2012!


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.