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’s Fall Newsletter is now available!

newsletter cover pageClick here to download the newsletter!

PAC announces the Fall Hiking Series dates!

   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.

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.

The Goats at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA have returned to Eradicate Kudzu from a PAC Protected Property

On September 29th, Wells Farm delivered a crew of 20 Kiko goats, and an Anatolian Shepard, Moses, a guard dog, to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA.  Their goal?  To eradicate 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.

The goats, and Moses, should be on site for about two weeks!


Click here for more information about this project.

Upcoming Events at Walnut Creek Preserve!

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 Delores Lastinger

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


Follow this link to read the full story.

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 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

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.