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Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers
Christmas Tab 2016

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Northwestern University students volunteer with PAC

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/21/16

On Thursday, December 15, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) hosted students from Northwestern University for a volunteer work day on non-native and invasive plant management at both the Town of Tryon lot (near IGA) and the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest.

These students, from Chicago, Illinois, volunteered to take part in an Alternative Student Break trip that promotes a model of active citizenship emphasizing personal growth and learning alongside volunteering and activism by connecting students with groups across the United States that work toward social, environmental, or animal justice.

In this case, the group of 11 was sent to western North Carolina to work with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and PAC on environmental issues.  Over their weeklong trip, the group was engaged in direct service with CMLC and PAC performing stewardship activities such as non-native and invasive species management and trail work, some of which was led by AmeriCorps Project Conserve members.

If you’d like to get involved with non-native and invasive species management with PAC, please contact Pam Torlina at landprotection@pacolet.org or call 828-859-5060.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

img_4636_1On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Pacolet Area Conservancy hosted students from Northwestern University for a volunteer workday on non-native and invasive plant management.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/21/16

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PAC announces 2017 education series

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/21/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC)/Walnut Creek Preserve announces its 2017 program schedule as follows:

 

Jan. 21 – “Seeing with New Eyes,” macro-photography with Bill Mullinax, 10:30 a.m.

 

Feb. 18 – “North Carolina’s Red Wolves: An Imperiled Future” by Christian Hunt of Defenders of Wildlife, 10:30 a.m.

 

May 27 – Mycologist, Tradd Cotter, will present, “Amazing Fungi – The Dark Matter that Bounds all Life,” 10:30 a.m.

 

June 17 – Tanya Poole, NCWRC Education Specialist, will present on Bats! 10:30 a.m.

 

July 15 – Patrick McMillan, host of ETV’s Expeditions with Patrick McMillan, will present, “The Southern Blue Ridge – Crucible of Life,” 10:30 a.m.

 

Aug. 12 – David Campbell will present on his Floristic & Biodiversity Study of Polk County, 10:30 a.m.

 

Sept. 23 – Dr. Jennifer Frick-Ruppert will present, “Wilderness from an ecological, cultural and aesthetic perspective,” 10:30 a.m.

 

Oct. 28 – Naturalist, Tim Lee will present, “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi,” 10:30 a.m.

Landrum Library Free Community Events Program schedule, so far, is below.  Just in time for spring, three programs on our native wildflowers:

Feb. 23 – photographer, Jim Fowler, will present on “Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains” at 6:30 p.m.

 

March 14 – Dr. Gillian Newberry will present on “Endangered Plants of the Piedmont” at 6 p.m.

 

April 11 – Dr. Timothy Spira will present on “Favorite Spring Wildflowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains” at 6 p.m.

 

May 7 – award-winning outdoor writer and interpretive naturalist, Dennis Chastain, will present, “Appalachian Sampler,” at 6:30 p.m.

These programs are made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.  Keep and eye on our website, pacolet.org, for more programs.

article submitted by Pam Torlina


Congratulations to PAC’s Hiking Challenge Achievers!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/30/16

p1120363_cr_lt_eNov. 18 marked the end of the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC) Fall Hiking Series.  The PAC Fall Hiking Series offered five hikes to beautiful protected lands in our area, most of which offered glorious views for enjoying the beautiful array of autumn colors!  Two participants attended all five hikes and completed PAC’s Hiking Challenge! Congratulations to Dan Easley and Jean Shaw who completed PAC’s 2016 Fall Hiking Challenge!  This was Jean’s fourth time completing the Challenge!  Join PAC for a hike in 2017!  The Spring Hiking Series will begin mid-February.  Visit pacolet.org for more information.  Easley and Shaw are pictured with PAC’s Pam Torlina, left. (photo by Ford Smith, submitted by Pam Torlina)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/29/16

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Join PAC’s annual holiday party at Chinquapin Farm

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/29/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) Holiday Party, Dec. 4, will not only be delicious and fun but also historic and informative.  That is because guests will be treated to tours of and discussion about the historic original Chinquapin Farm house, a Carter Brown property.

Carter Brown was an amateur architect (among many other skills) who helped transformed Tryon in the 1930s.  His dream of creating a horse community resulted in the Blockhouse Steeplechase, and much more equestrian activity.  His vision of saving traditional log cabins created some of the most unique and beautiful homes in the Tryon area.  These homes are scattered about the PAC service area and the original Chinquapin Farm is a wonderful example.

Johnny and Lisa Walker are the perfect stewards for this exceptional property.  Although new to our area, their love for old homes, horses, and history runs deep.

Lisa explains, “Well, I have always lived in old houses dating from the 1700s.  We came to Tryon looking for a place for the winter.  We started to see these unusual Carter Brown houses.  I saw a couple and liked them.  When two of our kids wanted to come to the area too, we realized we needed more than a winter place.  We needed a real farm with several houses.  So we ended up here, at the original Chinquapin Farm.”

Guests to the PAC Holiday Party will have the opportunity to hear about the home and enjoy the beautiful outdoor patios.  “I’ll tell you another of our favorite things (about the home), the outside lower patio.  It is so secluded, and we can fit a lot of people there,” says Lisa.

Johnny adds, “I like the study.  This is where I work.”  There will be no work and lots of play on December 4 for all attending the PAC Holiday Party.  Plan to come and enjoy great food and drinks, lovely surroundings, and this unique old home.

For more information about the Holiday Party and other PAC activities go to www.pacolet.org or call the PAC office at 828-859-5060.  For more information about the original Chinquapin Farm come to the holiday party!

article submitted by Carrie Knox

houseThe Carter Brown house at the original Chinquapin Farm is the home of John and Lisa Walker and will be the site of PAC’s holiday party (submitted by Pam Torlina)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/23/16

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/18/16

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PAC’s Final Fall Hike Heads to Glassy Mountain

Polk County News Journal & News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 11/16/16

Hikers are invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 18 for a 4-mile, moderate hike at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (NHS), and the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike from the parking lot of the Historic Site in Flat Rock to the summit of Glassy Mountain.  The trail leads hikers along the edge of a beautiful pond below the historic house and through a mature forest alight with the colors of fall, climaxing at the summit of Glassy Mountain which offers spectacular views of Pisgah National Forest.

Carl Sandburg, who resided in Flat Rock for 22 years, was an American poet, historian, author, and lecturer.  His 265-acre property preserves the writer’s life and legacy, offering not only hiking, but the opportunity to step into the “life and times” of the writer and his family.  Visitors are invited to enjoy the property, including the farm where Mrs. Sandburg operated a premier goat dairy from 1935-1965.  Mrs. Sandburg’s goat breeding program produced champion goats and led to the acceptance of goats as milk-producing animals.  Visitors can see and touch ancestors from three breeds of goats that the Sandburg’s raised at the farm/estate, Connemara.  Visitors may also view an interview between Mr. Sandburg and Edward R. Murrow, and for a charge of $5, visitors can participate in a guided tour of Mr. Sandburg’s Home, frozen in time and left just as it was when the writer resided there, until his death in 1967.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Glassy Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the 25-minute drive to Carl Sandburg Home NHS.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, for information on future hikes.  The Spring Hiking Series will begin in mid-February.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

p1130959PAC Hikers, Ford Smith, Fred Clas, Dan Easley, Edith Castello, Vincent Castello, Jean Shaw, David Stoeckel, Adrienne Darr, Maureen Pratt, Liz Dicey and her dog, Ellie, Mary Alm, Ellie Cox, Donna Lowrey, Helen Davis, Maureen Miller, Lois Torlina, and Roger Dehnel on John Rock in Pisgah National Forest with Looking Glass Rock in the background. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s final fall hike will be to Glassy Mountain

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/16/16

Hikers are invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 18 for a 4-mile, moderate hike at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (NHS), and the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike from the parking lot of the Historic Site in Flat Rock to the summit of Glassy Mountain.

The trail leads hikers along the edge of a beautiful pond below the historic house and through a mature forest alight with the colors of fall, climaxing at the summit of Glassy Mountain which offers spectacular views of Pisgah National Forest.

Carl Sandburg, who resided in Flat Rock for 22 years, was an American poet, historian, author, and lecturer.  His 265-acre property preserves the writer’s life and legacy, offering not only hiking, but the opportunity to step into the “life and times” of the writer and his family.

Visitors are invited to enjoy the property, including the farm where Mrs. Sandburg operated a premier goat dairy from 1935-1965.  Mrs. Sandburg’s goat breeding program produced champion goats and led to the acceptance of goats as milk-producing animals.  Visitors can see and touch ancestors from three breeds of goats that the Sandburg’s raised at the farm/estate, Connemara.

Visitors may also view an interview between Mr. Sandburg and Edward R. Murrow, and for a charge of $5, visitors can participate in a guided tour of Mr. Sandburg’s Home, frozen in time and left just as it was when the writer resided there, until his death in 1967.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Glassy Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the 25-minute drive to Carl Sandburg Home NHS.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, for information on future hikes.  The Spring Hiking Series will begin in mid-February.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

p1130959PAC Hikers, Ford Smith, Fred Clas, Dan Easley, Edith Castello, Vincent Castello, Jean Shaw, David Stoeckel, Adrienne Darr, Maureen Pratt, Liz Dicey and her dog, Ellie, Mary Alm, Ellie Cox, Donna Lowrey, Helen Davis, Maureen Miller, Lois Torlina, and Roger Dehnel on John Rock in Pisgah National Forest with Looking Glass Rock in the background. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


Foothills Riding Club awards 2016 charitable donations

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/15/16

Foothills Riding Club (FRC) 2016 charitable donations have been awarded.  To support our community, FRC chooses two local nonprofits each year to receive cash donations.

The 2016 donation for a local nonprofit (general) is awarded to Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), located in Tryon.  PAC president, Rebecca Kemp, says, “We are so grateful to FRC for this donation.  We extend our humble thanks to all the members of FRC for their support.”

PAC’s mission is 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, ecological or agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds.

Foothills Riding Club board member, Carrie Knox, explain, “The entire board of FRC chooses several nonprofits for our members to select from.  FRC is very happy that we can help Pacolet Area Conservancy.  PAC protects riding trails, hay fields, horse farms and other natural areas that are so important to the equestrian community.”

FRC is organized for the purpose of promoting equestrian interests for all horse lovers, including dressage and combined training, through sponsorship of educational and recreational activities.

For more information about Pacolet Area Conservancy visit pacolet.org.  For more information about Foothills Riding Club visit foothillsridingclub.org.

article submitted by Carrie Knox

carrie-and-rebecca-horizontalRebecca Kemp, Pacolet Area Conservancy president, receives a donation for their land conservation work from Carrie Knox, right, publicity chair of Foothills Riding Club.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/10/16

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Polk County’s Most Wanted – Animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/30/16; page 26

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” a truly awesome member of our fauna, the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus).

In spite of the second part of its scientific name, ‘horridus,’ the Timber Rattlesnake is typically a shy, inoffensive snake that is not likely to bite, unless molested or provoked.  However, if one is bitten by this species, it is a very serious matter, and fatalities (although rare) have been documented.

Timber Rattlesnakes once ranged throughout much of eastern North America, from southern Ontario in Canada, to eastern Texas.  Today, the range of this serpent of wilderness areas has experienced some significant contractions due to habitat loss, road fatalities, and thoughtless persons who kill these snakes on sight.  In North Carolina, the mountains and coastal plain are the areas that one is most likely to encounter a Timber Rattlesnake, with this species now being largely absent from the Piedmont, where it formerly occurred.

A medium to large-sized snake, occasionally reaching over five feet in length (although usually around 3 1/2 to 4 feet), this snake can be quite variable in appearance.  Some individuals have a light background with slightly darker mottling/chevrons, a pattern predominating in Coastal regions.  Darker colored individuals are more abundant in mountains and northern areas of the continent.  However, both light and dark colored snakes may occur within the same population.  Lighter colored forms in the Coastal Plain are often referred to as ‘Canebrake Rattlesnakes.’  In all cases, the camouflage of Timber Rattlesnakes is superb, and serves them well in their role as ambush predators.  Their diet consists largely of rodents.  As with other members of its genus, these snakes will utilize the rattles on their tails to warn you of their presence if you should approach too closely.

In Polk County, Timber Rattlesnakes are usually (although not exclusively), encountered in large wooded tracts, with rocky outcrops that are relatively free of human activity.  The higher elevations, in western portions of the county, likely contain more of these snakes than lower elevations, in the eastern portions of Polk County.  Timber Rattlesnakes will congregate at rocky den sites in the fall for the purposes of hibernation and mating, often on south and southwest-facing rocky slopes.  The young are born (live birth, not eggs) the following year.  In spring, individuals emerge from their winter ‘sleep,’ followed by dispersal to surrounding wooded areas during the summer months.

Timber Rattlesnakes do not achieve sexual maturity for several years, and they do not necessarily produce young every year.  Thus, the loss of adult snakes through mortality, along with the destruction of known den sites, can have catastrophic consequences to populations of this species, which is an integral member of the ecology of our forests and other wildlands.

As a venomous reptile with powerful venom, one should treat this species with great respect.  When out in the woods, watch the placement of your feet, hands, and legs, particularly in rocky areas.  If you are fortunate enough to encounter a Timber Rattlesnake in the wild, consider yourself lucky, give it a wide berth, and continue on with your day.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy requests information about sightings of this species in Polk County, particularly known den sites.  If you have encountered a Timber Rattlesnake in our area, please report your observations to PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.   Reports from area residents allow PAC to more thoroughly document species presence in our region.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

article submitted by David Campbell/Pam Torlina

timber_rattlesnakeTimber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)


PAC’s next hike heads to Pisgah National Forest

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/30/16; page 22

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 4, for a 5-mile hike at Pisgah National Forest, the fourth hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, will lead hikers to John Rock.  The 5-mile hike is a strenuous loop with a total ascent of 1,000 feet.  The trailhead is accessed from the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery.  The highlight of this hike is John Rock, a large granite dome which offers views of the fish hatchery, Looking Glass Rock, and Pilot Mountain.

The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery, operated by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), was originally the site of a logging community and then a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the Great Depression.  The theme at the Center for Wildlife Education is, “Mountain Streams-Where Water and Life Begin.”  The Center conducts statewide environmental education programs for educators and youth leaders and offers informative exhibits that focus on wildlife conservation, the geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains, unique NC habitats, preservation of streams and wetlands, responsibility and safety in the woods, the science of wildlife management, NC Wild Education Sites, the ecology of wetlands, and ways to get involved in wildlife conservation.  The Center’s theme is directly in line with that of the work conducted at the Fish Hatchery.  The NCWRC raises thousands of trout at this site.  These trout are destined for release in Western North Carolina streams, providing recreational opportunities, as well as an important component of the food chain.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to John Rock, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the 1-hour drive to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The last hike takes place on November 18th and heads to Glassy Mountain at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

p1130944_1PAC hikers at the recent hike to Lookout Rock in the Montreat Wilderness Area, in no particular order: Roger Dehnel, Mary Alm, Maureen Pratt, Dan Easley, Marie King, Steve King, Jade Blakey, Cindy Moore, Helen Voyadgis, Bill Wilkerson, Betty Wilkerson, Ellie Cox, Lisa El-Kerdi, Liz Dicey, Adrienne Darr, Jackie Burke, and Jean Shaw (photo by Pam Torlina)


The secret lives of snails topic of PAC talk

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/30/16; page 14

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Secret Lives of Snails,” presented by Denise Furr, an Adjunct Curator of Malacology (Mollusks) at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, November 5th, at 10:30 a.m.

Join an exploratory session on the most overlooked animals in the forest.  Snails do so much for us, yet no one seems to know much about them or pay them much attention.  Come learn about the strange habits of snails and slugs and, weather permitting, take a short walk in the preserve to see where they live.  The program includes a PowerPoint presentation and a close up look at the live animals.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Wood Thrush Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on January 21st, when Bill Mullinax will present on macro-photography.  For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

p1030436Land Snail (photo by Pam Torlina)


Southern Appalachians landscape during the Ice Age topic of PAC talk

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/21/16

On Saturday, October 22nd, at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve at 10:30 a.m., join the Pacolet Area Conservancy as they host a free education program presented by Dan Lazar on “The Southern Appalachians during the Ice Age.”

During the presentation, Mr. Lazar will discuss the animals and plants that were found in this region twenty thousand years ago.  He will also present evidence suggesting the former occurrence of now-extinct species such as Jefferson’s Ground Sloth and the American Mastodon.  The presentation will show images depicting ice age species still surviving in our Southern Mountains.

Dan Lazar served for many years as Director of Education at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, followed by several years as Executive Director of the Colburn Earth Science Museum.  Mr. Lazar has a degree in Forest Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse.  He has been an instructor in the Blue Ridge Naturalist Certificate Program at the North Carolina Arboretum since 2005, teaching a variety of classes including Ecology of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Introduction to Insects, Tree Identification, and Meteorology.  Dan also has co-hosted “Nature News,” a weekly radio program broadcast on WTZQ Hendersonville, since 1993.

Contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or info@pacolet.org for more information.

-article submitted by Pam Torlina

sloth and mastadonAnimals and plants that were found in this region 20,000 years ago will be the topic of PAC’s next education program.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/21/16

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PAC’s next hike heads to Montreat Wilderness Area

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/14/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 21, for a 4.7-mile hike at Montreat Wilderness Area, the third hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, will lead hikers to Lookout Rock.  The 4.7-mile hike is a moderate to strenuous loop with a total ascent of 1,040 feet.  The trailhead is accessed from the historic Montreat Conference Center.  The highlight of this hike is Lookout Rock, a stone outcrop which offers views of the Montreat and Swannanoa valleys and the Seven Sisters range (or Middle Mountain).

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montreat Conference Center has been “a place set apart” for spiritual rest, renewal, and recreation for over 100 years.  In 1897, the Mountain Retreat Association purchased 4,500 acres with the intention of building a Christian settlement.  In October of 1916, Montreat Normal School opened as a four-year preparatory and two-year college geared at preparing young Christian women to become teachers; the first session had eight students in attendance.  In 1934, Montreat Normal School was renamed Montreat College.  In 1945, the college began a four-year degree program, and in 1959 the college became a coeducational junior college and was re-named Montreat-Anderson College.   In 1974, the Mountain Retreat Association and Montreat-Anderson College became two separate organizations.  In 1986, the college again became a baccalaureate institution and in 1995, returned to the original name of Montreat College.  In 2004, the 2,460-acre Montreat Wilderness Area was placed under a conservation easement that would permanently protect the mountain cove property from development.  To this day, Montreat College has a four-year program on several campuses, as well as a graduate program, and the Montreat Conference Center offers a wide variety of meeting, housing, dining, and recreational facilities for large conferences to private retreats and reunions.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Lookout Rock, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the approximately one and a quarter-hour drive to the trail head.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on November 4th and heads to John Rock, Pisgah National Forest.

p1110825_lt_eBarbara Hall, Cindy Moore, Helen Davis, David Stoeckel, Mark Schmerling, Roger Dehnel, Libby Vatalaro, Patsy Panther, Carolyn Parker, Jean Shaw, Dan Easley, and Adrienne Darr went on PAC’s Sept. 23 hike to Rainbow Falls. (Photo by Ford Smith)


PAC’s second hike rescheduled

Polk County News Journal, 10/12/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) hike to Cedar Rock Mountain at DuPont State Forest is rescheduled for Friday, October 14. Join PAC for an approximately 3-mile, moderate, loop hike led by PAC board member, Liz Dicey.

The hike begins with a steady ascent leading to a large granite dome with excellent views of the Pisgah Mountain Range to the west.  Rising only 200′ feet above the surrounding plateau, Cedar Rock Mountain contains some of the most exposed granite anywhere in the region.  After reentering the forest, the trail will parallel the Little River. The trail crosses Tom’s Creek and continues to parallel to the Little River for about a mile, before leading hikers back to the start.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Cedar Rock Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the approximately one-hour drive to the trail head.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on October 21st and heads to Lookout Rock in the Montreat Wilderness Area.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by Pam Torlina

view5


PAC’s second hike rescheduled

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/12/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) hike to Cedar Rock Mountain at DuPont State Forest is rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 14. Join PAC for an approximately three-mile, moderate, loop hike led by PAC board member, Liz Dicey.

The hike begins with a steady ascent leading to a large granite dome with excellent views of the Pisgah Mountain Range to the west.  Rising only 200′ feet above the surrounding plateau, Cedar Rock Mountain contains some of the most exposed granite anywhere in the region.  After reentering the forest, the trail will parallel the Little River. The trail crosses Tom’s Creek and continues to parallel to the Little River for about a mile, before leading hikers back to the start.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Cedar Rock Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the approximately one-hour drive to the trail head.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.

The next hike takes place on Oct. 21, and heads to Lookout Rock in the Montreat Wilderness Area.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

view5View from Cedar Rock Mountain hike.


PAC’s second hike of series to Cedar Rock Mountain

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/30/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 7, for an approximately 3-mile, moderate, loop hike to Cedar Rock Mountain at DuPont State Forest.  PAC Board member, Liz Dicey, will lead the hike.

The hike begins with a steady ascent leading to a large granite dome with excellent views of the Pisgah Mountain Range to the west.  Rising only 200′ feet above the surrounding plateau, Cedar Rock Mountain contains some of the most exposed granite anywhere in the region.  After reentering the forest, the trail will parallel the Little River. The trail crosses Tom’s Creek and continues to parallel to the Little River for about a mile, before leading hikers back to the start.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Cedar Rock Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Columbus Bi-Lo at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the approximately one-hour drive to the trail head.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on October 21st and heads to Lookout Rock in the Montreat Wilderness Area.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

view5View of Pisgah National Forest from Cedar Rock Mountain (photo by Pam Torlina)


Polk County’s Most Wanted: Plant

Polk County News Journal, 9/28/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Whiteleaf Sunflower (Helianthus glaucophyllus). 

Reaching heights of over three feet, with clearly visible small, yellow flowers borne in terminal clusters; this species is a denizen of the western portions of our state.  Although there are many native species of Sunflowers in the North Carolina flora, and many are quite similar in appearance, the Whitleaf Sunflower is relatively easy to identify due to the markedly white and glabrous (smooth) under surfaces of its leaves.  In common with most members of the Aster family, this species has both ray (the ‘petals’) and disk (the ‘center’) flowers, and is frequented by many native pollinator species.  Leaves are three to six inches in length, dentate (toothed), greenish above, and whitish beneath (the key identification feature).

This plant is typically associated with mid-elevation forested areas occurring in glades, canopy openings, powerline right-of-ways, or road banks.  Whiteleaf Sunflower has been reported from Polk County and nearby Rutherford County.  In Polk County, it is to be expected more commonly in the mountainous western portions of the county.  We are particularly interested in hearing from readers about low elevational records for this species in Polk County.

If you think that you have seen Whiteleaf Sunflower in Polk County, please report your observations to PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.   Reports from area residents allow PAC to more thoroughly document species presence in our region.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by David Campbell

jkm100730_213Whiteleaf Sunflower (Helianthus glaucophyllus) (photo by JK Marlow)


Polk County’s Most Wanted — Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/27/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Whiteleaf Sunflower (Helianthus glaucophyllus). 

Reaching heights of over three feet, with clearly visible small, yellow flowers borne in terminal clusters; this species is a denizen of the western portions of our state.  Although there are many native species of Sunflowers in the North Carolina flora, and many are quite similar in appearance, the Whitleaf Sunflower is relatively easy to identify due to the markedly white and glabrous (smooth) under surfaces of its leaves.  In common with most members of the Aster family, this species has both ray (the ‘petals’) and disk (the ‘center’) flowers, and is frequented by many native pollinator species.  Leaves are three to six inches in length, dentate (toothed), greenish above, and whitish beneath (the key identification feature).

This plant is typically associated with mid-elevation forested areas occurring in glades, canopy openings, powerline right-of-ways, or road banks.  Whiteleaf Sunflower has been reported from Polk County and nearby Rutherford County.  In Polk County, it is to be expected more commonly in the mountainous western portions of the county.  We are particularly interested in hearing from readers about low elevational records for this species in Polk County.

If you think that you have seen Whiteleaf Sunflower in Polk County, please report your observations to PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Reports from area residents allow PAC to more thoroughly document species presence in our region.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

article submitted by Pam Torlina; written by David Campbell

jkm100730_213Whiteleaf Sunflower (Helianthus glaucophyllus) (photo by JK Marlow)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/23/16

september-landrum-lib-ad_final


A Lovely Evening for PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” Fall Fundraiser!

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 9/21/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser took place on Friday, September 9th at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann.

It was a lovely evening with over 100 attendees!  Guests were greeted with PAC’s signature drink, the Oliver, then they had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and mingle over hors d’oeuvres with beer or wine, all while overlooking the beautiful setting at Fox Knoll Farm, a large tract of land protected by a voluntary conservation easement held by PAC.  The conservation easement ensures protection of the watershed and habitat for numerous native species of flora and fauna in perpetuity.

As the sun was setting, a fabulous meal, catered by Pat Strother, was served and followed by an array of desserts prepared by PAC board members and staff.

PAC would like to take this opportunity to express a special thank you to Jim and Ann Troppmann for opening their gorgeous home to PAC and our guests and also to those business and individuals that sponsored, donated, attended, and volunteered at the event!

PAC sponsors include: Wendy Cochran, Jim and Renée McDermott, Larry Wassong, Chris and Carole Bartol, John and Cindy Boyle, Drew and Tara Brannon, Nancy Hudson, Rick and Susan Kelley, Rebecca Kemp, Steve and Marie King, Scott and Gayle Lane, Harry and Martha Love, Walt and Jo Myers, Garry and Jean Snipes, Joe and Denise Boals, Tim and Lucy Brannon, Mark and Linda Byington, Jeff and Sherry Carter, Don and Liz Dicey, Andy Haynes, Vard Henry, Digit and Beth Laughridge, Mark and Carol McCall, Larry and Carol Newton, Parsec Financial, Tory and Janet Peterson, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Tryon Builders, Walker, Wallace, and Emmerson Realty, and Williamson’s Paint Center.

The following individuals and businesses donated items for the silent auction: Carole Bartol, Condar, Pat Ferullo, Frederick’s Fine Jewelry, Green River Frame Shop and Gallery, Hare and Hound, Heartwood Gallery, Hensons’ Inc., Carol Beth Icard, Monica Jones, Dibbit Lamb, Mark and Carol McCall, Susan Penfold, Janet Peterson, The Orchard Inn, The Purple Onion, Stone Soup, Pat Strother, Wendy Thomas, Pam Torlina, Tryon Backdoor Distillery, Tryon Concert Association, and Sue Zoole.

Thanks also to Costco, Highland Brewing Co., La Bouteille, and Thomas Creek Brewery for donations of spirits and supplies!

Thanks to PAC’s event committee, Liz Dicey, Vard Henry, Carole Bartol, Carol Newton, and Carol McCall, the event was a huge success, and proceeds from this event help PAC continue to “save the places you love!”

The “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser is an annual event and just one way to help PAC, your local land trust, do the good work of protecting the land in our region, such as farms, forests, and waterways.  For more ways to help PAC continue to “save the places you love,” please visit the website at www.pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organization founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).

by Pam Torlina

A lovely sunset at Fox Knoll Farm on Sept. 9th, the evening of PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser.


PAC/Landrum Library Program, “The Nature of Landscape,” September 27, 6:30 p.m.

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 9/21/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Nature of Landscape” presented by Landscape Architect, Mark Byington.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Mark Byington will discuss the residential landscape and its place in natural ecosystems. Reflecting on patterns that have defined home landscapes over the past century, Mark will illustrate how the landscapes of today are so often disconnected with naturally occurring ecosystems, and he will offer methods to help bridge that gap. Presenting the case for embracing new trends in garden design, and focusing on sustainable design and management practices, Mark will present a “rosy” picture for a greener future.

Mark Byington, ASLA is a landscape architect with a wide range of practice experience over the past 33 years. His company, Byington Landscape Architects, is based in Tryon, NC.

This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families welcome too.

This program is made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

coverThe photo is used with permission from Mark Byington.


Stunning view enjoyed at PAC’s fall fundraiser!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/16/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser took place on Friday, September 9th at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann.

It was a lovely evening with over 100 attendees!  Guests were greeted with PAC’s signature drink, the Oliver, then they had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and mingle over hors d’oeuvres with beer or wine, all while overlooking the beautiful setting at Fox Knoll Farm, a large tract of land protected by a voluntary conservation easement held by PAC.  The conservation easement ensures protection of the watershed and habitat for numerous native species of flora and fauna in perpetuity.

As the sun was setting, a fabulous meal, catered by Pat Strother, was served and followed by an array of desserts prepared by PAC board members and staff.

PAC would like to take this opportunity to express a special thank you to Jim and Ann Troppmann for opening their gorgeous home to PAC and our guests and also to those business and individuals that sponsored, donated, attended, and volunteered at the event!

PAC sponsors include: Wendy Cochran, Jim and Renée McDermott, Larry Wassong, Chris and Carole Bartol, John and Cindy Boyle, Drew and Tara Brannon, Nancy Hudson, Rick and Susan Kelley, Rebecca Kemp, Steve and Marie King, Scott and Gayle Lane, Harry and Martha Love, Walt and Jo Myers, Garry and Jean Snipes, Joe and Denise Boals, Tim and Lucy Brannon, Mark and Linda Byington, Jeff and Sherry Carter, Don and Liz Dicey, Andy Haynes, Vard Henry, Digit and Beth Laughridge, Mark and Carol McCall, Larry and Carol Newton, Parsec Financial, Tory and Janet Peterson, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Tryon Builders, Walker, Wallace, and Emmerson Realty, and Williamson’s Paint Center.

The following individuals and businesses donated items for the silent auction: Carole Bartol, Condar, Pat Ferullo, Frederick’s Fine Jewelry, Green River Frame Shop and Gallery, Hare and Hound, Heartwood Gallery, Hensons’ Inc., Carol Beth Icard, Monica Jones, Dibbit Lamb, Mark and Carol McCall, Susan Penfold, Janet Peterson, The Orchard Inn, The Purple Onion, Stone Soup, Pat Strother, Wendy Thomas, Pam Torlina, Tryon Backdoor Distillery, Tryon Concert Association, and Sue Zoole.

Thanks also to Costco, Highland Brewing Co., La Bouteille, and Thomas Creek Brewery for donations of spirits and supplies!

Thanks to PAC’s event committee, Liz Dicey, Vard Henry, Carole Bartol, Carol Newton, and Carol McCall, the event was a huge success, and proceeds from this event help PAC continue to “save the places you love!”

The “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser is an annual event and just one way to help PAC, your local land trust, do the good work of protecting the land in our region, such as farms, forests, and waterways.  For more ways to help PAC continue to “save the places you love,” please visit the website at www.pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organization founded in 1989 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.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

View at “For Land’s Sake” (photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s first hike of the fall hiking series

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/15/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, September 23, for an approximately 5-mile, moderate/strenuous, hike to Rainbow Falls at Jones Gap State Park.  PAC Board member, Ford Smith, will lead the hike.

From the trail head at Jones Gap State Park, hikers will embark on a 5-mile, moderate/strenuous, out and back hike.  The trail starts out moderately, with a slight incline, and follows the Middle Saluda River for the first mile or so.

Then, the trail begins a 1,000 foot ascent, over approximately 1.6 miles, and culminates at the base of the falls.  Rainbow Falls is created by Cox Camp Creek which drops 100 feet over a steep wall of granitic gneiss, creating a spectacular, free falling waterfall.  The view of the falls, and the downhill return, makes this moderate/strenuous hike well worth the effort.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Rainbow Falls, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling, and then start the approximately thirty-five minute drive to Jones Gap State Park.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

Please note that there is a park fee (3 and under, free), which participants should be prepared to pay.  SC park passes are accepted.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on October 7th at DuPont State Forest.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

IMG_1303Rainbow Falls


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/15/16

September ad


PAC/WCP Program,

“Hidden Biodiversity: Finding Frogs and Salamanders All Around Us,” September 17th

Polk County News Journal, 9/14/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Hidden Biodiversity: Finding Frogs and Salamanders All Around Us,” presented by Melissa Pilgrim, Director of Research and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, September 17th, at 10:30 a.m.

Due to the issue of global amphibian decline, conservation biologists and resource managers are increasingly interested in conducting research evaluating the presence and persistence of amphibians in a region. Dr. Melissa Pilgrim and her undergraduate research group, Upstate Herpetology, will show the audience standard techniques used to identify the presence and abundance of amphibians in the Piedmont region of South Carolina.

After the presentation, guests are invited to take a walk on the Walnut Creek Preserve property, with Dr. Pilgrim, to look for amphibians.  Please be prepared to catch some animals…and get wet and muddy!!  If you plan on participating in the walk on the WCP property, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring a snack, and plenty of water.  Please also be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require in the event of an emergency.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on October 22nd, when Dan Lazar will present on “the Southern Appalachians during the Ice Age.”  For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

Marbled salamander 5-17-07 Herp workshop_2A Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum). (photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC Kicks off its Fall Hiking Series Friday, September 23rd!

Polk County News Journal, 9/14/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for five Friday hikes offered this fall, free of charge. Starting Friday, September 23, PAC’s first hike will head to Rainbow Falls accessed from Jones Gap State Park (part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area) in SC.  The 5-mile, strenuous, out and back hike will begin with a moderate walk along the Middle Saluda River then ascend 1,000 feet over a distance of 1.6-miles to the base of the stunning100 foot waterfall.

On October 7, hikers will venture to DuPont State Forest for a 3-mile, moderate, loop hike to Cedar Rock, a granitic bald that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains right at the onset of autumn.

On October 21, hikers will head to Lookout Rock, located on the grounds of Montreat College, for a 4.7-mile moderate/strenuous, loop hike that will offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains in full fall color!

November 4, PAC offers a 5-mile, strenuous, loop hike to John Rock, in Pisgah National Forest, for even more beautiful views of the surrounding mountains still speckled with autumn colors, including a view of Looking Glass Rock.

Finally, on November 18, the hike will take place at Carl Sanburg National Historic Site.  From the parking area, the trail ascends 1,000’ to the summit of Glassy Mtn.  Participants will enjoy a hike through the beautiful, mature forest, walking past ponds, and a spectacular view of Pisgah National Forest. The hike will be approximately 4-miles, moderate, and out & back.  After the hike, consider visiting the historic residence (a $5 fee) and the prize winning goats!

Also, PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge!”  Complete all five Friday PAC hikes this fall and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment!

If you are interested in attending the PAC fall hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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. (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

P1090339_fPAC hikers at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest in the fall of 2015 (photo by Ford Smith)


“Owls of the Carolinas” offered for October home school program

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/11/16

Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection for the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), will be presenting “Owls of the Carolinas” on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Landrum Library at 2:00 p.m.  This presentation is for the monthly homeschool program that is held every fourth Thursday at the Landrum Library.

Torlina’s presentation will focus on the several species of owls found in the Carolinas and highlight the special characteristics that make them successful predators of the night.

During the presentation, participants will get an up-close look at feathers, talons, and owl specimens in order to gain a better understanding of their unique characteristics.  (It is illegal to possess any part of a migratory bird without the proper permitting, and PAC is permitted by the federal government to collect and possess bird specimens to be used for educational purposes.)

After the initial presentation, participants will become citizen scientists as they dissect owl pellets, the clean and odorless material from prey that can’t pass through the owl’s intestine, such as fur, feathers, and bones.  The material found in an owl pellet provides important information about the diet of a particular owl species and these clues are used to help scientists better understand owls, their habitat requirements.  Participants will discover, hands on, what an owl eats and learn to identify the prey of an owl.

Torlina, a biologist, has been with PAC serving as the Director of Stewardship and Land Protection for 10 years.  She has 20 years of experience as a field biologist, naturalist, and outdoor educator.  She has worked with the South Carolina State Park Service, the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation-Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation.

She also worked at Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, where she has performed annual migratory and breeding bird surveys, surveys on nocturnal owls, hawks and woodpeckers, presented educational programs on birds for adults and children, conducted nest searches and nest record data in the U.S. and Canada, participated in data collection for the most recent Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, and she has volunteered with a licensed bird bander over the past several years.

article submitted by Leasa Hall


PAC presents on hidden biodiversity Sept, 17

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/7/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) for another free educational programs on Saturday, Sept. 17th at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on , at 10:30 a.m.

Melissa Pilgrim, director of research and associate professor of biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate, will present on, “Hidden biodiversity: Finding frogs and salamanders all around us.”

Due to the issue of global amphibian decline, conservation biologists and resource managers are increasingly interested in conducting research evaluating the presence and persistence of amphibians in a region. Dr. Melissa Pilgrim and her undergraduate research group, Upstate Herpetology, will show the audience standard techniques used to identify the presence and abundance of amphibians in the Piedmont region of South Carolina.

After the program, participants are invited to join Melissa and her students in the field to look for amphibians on the WCP property.  Please be prepared to catch some animals, and to get wet and muddy!

This is a free program, open to the public.  This PAC/WCP program is made possible, in part, by a grant from Mary Merritt.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is a private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

-article submitted by Pam Torlina

Marbled salamander 5-17-07 Herp workshop_2Finding frogs and salamanders will be the topic at the next PAC meeting Sept. 17 at Walnut Creek Preserve.


PAC kicks off its fall hiking series

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/4/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for five Friday hikes offered this fall, free of charge. Starting Friday, September 23, PAC’s first hike will head to Rainbow Falls accessed from Jones Gap State Park (part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area) in SC.  The 5-mile, strenuous, out and back hike will begin with a moderate walk along the Middle Saluda River then ascend 1,000 feet over a distance of 1.6-miles to the base of the stunning100 foot waterfall.

On October 7, hikers will venture to DuPont State Forest for a 3-mile, moderate, loop hike to Cedar Rock, a granitic bald that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains right at the onset of autumn.

On October 21, hikers will head to Lookout Rock, located on the grounds of Montreat College, for a 4.7-mile moderate/strenuous, loop hike that will offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains in full fall color!

November 4, PAC offers a 5-mile, strenuous, loop hike to John Rock, in Pisgah National Forest, for even more beautiful views of the surrounding mountains still speckled with autumn colors, including a view of Looking Glass Rock.

Finally, on November 18, the hike will take place at Carl Sanburg National Historic Site.  From the parking area, the trail ascends 1,000’ to the summit of Glassy Mtn.  Participants will enjoy a hike through the beautiful, mature forest, walking past ponds, and a spectacular view of Pisgah National Forest. The hike will be approximately 4-miles, moderate, and out & back.  After the hike, consider visiting the historic residence (a $5 fee) and the prize winning goats!

Also, PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge!”  Complete all five Friday PAC hikes this fall and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment!

If you are interested in attending the PAC fall hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

P1090339_fPAC hikers at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest in the fall of 2015 (photo by Ford Smith)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/1/16

9-1-16 ad


PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser, Sept. 9

Polk County News Journal, 8/31/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will hold its annual fall fundraiser, “For Land’s Sake!,” on Friday, September 9th, from 6-9 p.m., at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann, Fox Knoll Farm.

The event will include hors d’oeuvres, wine/beer, a catered dinner by Pat Strother, and a silent auction.  Festivities will transpire at the back of the Troppmann’s newly built home which overlooks fields and forests protected by conservation easement held by PAC, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains to the west and of the more distant mountains to the north.

Anyone interested in attending the event on September 9th should contact the PAC office ASAP.

Proceeds from this event go towards PAC’s land saving projects.  A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible.

Visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, or call 828-859-5060 for information about cost and /or sponsorship, all of which benefit PAC and the work PAC does to – save the places you love.

Thank you to our sponsors: Wendy Cochran, Jim and Renée McDermott, Larry Wassong, Chris and Carole Bartol, John and Cindy Boyle, Drew and Tara Brannon, Nancy Hudson, Rick and Susan Kelley, Rebecca Kemp, Steve and Marie King, Scott and Gayle Lane, Harry and Martha Love, Walt and Jo Myers, Garry and Jean Snipes, Joe and Denise Boals, Tim and Lucy Brannon, Mark and Linda Byington, Jeff and Sherry Carter, Don and Liz Dicey, Andy Haynes, Vard Henry, Digit and Beth Laughridge, Mark and Carol McCall, Larry and Carol Newton, Parsec Financial, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Tryon Builders, Walker, Wallace and Emmerson Realty, and Williamson’s Paint Center.


Polk County’s Most Wanted — Plant

Polk County News Journal, 8/31/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” the unique and unusual Eastern Figwort (Scrophularia marilandica).

Eastern Figwort is not a rare species in North Carolina, but it is not often encountered in Polk County.  However, this plant is a conspicuous inhabitant of environments that often do contain rare or unusual species in our region (nutrient rich, basic-mesic forests over mafic rock or other calcareous substrates).

Eastern Figwort can attain heights of between 3′ and 8′, which is very tall for an herbaceous plant species in our area.  Stems are four-angled and grooved, giving rise to another common name, Carpenter’s Square.  Leaves are opposite, ovate, dentate (toothed), slender-petiolate (leaf stalk), and may reach lengths of over 6” with widths of almost 4”.  Leaves and stems are largely (although not exclusively) hairless.  The interesting and remarkable flowers are borne in slender, lengthy panicles (branching cluster of flowers) up to a foot long and occurring at the top of the plant.  This results in a very distinctive appearance.  Each tubular flower is small (not more than half an inch), with green leafy bracts subtending (under; supporting) maroon “petals.”  Anthers are yellow and the mature seed capsule contains many tiny seeds.  The flowers are pollinated by many species of native bees, wasps, flies, and beetles.  This is a species worthy of cultivation in the native plant garden.

Look for Eastern Figwort in low damp woods, upslope from floodplains, or growing around seepage in areas dominated by mafic rocks.  If you are fortunate enough to find this species, you will likely find other interesting types of plants growing with it as associates.

If you think that you have seen Eastern Figwort in Polk County, please report your observations to PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.   Reports from area residents allow PAC to more thoroughly document species presence in our region.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).

article by David Campbell

flower

Eastern Figwort (Photo by JK Marlow)


Polk County’s Most Wanted — Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/28/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” the unique and unusual Eastern Figwort (Scrophularia marilandica).

Eastern Figwort is not a rare species in North Carolina, but it is not often encountered in Polk County.  However, this plant is a conspicuous inhabitant of environments that often do contain rare or unusual species in our region (nutrient rich, basic-mesic forests over mafic rock or other calcareous substrates).

Eastern Figwort can attain heights of between 3′ and 8′, which is very tall for an herbaceous plant species in our area.  Stems are four-angled and grooved, giving rise to another common name, Carpenter’s Square.  Leaves are opposite, ovate, dentate (toothed), slender-petiolate (leaf stalk), and may reach lengths of over 6” with widths of almost 4”.  Leaves and stems are largely (although not exclusively) hairless.  The interesting and remarkable flowers are borne in slender, lengthy panicles (branching cluster of flowers) up to a foot long and occurring at the top of the plant.  This results in a very distinctive appearance.  Each tubular flower is small (not more than half an inch), with green leafy bracts subtending (under; supporting) maroon “petals.”  Anthers are yellow and the mature seed capsule contains many tiny seeds.  The flowers are pollinated by many species of native bees, wasps, flies, and beetles.  This is a species worthy of cultivation in the native plant garden.

Look for Eastern Figwort in low damp woods, upslope from floodplains, or growing around seepage in areas dominated by mafic rocks.  If you are fortunate enough to find this species, you will likely find other interesting types of plants growing with it as associates.

If you think that you have seen Eastern Figwort in Polk County, please report your observations to PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.   Reports from area residents allow PAC to more thoroughly document species presence in our region.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).

article submitted by Pam Torlina and David Campbell

plantEastern Figwort (Scrophularia marilandica)

flowerFlower of Eastern Figwort (Photos by JK Marlow)


PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/25/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will hold its annual fall fundraiser, “For Land’s Sake!,” on Friday, September 9th, from 6-9 p.m., at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann, Fox Knoll Farm.

The event will include hors d’oeuvres, wine/beer, a catered dinner by Pat Strother, and a silent auction.  Festivities will transpire at the back of the Troppmann’s newly built home which overlooks fields and forests protected by conservation easement held by PAC, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains to the west and of the more distant mountains to the north.

Anyone interested in attending the event on September 9th should contact the PAC office by August 29th.  Proceeds from this event go towards PAC’s land saving projects.  A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible.

Visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, or call 828-859-5060 for information about cost and /or sponsorship, all of which benefit PAC and the work PAC does to – save the places you love.

Thank you to our sponsors: Wendy Cochran, Jim and Renée McDermott, Larry Wassong, Chris and Carole Bartol, John and Cindy Boyle, Drew and Tara Brannon, Nancy Hudson, Rick and Susan Kelley, Rebecca Kemp, Steve and Marie King, Scott and Gayle Lane, Harry and Martha Love, Walt and Jo Myers, Garry and Jean Snipes, Joe and Denise Boals, Tim and Lucy Brannon, Mark and Linda Byington, Jeff and Sherry Carter, Don and Liz Dicey, Andy Haynes, Vard Henry, Digit and Beth Laughridge, Mark and Carol McCall, Larry and Carol Newton, Parsec Financial, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Tryon Builders, Walker, Wallace and Emmerson Realty, and Williamson’s Paint Center.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

view - Troppmann_3One of the lovely views from the Troppmann’s home. (photo by Kathryn McMahon)


Tryon Daily Bulletin Ad, 8/25/16

August Landrum Library ad


PAC/Landrum Library Program, “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi,” August 30, 6:30 p.m.

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 8/24/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” presented by naturalist, Tim Lee.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Fireflies flashing on a warm summer night. The eerie glow of jack-o-lantern mushrooms in the forest on a moonless night. These lights bring mystery and magic to the dark night. Join us as we discover how light is produced and emitted from living organisms and how they use it to lure prey, deter predators and entice insects.

Tim is a native South Carolinian and he has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 26 years. For the past 16 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults. He is the South Carolina Park Services coordinator with the South Carolina Master Naturalist Program and is an Educational Leadership Partner for the South Carolina Aquarium. Tim is member of the National Association of Interpreters, an honorary member of the Upstate Master Naturalist Association and an honorary SC Statewide Master Naturalist.

This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families welcome too.

This program is made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or contact the Leasa Hall at the Landrum Library, 864-457-2218.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next scheduled program at the Landrum Library will take place on September 27th when landscape architect, Mark Byington will present at 6:30 p.m.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by Pam Torlina

IMG_0248

Tim Lee


“Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” program Aug. 30

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/19/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” presented by naturalist, Tim Lee.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Fireflies flashing on a warm summer night. The eerie glow of jack-o-lantern mushrooms in the forest on a moonless night. These lights bring mystery and magic to the dark night. Join us as we discover how light is produced and emitted from living organisms and how they use it to lure prey, deter predators and entice insects.

Tim is a native South Carolinian and he has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 26 years. For the past 16 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults. He is the South Carolina Park Services coordinator with the South Carolina Master Naturalist Program and is an Educational Leadership Partner for the South Carolina Aquarium. Tim is member of the National Association of Interpreters, an honorary member of the Upstate Master Naturalist Association and an honorary SC Statewide Master Naturalist.

This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families welcome too.

This program is made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or contact the Leasa Hall at the Landrum Library, 864-457-2218.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next scheduled program at the Landrum Library will take place on September 27th when landscape architect, Mark Byington will present at 6:30 p.m.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).

article submitted by Pam Torlina

IMG_0248Tim Lee


PAC’s Norman Wilder Forest “Yellow” Trail Re-Route Complete!

Polk County News Journal, 8/10/16

Since May of 2016, Dave Mathern, former Polk County Recreation Trails Coordinator, has been working to reroute the Yellow Trail in the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) protected Norman Wilder Forest.  Dave worked with Adrian Lively, a Polk County High School student, weekly through the end of the school year and needed a bit more help to see the project to completion before ending his term as the Trails Coordinator and with AmeriCorps at the end of July.  Thanks to Dave and a few PAC volunteers, Bob Tobey, Brian Rogers, Polk County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, Roger Dehnel, Dave Mullen, and Molly Watson, Dave was able to complete the project he started, and the Yellow Trail re-route is complete!  The new re-route is more sustainable, with switchbacks that meander through the forest, making it slightly easier than the previous route.

PAC’s Norman Wilder Forest is a 185 acre preserve with 3-miles of public hiking trails along the south-facing slope of Little Warrior Mountain.  The preserve protects tributaries to the North Pacolet River, a mature canopy and healthy understory of trees, and a lush population of herbaceous plants, creating habitat for numerous insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds.

PAC is grateful to Dave for his hard work and dedication to helping PAC with its trail system, but also for his hard work on other hiking trails within the county.  Thank you also to Polk County Recreation Director, Jerry Stensland, the Polk County Board of Commissioners, and the Polk County Community Foundation for creating this position; an asset to the citizens of Polk County.

By Pam Torlina

IMG_3779_1Dave Mathern on the new, re-routed “Yellow Trail” at the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s Norman Wilder Forest (photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC/WCP Program “Native grasses in the Carolina Foothills” on Aug. 6

Polk County News Journal, 8/3/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Native Grasses in the Carolina Foothills” presented by Bill Stringer, Ph. D.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, August 6, at 10:30 a.m.  The program will discuss “why native and why grasses.”  During the presentation, Dr. Stringer will point out the major native grasses in the Piedmont and Foothills.

Dr. Bill Stringer is a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University.  He has served the SC Native Plant Society as president, newsletter editor, and field trip leader.  He also occasionally serves as a consultant on native landscape issues.  For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

submitted by Pam Torlina

facebook picDr. Bill Stringer


Native grasses in the Carolina Foothills topic of next PAC talk

                                              Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/28/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Native Grasses in the Carolina Foothills” presented by Bill Stringer, Ph. D.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, August 6, at 10:30 a.m.

The program will discuss “why native and why grasses.”  During the presentation, Dr. Stringer will point out the major native grasses in the Piedmont and Foothills.

Dr. Bill Stringer is a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University.  He has served the SC Native Plant Society as president, newsletter editor, and field trip leader.  He also occasionally serves as a consultant on native landscape issues.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on September 17th when Melissa Pilgrim, Director of Research and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate will present on Amphibians.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

facebook picBill Stringer


Save the date for PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/28/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser will take place on September 9th at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann.

The event will include a catered dinner in a truly lovely setting, Ann and Jim Troppmann’s home, Fox Knoll Farm.  Attendees will be seated at the back of the house with a view overlooking fields and forests protected by conservation easement held by PAC.  Views will also include breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains to the west and of the more distant mountains to the north.

Visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, or call 828-859-5060 for information about cost and sponsorship, all of which benefit PAC and the work PAC does to – save the places you love.

submitted by Pam Torlina

from Cochran_1

View from the back of the Troppmann’s home. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” Fall Fundraiser, Sept. 9

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 7/27/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser will take place on September 9th at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann.

The event will include a catered dinner in a truly lovely setting, Ann and Jim Troppmann’s home, Fox Knoll Farm.  Attendees will be seated at the back of the house with a view overlooking fields and forests protected by conservation easement held by PAC.  Views will also include breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains to the west and of the more distant mountains to the north.

Visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, or call 828-859-5060 for information about cost and sponsorship, all of which benefit PAC and the work PAC does to – save the places you love.

submitted by Pam Torlina

from Cochran_1View from the back of the Troppmann’s home. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Animal

Polk County News Journal, 7/22/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” a unique reptile species – the Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus).  

The Glass Lizards are so-named due to the fact that they readily lose or ‘drop’ their tails in order to avoid capture – a common occurrence.  Interestingly, Glass Lizards are able to regenerate their lost tails, but they are never as perfect in appearance as the initial tail that they are born with.  Another noteworthy (and obvious!) feature of this group of lizards is that they lack legs; hence, another name for them is Legless Lizards.  Due to the fact that these lizard species lack legs, they are often mistaken for snakes – which may lead to tragic results as many people still kill all snakes on sight, a practice that is to be discouraged, as snakes (and lizards) are beneficial creatures with vital roles to play within our ecosystems.

Glass Lizards may be differentiated from snakes due to the fact that unlike snakes, they do not have a head that is distinctly ‘set off’ from the main body of the organism.  Also, unlike snakes, Glass Lizards have ears – small openings in the side of their head, just as other lizards do.

Slender Glass Lizards are usually brown or light yellowish brown in overall coloration, with darker bands being prominently displayed over their backs and tails.  Overall lengths vary from two to three and a half feet in length.   Their scales are smooth and give a somewhat glossy appearance.  Reproduction is accomplished through the laying of eggs (typically around a half dozen, or slightly more).  Sandy areas are favored as sites for oviposition. Typical dietary items include insects, snails, and small reptiles.

Slender Glass Lizards are most abundant in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills region of our state.  However, there are a few records from areas just east of Polk County, and also in those areas of South Carolina immediately adjacent to Polk.  Indeed, Pam Torlina of PAC reports seeing a Glass Lizards in Gowensville, South Carolina.  Preferred habitats of this species are old fields and openings in sandy pine woodlands. Given the proximity of known and reliable sightings so near to our area, residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for this harmless and unusual denizen of our forests and fields.

If you feel you have seen a Slender Glass Lizard in Polk County, please report your observations to staff of the Pacolet Area Conservancy.  Pictures of organisms seen in the filed are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

If you feel you have seen Slender Glass Lizard in Polk County, please report your observations PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

o.attenuatus.ks.russell.00


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/22/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” a unique reptile species – the Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus).  

The Glass Lizards are so-named due to the fact that they readily lose or ‘drop’ their tails in order to avoid capture – a common occurrence.  Interestingly, Glass Lizards are able to regenerate their lost tails, but they are never as perfect in appearance as the initial tail that they are born with.  Another noteworthy (and obvious!) feature of this group of lizards is that they lack legs; hence, another name for them is Legless Lizards.  Due to the fact that these lizard species lack legs, they are often mistaken for snakes – which may lead to tragic results as many people still kill all snakes on sight, a practice that is to be discouraged, as snakes (and lizards) are beneficial creatures with vital roles to play within our ecosystems.

Glass Lizards may be differentiated from snakes due to the fact that unlike snakes, they do not have a head that is distinctly ‘set off’ from the main body of the organism.  Also, unlike snakes, Glass Lizards have ears – small openings in the side of their head, just as other lizards do.

Slender Glass Lizards are usually brown or light yellowish brown in overall coloration, with darker bands being prominently displayed over their backs and tails.  Overall lengths vary from two to three and a half feet in length.   Their scales are smooth and give a somewhat glossy appearance.  Reproduction is accomplished through the laying of eggs (typically around a half dozen, or slightly more).  Sandy areas are favored as sites for oviposition. Typical dietary items include insects, snails, and small reptiles.

Slender Glass Lizards are most abundant in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills region of our state.  However, there are a few records from areas just east of Polk County, and also in those areas of South Carolina immediately adjacent to Polk.  Indeed, Pam Torlina of PAC reports seeing a Glass Lizards in Gowensville, South Carolina.  Preferred habitats of this species are old fields and openings in sandy pine woodlands. Given the proximity of known and reliable sightings so near to our area, residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for this harmless and unusual denizen of our forests and fields.

If you feel you have seen a Slender Glass Lizard in Polk County, please report your observations to staff of the Pacolet Area Conservancy.  Pictures of organisms seen in the filed are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

If you feel you have seen Slender Glass Lizard in Polk County, please report your observations PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Pictures of organisms seen in the field are particularly welcome as means of documentation.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

article submitted by David Campbell and Pam Torlina

o.attenuatus.ks.russell.00Glass Lizard


PAC/WCP Program, “Remembering the Great Flood of 1916,” July 23

Polk County News Journal, 7/20/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation, “Remembering the Great Flood of 1916,” presented by award-winning filmmaker, David Weintraub, and local historian, Jennie Jones Giles, at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, July 23rd at 10:30 a.m.

July marks the 100 year anniversary of Western North Carolina’s worst natural disaster, the Great Flood of 1916.

In 1916, 22 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period.  The French Broad River was 17 feet above flood stage, and the Swannanoa River was a mile wide.  It is a year that still evokes powerful memories in many old-timers and an event passed on through family histories.

In addition to a discussion about this historic event, a new film by David Weintraub, “Come Hell or High Water, Remembering the Flood of 1916,” will have its premiere!  The film explores the history of this significant natural disaster and also asks the question, what have we learned?

What concerns many is the reality that WNC is a flood prone area and such a disaster could repeat.  Given that the Great Flood led to hundreds of mudslides and landslides causing extensive damage at a time when no one lived on the side of mountains, the worry is that should a flood of similar proportions occur today it would likely be more devastating.

According to 7th generation farmer, Drew Brannon, “If we don’t learn the lessons of the 1916 flood, we are bound to repeat them, with worse results than 100 years ago.”

Drew’s father and grandfather lost everything in the Great Flood and those haunting memories still shake the Brannon family tree.

Jennie Giles, presenter and a seventh generation native says, “Remembering the 1916 flood is important because the consequences to Western North Carolina should this happen again would impact us 10-20 times greater than it did then.  The lessons the flood could teach us could save our lives and better protect our community.”

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on August 6th; Bill Stringer will present on native grasses.  For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Come Hell or High Water


“Remembering the Great Flood of 1916”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/14/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation, “Remembering the Great Flood of 1916,” presented by award-winning filmmaker, David Weintraub, and local historian, Jennie Jones Giles, at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, July 23rd at 10:30 a.m.

July marks the 100 year anniversary of Western North Carolina’s worst natural disaster, the Great Flood of 1916.

In 1916, 22 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period.  The French Broad River was 17 feet above flood stage, and the Swannanoa River was a mile wide.  It is a year that still evokes powerful memories in many old-timers and an event passed on through family histories.

In addition to a discussion about this historic event, a new film by David Weintraub, “Come Hell or High Water, Remembering the Flood of 1916,” will have its premiere!  The film explores the history of this significant natural disaster and also asks the question, what have we learned?

What concerns many is the reality that WNC is a flood prone area and such a disaster could repeat.  Given that the Great Flood led to hundreds of mudslides and landslides causing extensive damage at a time when no one lived on the side of mountains, the worry is that should a flood of similar proportions occur today it would likely be more devastating.

According to 7th generation farmer, Drew Brannon, “If we don’t learn the lessons of the 1916 flood, we are bound to repeat them, with worse results than 100 years ago.”

Drew’s father and grandfather lost everything in the Great Flood and those haunting memories still shake the Brannon family tree.

Jennie Giles, presenter and a seventh generation native says, “Remembering the 1916 flood is important because the consequences to Western North Carolina should this happen again would impact us 10-20 times greater than it did then.  The lessons the flood could teach us could save our lives and better protect our community.”

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on August 6th; Bill Stringer will present on native grasses.  For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Come Hell or High WaterAsheville Railroad after the 1916 flood.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/8/16

August Landrum Library ad


PAC/Landrum Library Program, “Animals of Appalachia,” July 12, 6 p.m.

The Polk County News Journal and the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 7/6/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Animals of Appalachia” presented by Emily Walker, groups and education manager at Chimney Rock State Park.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, July 12 at 6 p.m. as part of the Landrum Library’s Summer Reading Program – Family Fun Night.

During her presentation, Walker will teach participants about wildlife that is indigenous to the area, their characteristics, threats to certain populations, and what you can do to coexist with our sometimes misunderstood neighbors.

The interactive program will feature live animals, so this will be a great program for adults and children alike.

Emily Walker, who had a background as a wildlife rehabilitor before working at Chimney Rock State Park, joined the Park in 2005 in hopes of sharing her passion for the outdoors and wildlife with the community.

This program is made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or contact the Leasa Hall at the Landrum Library, 864-457-2218.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next scheduled program at the Landrum Library will take place on August 30th when naturalist, Tim Lee will present “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” at 6:30 p.m.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

Picture for PAC_1Presenter, Emily Walker, with a Woodchuck!


Animals of Appalachia topic of PAC presentation

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/30/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Animals of Appalachia” presented by Emily Walker, groups and education manager at Chimney Rock State Park.

The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, July 12 at 6 p.m. as part of the Landrum Library’s Summer Reading Program – Family Fun Night.

During her presentation, Walker will teach participants about wildlife that is indigenous to the area, their characteristics, threats to certain populations, and what you can do to coexist with our sometimes misunderstood neighbors.

The interactive program will feature live animals, so this will be a great program for adults and children alike.

Emily Walker, who had a background as a wildlife rehabilitor before working at Chimney Rock State Park, joined the Park in 2005 in hopes of sharing her passion for the outdoors and wildlife with the community.

This program is made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

The next scheduled program at the Landrum Library will take place on August 30 when naturalist Tim Lee will present “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” at 6:30 p.m.

Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for more upcoming events.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Picture for PAC_1Emily Walker will present a program on the animals of the Appalachian region on July 12 at the Landrum Library


Most Wanted Presentation at Rotary

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/21/16

Me and Carole_2

At last week’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Tryon, Pam Torlina, right, director of stewardship and land protection for the Pacolet Area Conservancy, was the guest speaker.  Her presentation, “Polk County’s Most Wanted,” featured the work being done by teh conservancy to locate and identify rare and unique plants and animals in the county.  The program included pictures of those plants and animals on the most wanted list which can also be found online at pacolet.com.  The program was arranged by Carole Bartol, left.  (Submitted by Bill Hillhouse)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/21/16

June - WCP


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/17/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” one of our loveliest and most cherished wildflowers, the Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens).  

Anyone fortunate enough to see a stand of Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchids in full flower in its woodland habitat will not soon forget the breathtaking beauty of this elusive plant.

Attaining heights of over 24 inches, with prominently alternate, veined (plicate) leaves and a bright yellow pouch, there is no mistaking this plant for anything else in our flora.  Plants often occur singly or in small groups, and occasionally, a large clump of plants may be observed.

Plants at a given site may not bloom every year, so it is helpful for an observer to acquaint themselves with the appearance of this plant when it is not in flower, making a note to return the following year.  Preferred habitats are moist (mesic) forested slopes under light shade and over circumneutral soils. The large yellow flower (pouch) is accompanied by lateral petals that are typically twisted and brownish in coloration.  Leaves, and particularly stem, are noticeably hairy (pubescent).  Flowering typically occurs in the month of May.

Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid is widely distributed throughout North America but it is usually uncommon to rare wherever it occurs.  This species is always considered a ‘good find’ when encountered.  In the past, people would often dig up these plants in an effort to establish them in home gardens, almost always resulting in the death of the plants; it is a practice to be much discouraged at this time.

Within North Carolina, these orchids are most often seen in the mountains, but there are known localities in the piedmont also.  Polk County has a handful of known sites for Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper, and suitable habitat and soils are abundant here, so more colonies of this species should exist.  Purposeful searching on north and northeast-facing slopes in moist hardwood forests underlain by mafic rock would be the best strategy to find this spectacular orchid in our region.

If you feel you have seen Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid, please do not hesitate to contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Site information for all localities will be kept in the strictest confidence.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

article submitted by David Campbell and Pam Torlina

Cypripedium-parviflorum-var-pubescens.i-4341.s-60831Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Polk County News Journal, 6/15/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” one of our loveliest and most cherished wildflowers, the Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens).  

Anyone fortunate enough to see a stand of Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchids in full flower in its woodland habitat will not soon forget the breathtaking beauty of this elusive plant.

Attaining heights of over 24 inches, with prominently alternate, veined (plicate) leaves and a bright yellow pouch, there is no mistaking this plant for anything else in our flora.  Plants often occur singly or in small groups, and occasionally, a large clump of plants may be observed.

Plants at a given site may not bloom every year, so it is helpful for an observer to acquaint themselves with the appearance of this plant when it is not in flower, making a note to return the following year.  Preferred habitats are moist (mesic) forested slopes under light shade and over circumneutral soils. The large yellow flower (pouch) is accompanied by lateral petals that are typically twisted and brownish in coloration.  Leaves, and particularly stem, are noticeably hairy (pubescent).  Flowering typically occurs in the month of May.

Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid is widely distributed throughout North America but it is usually uncommon to rare wherever it occurs.  This species is always considered a ‘good find’ when encountered.  In the past, people would often dig up these plants in an effort to establish them in home gardens, almost always resulting in the death of the plants; it is a practice to be much discouraged at this time.

Within North Carolina, these orchids are most often seen in the mountains, but there are known localities in the piedmont also.  Polk County has a handful of known sites for Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper, and suitable habitat and soils are abundant here, so more colonies of this species should exist.  Purposeful searching on north and northeast-facing slopes in moist hardwood forests underlain by mafic rock would be the best strategy to find this spectacular orchid in our region.

If you feel you have seen Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchid, please do not hesitate to contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Site information for all localities will be kept in the strictest confidence.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

by David Campbell

Cypripedium-parviflorum-var-pubescens.i-4341.s-60831


“Beetles Save Needles” on June 25

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 6/15/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Beetles Save Needles,” a presentation on the biological control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) using the beetle, Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”).  The program will be presented by Dr. Richard McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, and held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, June 25th at 10:30 a.m.

This presentation will provide a brief background and history of the efforts of many scientists and agencies to find a way to control HWA and prevent it from removing hemlocks from our landscape and ecosystem.  Dr, McDonald will describe Symbiont Biological Pest Management’s work with HWA, and how, in 2006, the Forest Service’s Nathan Havill discovered that HWA is native to the Pacific Northwest; in the United States!  This discovery was a game changer in the race to save our hemlocks and prompted Symbiont Biological Pest Management to put the puzzle pieces together which led to the discovery of natural predators of HWA that are also native to the U.S.!

The program is best for adults and children who listen like adults and families are welcome too.  This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from Delores Lastinger.

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

HWA and Lari shown (3)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/10/16

June - Landrum


PAC and Walnut Creek Preserve present “Beetles Save Needles”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/9/16

The PAC and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Beetles Save Needles,” a presentation on the biological control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) using the beetle, Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”).

The program will be presented by Dr. Richard McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, and held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, June 25 at 10:30 a.m.

This presentation will provide a brief background and history of the efforts of many scientists and agencies to find a way to control HWA and prevent it from removing hemlocks from our landscape and ecosystem.  Dr, McDonald will describe Symbiont Biological Pest Management’s work with HWA, and how, in 2006, they found out that HWA is native to the western United States

This discovery was a game changer in the race to save our hemlocks and prompted Symbiont Biological Pest Management to put the puzzle pieces together which led to the discovery of natural predators of HWA that are also native to the U.S.

Dr. McDonald has a Ph.D. in Entomology from Virginia Tech and is the former Biological Control Administrator and State Apiarist for N.C.  Dr. McDonald moved to western N.C. in 1996, and he began working on biological control of the HWA in 1999.

The program is best for adults and children who listen like adults and families are welcome too.  This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from Delores Lastinger.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

HWA and Lari shown (3)


Wildlife in our backyards at Landrum Library June 14

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/8/16

PAC and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Our Neck of the Woods – Wildlife in our Backyards” presented by Julie Schmidt, education outreach coordinator for Hollywild Animal Park.

The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, June 14 at 11:00 a.m. as part of the Landrum Library’s Summer Reading Program for children.

This program teaches kids about the animals living in their backyard and ways to help protect local wildlife.  Ms. Schmidt will be bringing some local animal friends and showing participants how to help wildlife and preserve their habitats, right in their own backyards and neighborhoods.

This program is made possible thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).  For more information, contact the PAC at 828-859-5060 or Leasa Hall at the Landrum Library, 864-457-2218.

The next scheduled program at the Landrum Library will take place on July 12 when Emily Walker, of Chimney Rock State Park, will present, “Animals of Appalachia” at Family Fun Night at 6 p.m.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

zoom_Earthcam_Rep_Meets_Bear_Cub


June 4 is NC Land Trust Day

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/3/16

North Carolina Land Trust Day was created in 1992 to recognize the role that North Carolina’s 24 nonprofit land trusts play in protecting the state’s streams, forests, parks, and scenic vistas for generations to come.  It is held each year on the first Saturday in June to coincide with American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day.

The community is asked to support conservation on this day.  Those individuals that value the natural resources and scenic places preserved by land trusts are asked to donate to their local land trust in support of land and water conservation.  Contributions are used to help local land trusts continue to protect our precious natural resources.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), our local Land Trust, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust which was founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving important natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

To date, PAC has protected nearly 8,700 acres providing clean air and drinking water, habitat for our native flora and fauna, farm land for locally grown food, and places where children and adults alike can go to enjoy nature.

For more information about PAC or to donate online visit the website at www.pacolet.org.

article submitted by Pam Torlina


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/3/16

NC Land Trust Day


North Carolina Waterfalls, by Kevin Adams

June 2, 2016

NC Waterfalls_Cover NC Waterfalls_p. 132 NC Waterfalls_p. 133


PAC creates Monarch butterfly habitats

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/31/16 (page 27)

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) would like to express its sincere thanks to all of those who have made possible the PAC courtyard Butterfly Garden, a Certified Monarch Habitat and Waystation.  Special thanks to Loti Woods for providing a grant to fund the project, landscape architect, Mark Byington, for creating the garden design, and Pat Ferullo for producing the beautiful artwork for the “Certified Monarch Habitat” signs.  Also, thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who planted the garden and continue to care for it through planting, weeding, and mulching.

The butterfly garden at the PAC office is just one of three Certified Monarch Habitats and Waystations that were created in 2015.  PAC also established Monarch Habitat at the Polk County Library and Norman Wilder Forest.  These three butterfly habitats are certified by PAC, Monarch Watch (www.monarchwatch.org), and have been registered on the North Carolina Butterfly Highway (www.butterflyhighway.org).

Just this year, PAC has been fortunate to work with Brownie Girl Scout Troop 1819 who visited the court yard butterfly garden at the PAC office and learned about the Monarch butterfly and its unique life cycle, then planted milkweed, the important larval host plant of the Monarch butterfly.  PAC also worked with Boy Scout Troop 150 who helped remove invasive plants from Norman Wilder Forest, along with the (at least) weekly efforts by the dedicated “Kudzu Warrior” volunteers.  The efforts of these devoted volunteers have offered the opportunity for PAC to increase butterfly habitat at Norman Wilder Forest.  PAC is currently planning to seed an area that was once covered by Kudzu with native grasses and wildflowers in order to create a prairie-type meadow to be enjoyed by butterflies and other animals.

Thanks to the grant donated by Loti Woods, PAC has been able to not only help create several Certified Monarch Habitats and Waystations, but has also been able to encourage others to create Monarch habitats by giving away hundreds of seed packets containing milkweed and nectar plants to entice butterflies in an effort to increase awareness about protecting the Monarch butterfly and the importance of landscaping with native plants in order to provide the necessary food source for our native fauna.

For more information about what you can do to help the Monarch butterfly, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the Conservation tab, then Saving the Migratory Monarch.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

P1110136_3_cr_smallContributors who have made the Certified Monarch Habitat at the PAC office possible are Mark Byington, Pat Ferullo, and Loti Woods. (Photo by Ford Smith)


PAC Hiking Challenge Achievers!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/31/16 (page 25)

May 13 marked the end of the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC) Spring Hiking Series.  Congratulations to Ann Bridges and Juanita Bruce who completed all six of the hikes this spring and received a custom bumper sticker acknowledging their accomplishment!  The next hiking series will take place in the fall, beginning mid-September. For more information about PAC, please www.pacolet.org.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1130572


How to help a Monarch butterfly, and why you might want to

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/22/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “How to help a Monarch butterfly and why you might want to” presented by Liz Dicey.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Thursday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m.  This event is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families are welcome, too.

Monarch butterflies are truly amazing creatures. The presentation will highlight the Monarchs’ remarkable behaviors and their place in our environment.  The program will also describe local actions that help Monarch butterflies survive and reproduce.  These efforts include several certified Monarch Waystation gardens created by PAC.

At the end of the presentation PAC will be giving out free milkweed plants which are necessary for Monarch reproduction, as well as seed packets containing a variety of five nectar plants to entice the Monarch butterflies to your garden.

This program is made possible thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next scheduled program will take place on July 12th when Emily Walker, of Chimney Rock State Park, will present, “Animals of Appalachia” at Family Fun Night at 6:00 p.m.

monarch on milkweed1Monarch Butterfly


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/15/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” Red-legged Purseweb Spider (Sphodros rufipes).  

The Red-legged Purseweb Spider is a beautiful and unusual invertebrate.  Although strictly speaking, it is not tracked as Rare or Endangered, there is little known about the distribution and abundance of this unusual species.

Purseweb Spiders are close relatives of the Tarantulas and they have a unique natural history. Instead of constructing the classic spider ‘web’, these spiders make silken tubes running up the lower bases of tree trunks, rocks, etc.  These silken tubes become well camouflaged over time, as bits of twigs, algae, etc. become incorporated into the tube itself.  The spider hides inside of the tube, and if an insect is unfortunate enough to walk across this silken death-trap, the spider pierces it from within its lair with its large fangs, and pulls it inside for slow digestion.  It is worth pointing out, that Purseweb Spiders rarely leave their tubes – except for mating.

The Red-legged Purseweb Spider is only red-legged if it is a male; females are all black.  Both sexes are approximately one inch in length.  There are other species of Sphodros in our region, but they appear to be uniformly black in coloration.

The Red-legged Purseweb spider is more abundant in the southern United States, but there are records further north into New Jersey, Massachusetts, and even the Great Lakes region.  Search for the tube-like lair of this species at the base of trees in forested areas.  Tubes are often cryptically colored, so look carefully.  Although not a deadly species by any means, a Purseweb Spider could give a good bite, so avoid handling.  Instead, consider taking a photograph of the spider and/or its fascinating tube-like home.  Although not as colorful as some of our wildflowers or birds, these spiders are beautiful and interesting in their own right and are well worth seeking out to appreciate.

If you are fortunate enough to discover a Red-legged Purseweb Spider in Polk County, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

male purseweb_spiderMale Red-legged Purseweb Spider (female is all black)

purseweb_spider_and webA female Red-legged Purseweb Spider and web


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/13/16

May general ad


A lovely day for PACWalk and  PACRun

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/12/16

Saturday, April 23, 2016 was a lovely day for the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) 11th annual PACWalk and 5th annual PACRun for Preservation, Earth Day celebration/fundraiser.  Nice weather, friendly people, and beautiful surroundings! What more could you ask for?

Over 100 members of the community, of all ages, turned out to walk, stroll, and run in support of PAC at Tryon Estates in Columbus, NC.  Many area groups and clubs formed teams to walk in PACWalk and some even livened things up with special hats and costumes. We appreciate the following teams for their creativity and support: Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly, Green Blades Garden Club, Tryon Garden Club, The Four Stooges, Congregational Church, Tryon Estates, and Rotary Club of Tryon.

PAC expressed very special recognition to Mr. Carroll Rogers, “PACWalker Emeritus.” At the age of 104, Mr. Rogers did not walk, but he was present to support the work of PAC and PACWalkers.

PACWalk is just one way to help PAC, your local land trust, do the good work of protecting the land, such as farms, forests, and rivers. For more ways to help sustain PAC please consult the website at www.pacolet.org.

by Carrie Knox

IMG_8309_1A group of happy PACWalkers begin PACWalk near the lake at Tryon Estates. (photo by Chris Bartol)

P1130333Mr. Carroll Rogers, PACWalker Emeritus, receives a special award from Carole Bartol, PAC board member. (photo by Pam Torlina)


A Lovely Day for PACWalk & PACRun

Polk County News Journal, 5/11/16

April 23, 2016 was a lovely day for the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) 11th annual PACWalk and 5th annual PACRun for Preservation, Earth Day celebration/fundraiser.  Nice weather, friendly people, and beautiful surroundings! What more could you ask for?

Over 100 members of the community, of all ages, turned out to walk, stroll, and run in support of PAC at Tryon Estates in Columbus, NC.  Many area groups and clubs formed teams to walk in PACWalk and some even livened things up with special hats and costumes. We appreciate the following teams for their creativity and support: Polk Fit, Fresh and Friendly, Green Blades Garden Club, Tryon Garden Club, The Four Stooges, Congregational Church, Tryon Estates, and Rotary Club of Tryon.

PAC expressed very special recognition to Mr. Carroll Rogers, “PACWalker Emeritus.” At the age of 104, Mr. Rogers did not walk, but he was present to support the work of PAC and PACWalkers.

PACWalk is just one way to help PAC, your local land trust, do the good work of protecting the land, such as farms, forests, and rivers. For more ways to help sustain PAC please consult the website at www.pacolet.org.

by Carrie Knox

P1130333Mr. Carroll Rogers, PACWalker Emeritus, receives a special award from Carole Bartol, PAC board member. (photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s Final Spring Hike at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve May 13

Polk County News Journal and the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/11/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, May 13, for a 3.8-mile, moderate/strenuous hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve, the final hike of PAC’s Spring Hiking Series.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the out and back hike.

Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is a 374-acre preserve located within the larger Jocassee Gorges Natural Area and it is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The preserve consists primarily of the steep mountain gorge of Eastatoe Creek. Within the preserve, Eastatoe Creek drops 600 feet in elevation, flowing over large rocks and boulders before plunging through a series of narrow channels creating a beautiful waterfall, aptly called “The Narrows,” near the southern end of the preserve.

The trail is fairly easy for most of the way but it drops steeply as it descends the gorge to Eastatoe Creek in the last .5-mile. There are switchbacks and stairs to help make this portion of the hike a little easier but the group will be returning the same way, so that means that there is a hike back up the gorge, making up the strenuous portion of the hike. Participants will not only enjoy the beautiful waterfall, but also the lovely wooded forest and emerging spring foliage.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

P1100951(L to R) Mary Savard, Liz Dicey (and her dog Ellie), Vince Castello, PAC’s Pam Torlina, Mark McCall, Juanita Bruce, Ford Smith, Jean Shaw, Ann Bridges, and Edie Castello. (photo by Carroll Rush)


PAC program on butterflies of the state’s mountains, piedmont

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/6/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Butterflies of the NC Mountains and Piedmont,” presented by botanist and ecologist, David Campbell.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, April 14, at 10:30 a.m.

This program will teach participants the basics of butterfly identification and the life history and ecology of some of the butterfly species found in the North Carolina Piedmont and Mountains.

David Campbell has been working as a botanist/ecologist for Habitat Assessment & Restoration Professionals (HARP) since 2003 and has over 20 years of experience studying the biota of North America, the United Kingdom, and areas of the Neotropics.  David has particular expertise in conducting surveys for rare and threatened species throughout the southeastern United States.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on June 25th when Dr. Richard McDonald will present on the biological control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid using the “Lari” beetle.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

commaButterflies of the mountains and piedmont are the subject of PAC’s next presentation, May 14 at Walnut Creek Preserve


PAC hikers head to Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/6/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, May 13, for a 3.8-mile, moderate/strenuous hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve, the final hike of PAC’s Spring Hiking Series.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the out and back hike.

Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is a 374-acre preserve located within the larger Jocassee Gorges Natural Area and it is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The preserve consists primarily of the steep mountain gorge of Eastatoe Creek. Within the preserve, Eastatoe Creek drops 600 feet in elevation, flowing over large rocks and boulders before plunging through a series of narrow channels creating a beautiful waterfall, aptly called “The Narrows,” near the southern end of the preserve.

The trail is fairly easy for most of the way but it drops steeply as it descends the gorge to Eastatoe Creek in the last .5-mile. There are switchbacks and stairs to help make this portion of the hike a little easier but the group will be returning the same way, so that means that there is a hike back up the gorge, making up the strenuous portion of the hike. Participants will not only enjoy the beautiful waterfall, but also the lovely wooded forest and emerging spring foliage.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to Eastatoe Heritage Preserve. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

P1100951PAC hikers at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area hike along the Oil Camp Creek Trail on April 29th: (L to R) Mary Savard, Liz Dicey (and her dog Ellie), Vince Castello, PAC’s Pam Torlina, Mark McCall, Juanita Bruce, Ford Smith, Jean Shaw, Ann Bridges, and Edie Castello. (Photo by Carroll Rush)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/5/16

Final PACWalk ad


Green Blades Garden Club supports PACWalk for Preservation

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/3/16

Vard Henry, Lynette Conrad, Carolyn Jones, Rita Nichols, Jeanie Daniel, and Lisa Stokes, members of the Green Blades Garden Club team, were adorned in personalized garden hats for the 2016 PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation held at Tryon Estates.

-Submitted by Lori Martin

IMG_8281 AA Green Blades Garden Club


Explorers assist law enforcement at PACRun

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/29/16

Explorers Oist 911 was organized in 2013 for youth in Polk County who are interested in a career in law enforcement.  This national nonprofit organization encourages youth to become responsible, law-abiding, and service-minded adults in their communities.  It is open to youn men and women between the ages of 14 and 21 with an interest in learning more about careers in the field of law enforcement.

Since its inception in Polk County, training activities for Explorer Post 911 have included crime prevention, traffic/crowd control, physical fitness, telecommunications, officer safety, vehicle searches, first aid, CPR, and patrolling community events.

These training activities are always conducted under the supervision of law enforcement officers and demonstrate the benefits that Explorers bring to their community.

The Explorers Post 911 members have applied thsi training the assisit the Comunbus Police Department at various town events such as the Fabulous Fourth of July in Columbus, the Labor Day Festival, the Polk County Farm Festival, the Race for the Fallen, Rotary fundraisers, and the PACRun.

For more information about Explorers, please contact Kelly Hamby at the Columbus Police Department, 828-894-5464.

Submitted by Sandra Conway Warren

ExplorersOn April 23, Explorers James Loman, Daniel Smith and Jordan Holdcraft assisted Orricer Mike Feagan and the Columbus Police Department at the fifth annual PACRun fundraiser for the Pacolet Area Conservancy.


PAC hikers head to Pisgah National Forest

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/29/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, May 6, for a 4.7-mile, out and back trek in Pisgah National Forest.  The group will head to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery and pick up the Cat Gap Trail. The trail follows Cedar Rock Creek through the beautiful mixed hardwood forest of Pisgah National Forest.  Along the way, there will be a visit to the 20′ Cedar Creek Falls. After leaving the falls, the group will travel through Picklesimer Fields to reach the 15-20′ Grogan Falls before returning. This hike is offered to the public, free of charge.

Hikers are asked to meet at the BiLo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one 1-hour drive to the trail head. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending this hike or if you would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. You can also find information on PAC’s website.

The last hike of the Spring Hiking Series will take place on May 13th at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, rescheduled due to inclement weather on April 22.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1130094_2PAC Hikers at the April 15th hike to Station Cove Falls (in no particular order): Ford Smith, Maureen Pratt, Carolyn Parker, Mark McCall, Juanita Bruce, Edie Castello, Carol McCall, Vince Castello, Mary Savard, Patsy Panther, Jean Shaw, Ann Bridges, Linda Eiserloh, and Annie Ewing. (Not pictured: Paul Wood, Scott Lawrence, Ron Huntsberge, and Jackie Burke.)


PAC plans Friday hike to Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/28/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 29 for a 6-mile, easy/moderate, out and back hike in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. The trail follows an old CCC road along Oil Camp Creek in a seldom visited portion of the park. There are several waterfalls and streams that flow into the creek and they can be seen while hiking on the trail.  This hike is offered to the public, free of charge.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one 1-hour drive to the trail head. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending this hike or if you would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. You can also find information on PAC’s website.

The next hike will take place on May 6th and head to Pisgah National Forest for a 4.7-mile hike along the Cat Gap and Butter Gap Trails.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

on Oil Camp Creek trailOne of the streams along the Oil Camp Creek trail


PAC Hike at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, April 29

Polk County News Journal and the News Leader, 4/27/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 29 for a 6-mile, easy/moderate, out and back hike in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. The trail follows an old CCC road along Oil Camp Creek in a seldom visited portion of the park. There are several waterfalls and streams that flow into the creek and they can be seen while hiking on the trail.  This hike is offered to the public, free of charge.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx in Gowensville at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one 1-hour drive to the trail head. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending this hike or if you would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. You can also find information on PAC’s website.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

on Oil Camp Creek trailMountain Bridge Wilderness Area


PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation this weekend

Polk County News Journal and the News Leader, 4/20/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC) annual fundraiser, PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation takes place this Saturday, April 23, 2016; an Earth Day celebration!

PACRun begins at 8 a.m. and PACWalk begins at 10 a.m. and both events will take place at Tryon Estates in Columbus, NC.All participants are eligible for the fabulous door prizes to be given away at the awards gathering immediately after PACWalk.  Join your friends and neighbors in supporting PAC and get a chance to win everything from wine to water bottles – food to flowers!  You can’t win if you are not there!

The door prizes are a reflection of the generosity and commitment of over 20 local businesses.  For more information about the 5K PACRun, PACWalk, and a full list of door prizes, visit the PAC web site at www.pacolet.org.

Liz Dicey (kneeling) and Babs Strickland show some of the fabulous door prizes to be given away at PACWalk this weekendLiz Dicey (kneeling) and Babs Strickland with door prizes


The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Current Status

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/19/16; page 28

PAC and Walnut Creek Preserve invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Current Status” by Joyce Pearsall at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve April 30 at 10:30 a.m.

This program will discuss why we are concerned about the monarch population decline, the monarch life cycle, an MRI of a chrysalis, a little math and geometry, the milkweed community, and gardening to create pollinator habitat.  If there is time, a 7 min video TED talk about the Beauty of Pollination will be shown.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

JoycePresenter Joyce Pearsall


Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/19/16; page 27

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” Rusty-patcheded Bumblebee (Bombus affinis).

Most of us are well acquainted with the Bumblebees that frequent or gardens, fields, and yards.  Not surprisingly, there are a great many species of Bumblebees native to our region, and unfortunately, some of those species are in decline; the Rusty-patched Bumblebee is one such species.

Formerly widespread throughout large portions of eastern North America, the Rusty-patched Bumblebee is now confined to a handful of sites, including areas of Wisconsin. Extinction is a very real possibility for this species.  Reasons for the decline of some species of Bumblebees are not always well understood, but likely involve habitat loss, declining sources of nectar, and non-targeted spraying of insect pests that also harm beneficial species such as bees.

The Rusty-patched Bumblebee is aptly named, as it bears an orange colored spot on its abdomen that serves to distinguish it from other species of Bumblebees found in our area.  Collection records indicate that this species has been found in North Carolina, and may very well still be present here.  Open, sunny areas that contain an abundance of wildflowers serve as an excellent place to search for this, and other, species of Bumblebees.

All species of Bumblees (and other native pollinators) greatly benefit from the addition of native plants to our gardens, such as Milkweed, Beebalm, Penstemon, and many others.  Please consider adding a species or two of native flowering plants to your garden to help our hard-working native pollinators.  You may be fortunate enough to observe a Rusty-patched Bumblebee in your own backyard!  If so, please attempt to get a clear photograph of the specimen and contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.  .

Further information regarding how you can assist all of our native pollinators may be found at www.xerces.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

-Submitted by David Campbell

by Johanna James-HeinzRusty-patched Bumblebee (photo by Johanna James-Heintz)


PAC to offer hike to Eastatoe Preserve

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/19/16, page 20

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC)on Friday, April 22, Earth Day, join PAC for a 3.8-mile, moderate/strenuous hike at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve.  This hike is rescheduled from the originally scheduled April 1 date and is part of PAC’s Spring Hiking Series.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the out and back hike.

Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is a 374-acre preserve located within the larger Jocassee Gorges Natural Area and it is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The preserve consists primarily of the steep mountain gorge of Eastatoe Creek. Within the preserve, Eastatoe Creek drops 600 feet in elevation, flowing over large rocks and boulders before plunging through a series of narrow channels creating a beautiful waterfall, aptly called “The Narrows,” near the southern end of the preserve.

The trail is fairly easy for most of the way but it drops steeply as it descends the gorge to Eastatoe Creek in the last 0.5-mile.  There are switchbacks and stairs to help make this portion of the hike a little easier but the group will be returning the same way, so that means that there is a hike back up the gorge, making up the strenuous portion of the hike.  Participants will not only enjoy the beautiful waterfall, but also the lovely wooded forest and emerging spring foliage.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Walnut Creek Preserve and/or the hike at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

For both hikes, participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring plenty of water, and bring a bag lunch and/or snack.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1100737The Narrows at Eastatoe Creek (photo by Pam Torlina)


PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation this weekend

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/19/16; page 19

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC) annual fundraiser, PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation takes place this Saturday, April 23, 2016; an Earth Day celebration!  PACRun begins at 8 a.m. and PACWalk begins at 10 a.m. and both events will take place at Tryon Estates in Columbus, NC.

All participants are eligible for the fabulous door prizes to be given away at the awards gathering immediately after PACWalk.  Join your friends and neighbors in supporting PAC and get a chance to win everything from wine to water bottles – food to flowers!  You can’t win if you are not there!

The door prizes are a reflection of the generosity and commitment of over 20 local businesses.

For more information about the 5K PACRun, PACWalk, and a full list of door prizes, visit the PAC web site at www.pacolet.org.

PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-Submitted by Carrie Knox

Liz Dicey (kneeling) and Babs Strickland show some of the fabulous door prizes to be given away at PACWalk this weekendLiz Dicey and Babs Strickland show some of the fabulous door prizes to be given away at PACWalk on April 23.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/14/16

PACWalk-Run ad


PACWalk & PACRun awards created by local artisan

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/14/16

If you haven’t signed up for the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s 5K PACRun for Preservation yet, you will want to when you see the beautifully crafted awards created by Mill Spring artisan Manfred Walter.  Mr. Walter modestly states, “I don’t consider myself a big artist.  I like to work with tools.  I have a basement in my house and when I feel like it I go down there and make things.”

It is only natural that these unique pieces, made of native Black Walnut shells and Mountain Laurel, should be awarded to PACRun participants.  Trees and shrubs like these are protected by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) all over the upstate and foothills!  Manfred and Christel Walter have protected most of their land with PAC.  “My wife was on the board of PAC for several years and we went on the hikes.  Just last year we put the majority of our land in conservancy,” he explains.

One-of-a-kind awards, friendly people, a good cause, and lovely spring weather all add up to a great time and critical funding for PAC.  You too can help by running, walking, or donating as a phantom walker.

Come join the fun on April 23, 2016 at Tryon Estates beginning at 8am for PACRun and 10am for PACWalk, a 2-mile walk in support of conservation, with an option for a ¾-mile easier walk, the Sam White Stroll, or you can support PAC by making a donation to be a phantom walker/runner…and be there in spirit.

For more information and to register, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060, visit the website www.pacolet.org, or come by the office at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon. Registration is $20 for PACWalk and $25 for PACRun.  Runners may also register online at www.strictlyrunning.com.

You can view Mr. Walter’s work at the Tryon Arts and Crafts Center at Harmon Field in Tryon or contact him at mcwalter@windstream.net or call 828-894-0197.

by Carrie Knox

Manfred Walter and his natural creations

Manfred Walter and his natural creations

DSC_0072_cropped

This year’s medals to be awarded to winners of the 5K PACRun for Preservation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

PAC offers two wildflower walks next week

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/13/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Wednesday, April 13, for an approximately 1-mile, easy walk on a PAC protected property to view a beautiful array of spring-blooming wildflowers; a display like nowhere else!

The walk will be guided by botanist, David Campbell, who will provide wildflower identification and other interesting trivia along the way.   Space is limited.  Participants must sign up for this walk in order to attend, and no dogs are allowed.

If you are interested in attending this walk on a PAC protected property, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Interested parties are asked to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St., to check in and arrange carpooling before venturing to the nearby site; plan on returning around noon, or early afternoon.

Also, on Friday, April 15, join PAC for a 2.5-mile, easy hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site in South Carolina, part of PAC’s Spring Hiking Schedule.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike.

This hike will lead the group around a pond at the historic site of Oconee Station, an old “blockhouse” built in 1792.  Then, hikers will enter Sumter National Forest as they journey to Station Cove Falls, a stepped, 60′ waterfall.  Along the way, hikers can expect a spectacular show of countless wildflowers throughout the forest.

Those interested in the hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to the Historic Site and should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.  Hikers should be prepared to pay park admission. SC park passes are accepted.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

For both walks, participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring plenty of water.  For the April 15th hike, also bring a bag lunch and/or snack.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

submitted by Pam Torlina

oconee_station_cove_falls-1080x720Station Cove Falls (Photo by Jeff Clark)


The News Leader & Polk County News Journal, 4/13/16

PACWalk ad_2 (2)


PAC’s Spring Hiking Series; Oconee Station State Historic Site

Polk County News Journal, 4/13/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 15, for a 2.5-mile, easy hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site in South Carolina, part of PAC’s Spring Hiking Schedule.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike.

This walk will lead the group around a pond at the historic site of Oconee Station, an old “blockhouse” built in 1792.  Then, hikers will enter Sumter National Forest as they journey to Station Cove Falls, a stepped, 60′ waterfall.  Along the way, hikers can expect a spectacular show of countless wildflowers throughout the forest.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to Oconee Station State Historic Site and should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.  Hikers should also be prepared to pay park admission: $2/adult & non-resident, $1.25 for SC seniors, and free for 15 and younger. SC park passes are accepted.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website or Facebook page at the above mentioned addresses for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hikes will take place on April 18th at Walnut Creek Preserve and on April 22nd, Earth Day, at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve (rescheduled due to inclement weather on April 1st), and please attend PAC’s annual fundraiser, PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation on April 23rd!

By Pam Torlina

oconee_station_cove_falls-1080x720“Station Cove Falls” by Jeff Clark


South Carolina Native Plant Society to learn about “Polk County’s Most Wanted”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/8/16

South Carolina Native Plant Society will host Pam Torlina on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the Landrum Depot, 211 North Trade, Landrum, S.C. Pam Torlina is the director of stewardship and land protection of the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC).

Polk County, N.C., is located along the North Carolina and South Carolina border, between Henderson and Rutherford Counties.  It is home to the towns of Saluda, Columbus, and Tryon, as well as a wild and picturesque section of the Broad River Basin.

The western half of the county contains magnificent peaks belonging to the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a vast stretch of foothills transitioning to the piedmont in the eastern part of the county.  Naturally, with such varied elevation and terrain in such a relatively small swatch of land, the botanical and biological diversity abounds.

Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection for the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), has been studying the habitats of Western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina for over 13 years.  While PAC’s conservation endeavors extend beyond the borders of Polk County, Pam, alongside botanist David Campbell, has spearheaded a localized effort to further study this particular part of the state.  The program, entitled “Polk County’s Most Wanted,” has a more refined focus of locating, and on occasion re-locating, rare and unusual species and habitats distributed throughout Polk County alone.

The county’s placement within the Blue Ridge Mountain range, combined with the unique geological features of the area, provide opportunities for uncommon vegetation and wildlife to survive great distances from their typical native regions.  By involving PAC supporters and the broader community, the program seeks to locate dozens of hard to find plants and animals currently thought to reside within the county lines.  Some of these species have not been observed fro many years in Polk County, so it it exciting indeed when one is “discovered”!

Pam has been with the Pacolet Area Conservancy for 10 years, and has over 20 years experience as a field biologist, naturalist and interpreter, outdoor educator, and wilderness tour guide.  She has worked with the South Carolina State Park Service, the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Parks and SCNPS, working to preserve, protect and restore native plant communities in South Carolina, recreation and historic preservation, and Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada.

She designed and taught a natural science education program that won the state-wide South Carolina Parks and Recreation Association Arts and Programming Branch award for the most Innovative Program of the Year.

At the April meeting Pam will explain the fundamentals of the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” program, highlighting the steps involved with finding notoriously difficult to locate species, as well as share the successes the program has already enjoyed.

She will also discuss some of the more interesting flora and fauna that comprise the “Most Wanted” list, and give a brief overview of the botanical history of the county.

Polk County provides a truly unique snapshot of the biodiversity the Southern Appalachians are famous for, and its accessibility from the Upstate makes it easy to enjoy.

Come learn about what makes Polk County so amazing, and discover a whole new appreciation for the conservation efforts taking place there.  For a map and more information, visit www.scnps.org.

submitted by Eva Pratt/Mary Holcomb

PACWalk teams forming now

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/8/16

PACWalk 06 photos 082Rotary’s PACWalk team

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s 11th Annual PACWalk for Preservation is going to be happening at Tryon Estates on Saturday April 23.  Is your organization going to be represented with a team?

In past years, the Rotary Club of Tryon, Kiwanis, Hunting Country!, SOS, and Unitarian Universalists are some of the teams that have participated.  It’s a great way to enjoy a spring outing, promote your organization, and support conservation in our area.

If you would like more information, please call the Pacolet Area Conservancy office at 859-5060.

submitted by Pam Torlina


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/8/16

add


Join PAC for two wildflower walks

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/7/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Wednesday, April 13, for an approximately 1-mile, easy walk on a PAC protected property to view a beautiful array of spring-blooming wildflowers; a display like nowhere else!  The walk will be guided by botanist, David Campbell, who will provide wildflower identification and other interesting trivia along the way.

Space is limited.  Participants must sign up for this walk in order to attend, and no dogs are allowed.

If you are interested in attending this walk on a PAC protected property, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Interested parties are asked to meet at 10:30 a.m. at the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St., to check in and arrange carpooling before venturing to the nearby site; plan on returning around noon, or early afternoon.

Also, on Friday, April 15, join PAC for a 2.5-mile, easy hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site in South Carolina, part of PAC’s Spring Hiking Schedule.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike.

This hike will lead the group around a pond at the historic site of Oconee Station, an old “blockhouse” built in 1792.  Then, hikers will enter Sumter National Forest as they journey to Station Cove Falls, a stepped, 60′ waterfall.  Along the way, hikers can expect a spectacular show of countless wildflowers throughout the forest.

Those interested in the hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to the Historic Site and should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.  Hikers should be prepared to pay park admission: $2/adult & non-resident, $1.25 for SC seniors, and free for 15 and younger. SC park passes are accepted.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Oconee Station State Historic Site, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

For both walks, participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring plenty of water.  For the April 15th hike, also bring a bag lunch and/or snack.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make these walks but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website or Facebook page at the above mentioned addresses for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hikes will take place on April 18th at Walnut Creek Preserve and on April 22nd, Earth Day, at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, rescheduled due to inclement weather on April 1st.

submitted by Pam Torlina

4-6-08_121Wildflowers in bloom


Preserving horse country through farm conservation easements

Life in Our Foothills, April 2016

For the past 27 years, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has served as the regional land trust for Polk County and surrounding areas in North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. The non-profit, grass roots organization is dedicated to protecting the precious natural resources making up the land and water which impacts the beauty and health of our area.

Since its inception, PAC has been ahead of its time in the proactive protection of this region’s natural environment. Through the organization’s conservation efforts, nearly 8,700 acres have been protected in our area.

Based in Tryon, PAC focuses on the thoughtful conservation of mountains, watersheds, forests, farms and greenspace. The land trust helps protect habitat for flora and fauna, as well as scenic and agricultural resources.  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources.  Lands we’ve preserved by voluntary conservation easements protect riparian corridors which preserve our drinking water, mountains and ridgetops which preserve our viewsheds, forests we use for recreation and nature appreciation, and the impressive greenspace created by the area’s horse farms and agrarian activities.

In fact, PAC has permanently protected 1,010 acres on seventeen local horse farms.  In addition, PAC protects 3,190 acres of land on thirty properties which provide miles of protected equestrian trails, including land around the trails used by FETA, CETA, and NPA members, as well as trails used by riders in private horse farm communities.

Love of the area is shared by those who were born and raised in the region as well as by those who have moved to the area from elsewhere.  Many people who are involved with horses, whether as competitors in hunter-jumper shows, dressage shows, western shows and competitions; eventing, gaited, or driving; recreational, endurance riders, or fox hunters; or breeders on a large or small scale, moved to this area because they fell in love with the beautiful open spaces and the horse communities which formed around these various activities.

One way to preserve our horse country and to ensure the future enjoyment of these equestrian activities we take pleasure in is to protect the land in perpetuity by creating a thoughtful, carefully written, conservation easement (agreement) on your property.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), your local land trust, welcomes the opportunity to discuss land conservation options with area landowners. Please contact us at (828)859-5060, email landprotection@pacolet.org, drop by our office at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, NC, and check out our website at www.pacolet.org.

submitted by Pam Torlina

Life in Our Foothills

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PAC/Landrum Library Present, “Natural History and Ecology of the Carolinas”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/1/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Natural History and Ecology of the Carolinas” presented by naturalist, Todd Elliott.  The program will be held at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive Landrum, SC, on Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m.

Todd Elliott’s talk will encompass science, natural history, folklore, ecology, and the biodiversity of the Carolinas. He will discuss the role humans have played in shaping the natural world and the interconnections and co-dependence of the world around us.

Todd Elliott is a native to Rutherford County, North Carolina and he has focused on studying global biodiversity and interrelationships in nature. These studies have taken him to remote corners of the world to explore tropical rainforests, deserts, temperate forests, beaches, and high mountains on six continents. Much of the research from these expeditions has been or is being published including the description of organisms new to science. Todd is an award winning nature photographer and his lectures are filled with photographs from his adventures both here in the Carolinas and abroad.

This program is made possible thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next scheduled program will take place on June 12th when Emily Walker, of Chimney Rock State Park, will present, “Animals of Appalachia” at Family Fun Night at 6:00 p.m.

IMG_3478_1Presenter, Todd Elliott


Eastatoe Heritage Preserve is destination for PAC’s third spring hike

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/24/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 1, for a 3.8-mile, moderate/strenuous hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the out and back hike.

Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is a 374-acre preserve located within the larger Jocassee Gorges Natural Area and it is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The preserve consists primarily of the steep mountain gorge of Eastatoe Creek. Within the preserve, Eastatoe Creek drops 600 feet in elevation, flowing over large rocks and boulders before plunging through a series of narrow channels creating a beautiful waterfall, aptly called “The Narrows,” near the southern end of the preserve.

The trail is fairly easy for most of the way but it drops steeply as it descends the gorge to Eastatoe Creek in the last .5-mile.  There are switchbacks and stairs to help make this portion of the hike a little easier but the group will be returning the same way, so that means that there is a hike back up the gorge, making up the strenuous portion of the hike.  Participants will not only enjoy the beautiful waterfall, but also the lovely wooded forest and emerging spring foliage.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Eastatoe Heritage Preserve, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to Eastatoe Heritage Preserve.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on April 15th at Oconee Station State Historic Site in S.C. and will include a hike to Station Cove Falls.

submitted by Pam Torlina

P1100734Eastatoe Creek as it plummets, forming “The Narrows,” a beautiful waterfall within the Preserve (photo by Pam Torlina)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/24/16

PAC ad TDB


Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant

Polk County News Journal, 3/23/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Thin-pod Wild White Indigo (Baptisia albescens).

With Spring now upon us, this month’s Polk’s Most Wanted features a stunning flowering perennial: Thin-pod Wild White Indigo (Baptisia albescens).

A member of the Pea Family, Baptisia albescens may give the appearance of a Lupine species to the casual observer, but much larger, with total heights of some plants exceeding one meter.  Flowers are white and occur in a ‘spike’ that surmounts a stem with numerous trifoliate (‘in threes’) leaves.  When occurring in a group of several plants, Thin-pod White Wild Indigo forms a striking display that is not soon forgotten.

Bumblebees are among the principal pollinators of this species. Unlike other types of Wild Indigo, seed pods are light brown, instead of black. This latter point is an important diagnostic feature that may distinguish Baptisia albescens from similar while-flowering Wild Indigos.

Preferred habitats include open glades, powerline right-of-ways, and roadsides; abundant sunshine is very important for this species. Baptisia albescens also prefers circumneutral and basic soils.

Thin-pod White Wild Indigo has been reported for Polk County, but not for several decades. However, given the soils and topography of our region, it is still to be expected, and should be sought after. It is a distinctive species when in flower, or in fruit.

If you think that you have seen Thin-pod Wild White Indigo (Baptisia albescens) in Polk County, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

By David Campbell

rtw_b_albescens_3Thin-pod Wild White Indigo (Baptisia albescens) in bloom (photo by Richard and Teresa Ware)


Free Presentation,

“Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World”

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 3/23/1

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World,” presented by naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, March 26, at 10:30 a.m.

Have you ever been swallowed by a snake, had a swarm of bees fall on your head, or read God’s handwriting on the back of a trout?  Elliott has, and he’ll be telling you all about it.  As his tales unfold you’ll see how mishaps can turn into hilarious learning experiences that can enlighten and inspire.  His program is flavored with natural history, traditional lore, regional dialects, soulful harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs.  Kick off Easter weekend with this, sure to be, entertaining, fun, whimsical, and educational program.  The program is best for adults and children who listen like adults and families are welcome too.

Wild tales


Great Opportunity to Support PAC and Get Outdoors

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 3/23/16

Many people in this area are avid hikers, walkers, and runners and they walk for many reasons. Larry Poe walks “because it is terrific exercise. I even use my hiking stick to do arm exercises.”

A great opportunity to do what you love and support your hard working, local Land Trust, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is coming up soon.  The annual PACWalk and PACRun for Preservation takes place at Tryon Estates on Saturday, April 23.  PACRun, a 5K trail run, begins at 8 a.m. and registration is going on now.  Runners are asked to register at www.strictlyrunning.com or by visiting the PAC website www.pacolet.org.  PACWalk begins at 10 a.m. and offers three levels. Walkers can download registration forms from the PAC web site, www.pacolet.org, or stop by the office at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon.

Walkers and runners of all levels have come together for many years to support the Pacolet Area Conservancy and raise funds to help save the places you love.

If you are interested in sharing your enthusiasm for protecting our Earth, the PACWalk and PACRun is a great opportunity.  Avid environmentalist and hiker, Liz Dicey explains, “Hiking is something I want to share with my family for health and enjoyment.  Preserving and protecting the health of our environment is helping to preserve and protect our physical health.”

Tryon Estates offers two beautiful, wooded trails for walking, or walkers can even choose to support PAC and Phantom Walk from anywhere!  Runners will be trail running a 5K which offers a chance to enjoy a carefully marked and planned run through the woods on the property.  Awards and snacks will follow PACRun, and runners will receive swag bags.  After PACWalk, plan to stay for lunch and the PACWalk awards ceremony which will be held in the Tryon Estates Carolina Room.  Participants will receive a t-shirt and walker door prizes.

“We are so lucky to have beautiful, natural surroundings.  I like to get out and enjoy walking and taking longer hikes with a group,” says Bob Andrews.

Helping the Pacolet Area Conservancy save the places you love – enjoying the great outdoors – earning lunch and a t-shirt? What’s not to like? Join PAC at the annual PACWalk and PACRun for Preservation on April 23 at Tryon Estates.  For more information visit the Pacolet Area Conservancy web site www.pacolet.org.

PACWalk09 Walker scene Bartol 049_1Participants of PACWalk enjoying the benefits of getting outdoors, walking with friends, and supporting PAC on the beautiful Tryon Estates grounds.” (photo by Chris Bartol)


Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 3/23/16

PAC ad Upstate NP


Great Opportunity to Support PAC and Get Outdoors

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/23/16

Many people in this area are avid hikers, walkers, and runners and they walk for many reasons. Larry Poe walks “because it is terrific exercise. I even use my hiking stick to do arm exercises.”

A great opportunity to do what you love and support your hard working, local Land Trust, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is coming up soon.  The annual PACWalk and PACRun for Preservation takes place at Tryon Estates on Saturday, April 23.  PACRun, a 5K trail run, begins at 8 a.m. and registration is going on now.  Runners are asked to register at www.strictlyrunning.com or by visiting the PAC website www.pacolet.org.  PACWalk begins at 10 a.m. and offers three levels. Walkers can download registration forms from the PAC web site, www.pacolet.org, or stop by the office at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon.

Walkers and runners of all levels have come together for many years to support the Pacolet Area Conservancy and raise funds to help save the places you love.

If you are interested in sharing your enthusiasm for protecting our Earth, the PACWalk and PACRun is a great opportunity.  Avid environmentalist and hiker, Liz Dicey explains, “Hiking is something I want to share with my family for health and enjoyment.  Preserving and protecting the health of our environment is helping to preserve and protect our physical health.”

Tryon Estates offers two beautiful, wooded trails for walking, or walkers can even choose to support PAC and Phantom Walk from anywhere!  Runners will be trail running a 5K which offers a chance to enjoy a carefully marked and planned run through the woods on the property.  Awards and snacks will follow PACRun, and runners will receive swag bags.  After PACWalk, plan to stay for lunch and the PACWalk awards ceremony which will be held in the Tryon Estates Carolina Room.  Participants will receive a t-shirt and walker door prizes.

“We are so lucky to have beautiful, natural surroundings.  I like to get out and enjoy walking and taking longer hikes with a group,” says Bob Andrews.

Helping the Pacolet Area Conservancy save the places you love – enjoying the great outdoors – earning lunch and a t-shirt? What’s not to like? Join PAC at the annual PACWalk and PACRun for Preservation on April 23 at Tryon Estates.  For more information visit the Pacolet Area Conservancy web site www.pacolet.org.

PACWalk09 Walker scene Bartol 049_1Participants of PACWalk enjoying the benefits of getting outdoors, walking with friends, and supporting PAC on the beautiful Tryon Estates grounds.” (photo by Chris Bartol)


PAC presents Elliott on “Wild Tales-Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/20/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World,” presented by naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, March 26, at 10:30 a.m.

Have you ever been swallowed by a snake, had a swarm of bees fall on your head, or read God’s handwriting on the back of a trout?  Elliott has, and he’ll be telling you all about it.  As his tales unfold you’ll see how mishaps can turn into hilarious learning experiences that can enlighten and inspire.  His program is flavored with natural history, traditional lore, regional dialects, soulful harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs.  Kick off Easter weekend with this, sure to be, entertaining, fun, whimsical, and educational program.  The program is best for adults and children who listen like adults and families are welcome too.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on April 30th when Joyce Pearsall will present “The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Current Status.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

Wild talesDoug Elliott with bee swarm


WNC land trusts protect more than 30K acres

Asheville-Citizen Times, 3/15/16

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The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust protected 63 acres of Brushyface mountain that contains an intact old growth hemlock forest, headwater streams, and will be the future site of public trails that will connect to its flagship property, Satulah Mountain.(Photo: Courtesy of Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust)

These 31,000 acres are no piles of rocks and dirt.

Instead, they include a century-old working apple orchard with access to a trail dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Open balds of the Highlands of Roan are a part of the collection of properties, too. The tract’s 2,273 acres offer sweeping views of North Carolina and Tennessee. A section of the Appalachian Trail crosses the land.

Seven farms in the Fairview area account for another 960 acres.

Ten Western North Carolina land trusts that make up the Blue Ridge Forever coalition have spent five years stringing together 280 conservation deals to keep development off those 31,000 acres, land worth at least $25 million.

The work has been no small feat given renewed development happening with the economy’s rebound, said Jess Laggis, director of the Blue Ridge Forever collaboration.

Blue Ridge Forever formed in 2005 in light of the rapid development happening across the mountains, Laggis said. The land conservation organizations formed a five-year plan to pool resources, skills and knowledge to protect land from development through conservation easements and land purchases.

A conservation easement is a voluntary contract between a land owner and an organization that forever extinguishes development rights, Laggis said. The holder of the easement is charged with monitoring the land and enforcing the terms of the easement.

The land purchases – funded through land donations and public and private financing – will give the region an economic boost, said Leah Greden Mathews, Interdisciplinary Distinguished Professor of the Mountain South and an economics professor at UNC Asheville.

“One way economists look at the value of scenic quality is how it drives tourism,” she said.

635932127150147428-SAHC-LaurelRidge-overlookingreservoir

A hiker stands on the Laurel Ridge tract, a 492-acre property that adjoins the Asheville Watershed, which the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy protected in 2011. (Photo: Courtesy of SAHC)

The Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Experience Project, a study by UNCA looking at southwest Virginia and northern North Carolina in 2002 and 2003, asked visitors the reasons they came to the parkway and if visits would change if the scenic quality changed.

“The answer was yes,” Mathews said. “In the northern N.C. section we found that people would still come if the scenery was degraded, but a good number would stop coming if it was significantly degraded.”

Mathews said property values also tell a tale.

“We know people around here look at scenic quality when searching for homes. That is manifest through market price of homes.”
A student’s study several years ago looked at Buncombe County housing prices based on mountain views or proximity to open land, like golf courses, she said.

“People do value having protected land next to them. The property tax is higher for these homes. The county brings in more tax dollars – called a spillover benefit – which is able to help finance more open space.”

A National Park Service report shows that in 2014, 14 million visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway spent $8.6 million in nearby communities. That spending supported 14,000 jobs and had a cumulative economic benefit of more than $1.1 billion.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has worked extensively to save land in the viewshed of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

635932149434578276-CTNC-Orchard-May-30

The Conservation Trust for NC and the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund purchased conservation agreements on the 125-acre Orchard at Altapass, a working apple orchard at Milepost 328 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Spruce Pine. (Photo: Courtesy of CTNC)

That includes the 125-acre Orchard at Altapass near Spruce Pine, a working apple orchard that includes a portion of the Overmountain Victory Trail from the Revolutionary War.

Land for water

Protected land in turn protects water quality, Laggis said.

“When rain falls on land, it seeps into the groundwater and flows into streams and rivers. Somewhere along the way, this rain was held in a well or reservoir before being piped to the faucet,” Laggis said. “Stable, vegetation-filled stream banks shade and filter water, keeping it cool and clean. Streams with banks stripped of vegetation, trampled by livestock, or otherwise polluted yield hot, contaminated, and unhealthy water.”

635933089084105247-CMLC-Headwaters2-photo-by-April-Johnson

Hidden Falls, seen here is part of the Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County. The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy partnered with the N.C. Forest Service and the Conservation Fund to establish the new state forest that will ultimately protect a significant portion of the watershed of the East Fork of the French Broad River. (Photo: Courtesy of CMLC)

One inch of rainfall on 1 square foot of surface equates to about 1 gallon of water. The more than 30,000 acres protected by WNC land trusts in the last five years harvest more than 814 million gallons of water in every inch of rainfall.

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, an Asheville-based land trust and one of the founding partners of Blue Ridge Forever, has protected almost 800 miles of stream corridor over its 42-year conservation history in the mountains of WNC and East Tennessee.

“Protection of land and water resources is critical for quality of life in all our communities,” conservancy Executive Director Carl Silverstein said.

During the past five years the Asheville-based conservancy has protected nearly 9,000 acres in WNC, said Michelle Pugliese, the organization’s land protection director.

One of the most significant was adding 2,273 acres in the Highlands of Roan area of Avery County to the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, including the protection of the stunning 600-acre Grassy Ridge property.

“The Grassy Ridge property is one of the highest priority projects in our institution’s history,” Pugliese said. “Our founders stood up on top of the Appalachian Trail in the 1970s and said ‘We want to protect this piece of property.’”

The last of the 40-years-in-the-making conservation deal was completed with 600 acres bought in December 2012. The conservancy owns 40 acres of the land, with the rest belonging to the state.

“What makes it so important is Grassy Ridge is in that chain of high elevation grassy balds where you can access the AT. It has such a high concentration of rare species,” Pugliese said. “It has some beautiful native trout streams on it and it protects headwater streams flowing into Roaring Creek. It’s also stunningly beautiful.”

Putting people in land conservation

In addition to water quality, land conservation has a huge “people component,” Laggis said.

When Bob and Barbara Strickland moved from Florida to Western North Carolina in 1992, they were in heaven. The couple – Babs is now a corporate attorney and Bob a retired aerospace engineer – bought a 95-acre apple orchard in Polk County next door to a vast forest owned by International Paper Company.

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Landowners Babs and Bob Strickland, worked with the Pacolet Area Conservancy, to permanently preserve more than 1,520 acres in Polk County as the Walnut Creek Preserve, in honor of their deceased daughter. (Photo: Couresy of Bob and Babs Strickland)

This would be their mountain getaway from the hot, sticky flatlands.

But in 1997 tragedy struck and changed the trajectory of their lives. Their daughter, Anne Elizabeth Suratt, a pilot, was killed in a plane crash at the age of 22.

“She was in her fourth year of college at the University of Illinois. She had been wanting to be an astronaut and had been going into schools and teaching kids about looking at the Earth from space. She loved hiking and being outdoors. We were trying to find a way to honor her,” Babs Strickland said.

The Stricklands made a “huge decision” in 2005 to buy 2,000 acres from International Paper, and by 2013 had completed the transactions, placing 1,521 acres under conservation easement with the help of the Pacolet Area Conservancy, a Polk County land trust formed in 1989.

The Stricklands created a working educational forest as a memorial to their daughter, calling it Walnut Creek Preserve. Babs Strickland said the land is worth “in the millions,” and could have been worth more if sold to a developer.

“We did it to honor Anne. We weren’t doing it to make money,” Babs Strickland said. “She was a person of high integrity, who worked hard and was not driven by having the latest fashion. But she loved nature. She would be pleased.”

The conservation easements protect more than two miles of Walnut Creek, a tributary to the Green River, and more than 30 tributaries to the creek, many of which originate on the property.

The riparian areas are protected by a maturing mixed hardwood forest. The property also protects many species of native plants, including habitat for rare species, and animals, of which several are listed as priority species by the N.C. State Wildlife Action Plan.

“They bought the whole property with the intention of managing this preserve as an educational forest. It was a way of putting all their energy into something fantastic in their daughter’s memory,” said Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection for Tryon-based Pacolet Area Conservancy.

“It is our largest project with a conservation easement. They built a nature center and trails for walking and horseback riding, but there can be no residential development,” Torlina said. “They reserved the right to put in ponds for fire safety … they can do forest management.”

Once a month, the Tryon conservancy holds nature programs or hikes at Walnut Creek Preserve, open to the public at no charge.

The Walnut Creek project is one of 280 new Blue Ridge Forever conservation projects in the past five years.

Laggis said the funding for land conservation has always been a challenge for all of the land trusts. The groups rely heavily on donations from private landowners and public funding such as that from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and N.C. Clean Water Management.

“I feel like in the past five years, public funding has become even more challenging. The Blue Ridge Forever Coalition, we share our expertise and knowledge in any way we can so we’re all working together to achieve a common goal,” Laggis said. “I feel lucky to be a part of that and I feel it’s rare across the country to have such cooperation among land trusts.

“Once or twice a year we all get together to share whatever issues are relevant to the whole group. I think it’s a great model.”

Examples of major Blue Ridge Forever land conservation highlights between 2011-2015:

Blue Ridge Conservancy, Boone.
•    2,900 acres in the Pond Mountain Game Land of Ashe County. The ongoing project was completed late last year with 340 acres. Funds came from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the federal Land and Water Conservation fund, with matching grants. Pond Mountain, which sits at 5,000 feet elevation and overlooks the mountains of Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, is managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. It is open for public recreation including hiking, trout fishing, hunting, and horseback riding.
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Hendersonville:
•    268 acres in the Hickory Nut Gorge Teaching and Research Reserve in Bat Cave. Largely undisturbed land bisected by N.C. Highway 9, and including the Rocky Broad River. Not open to the public, it is an area for education partners, such as local colleges, to conduct research. Completed in October 2015.
•    Nearly 4,700 acres in Headwaters State Forest in Transylvania County. The new state forest will ultimately protect watershed of the East Fork of the French Broad River. The latest land closing was 864 acres in December 2015.
Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Raleigh (works to protect land along the Blue Ridge Parkway):
•    The Orchard at Altapass: The orchard has been in continuous operation for more than 100 years. It sits on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Spruce Pine and hosts some 50,000 visitors each year, offering a trail network that includes a portion of the Overmountain Victory Trail from the Revolutionary War.
•    Humpback Mountain: The property hugs the Blue Ridge Parkway for almost four miles and contains more than three miles of unpolluted tributaries of the North Toe River and North Fork of the Catawba River. Managed as part of the Pisgah Game Land for hunting and other forms of public recreation.
•    Waterrock Knob: Over the past five years, the conservation trust has protected eight properties totaling 319 acres in the growing conservation area surrounding Waterrock Knob in Jackson County. All of the properties are visible from various points and overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as the popular visitor center at Waterrock Knob. Each will soon be conveyed to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Highlands:
•    63 acres on Brushyface in Macon County. The property contains an old growth hemlock forest, headwater streams, and will be the future site of public trails.
•    117 acres on Ridges of Cedar Knob. This easement was slated to be a development. Under an easement, the land trust protected what may be one of the finest examples of a Montane Red Cedar forest in WNC. The land is one of the most diverse sites in the region for our native lizards and snakes.
Mainspring (formerly Land Trust for the Little Tennessee), Franklin:
•    930 acres in the watershed of the Town of Andrews.
•    132 acres added to the Needmore Game Lands, Mainspring’s flagship project, in Macon and Swain Counties to improve public access and protect water quality.
Pacolet Area Conservancy, Tryon:
•    1,521 acres in Walnut Creek Preserve. The Pacolet Area Conservancy worked with landowners Bob and Babs Strickland to purchase the land in northern Polk County from International Paper Company.
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville:
•    2,273 acres in the Highlands of Roan, including the protection of the stunning 600-acre Grassy Ridge property, in 2012. All but 40 acres have been transferred to the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area.
•    492-acre Laurel Ridge property in the Black Mountains in 2011. It adjoins the Asheville Watershed, connected to a network of protected land in Black Mountains, and includes the Snowball Mountain Tract with a public hiking trail running along the boundary that is accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway and open to the public.
•    960 acres in the Fairview farming community, including seven productive farms through voluntary conservation easements. In the rural Sandy Mush community, many critical tracts were conserved, including historic family farms. Complete in summer 2015.

About Blue Ridge Forever:
Blue Ridge Forever is a collective campaign of 10 land conservation organizations to engage the public and raise money to safeguard land and water in the Southern Blue Ridge. Members include: Blue Ridge Conservancy, Carolina Mountain land Conservancy, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Mainspring Conservation Trust, New River Conservancy, Pacolet Area Conservancy, River Link, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

For more, visit www.blueridgeforever.info/.

by Karen Chavez

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CTNC, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Blue Ridge Forever and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation worked to preserve Humpback Mountain, which hugs the Blue Ridge Parkway for almost four miles. (Photo: Courtesy of CTNC)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/11/16 (page 3)

TDB article


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/11/16 (page 14)

TDB article


PAC’s second hike of series to go to Pleasant Ridge Park

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/11/16 (page 18)

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, March 18, for a 5.4-mile, moderate hike at Pleasant Ridge Park.  PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the loop hike.

Located off of Scenic Highway 11 in Greenville County, South Carolina, this 240 acre park is has been a recreational hotspot since its development in the 1940’s.  The S.C. Commission of Forestry and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism created the park to promote tourism in the Upstate.  As a testament to the time, the park was originally established by the state of S.C. for the African American community while the neighboring Paris Mountain State Park was built for the white community.  Finally, in the 1960’s, both parks were integrated.  In 1985, the State decided that other parks, like Jones Gap State Park, within 30-miles of Pleasant Ridge State Park were capturing most of the tourism traffic and offered Pleasant Ridge to Greenville County Recreation District.  Consequently, the park is now operated by the County, not the State.

On the March 18th hike, participants will traverse the “JFA” trail; a trail dedicated to Jorge Francisco Arango, a generous outdoorsman.  This trail is fairly new.  It opened in May 2014 as a multi-use directional trail loop system that is enjoyed by hikers and mountain bikers.  The JFA trail loops around the perimeter of the 240 acre park, winding through the forest, over several streams, and past an old still, grist mill, and home site.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Pleasant Ridge Park, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately twenty minute drive to Pleasant Ridge Park.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on April 1st at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve in S.C.

P1120903The group of PAC hikers at the March 4 hike at Camp Old Indian included Dan Easley, April Field, Lois Torlina, Don Dicey, Liz Dicey, Pat Strother, Jade Blakey, Linda Greensfelder, Edith Cahoon, Mary Savard, Margaret Burke, Ann Bridges, Juanita Bruce, Stephen King, Tammy Coleman, Bill Coleman, Barb Ketcham, Sandra Fuetz, Chuck Fuetz, Linda Katte, Roger Dehnel, Mary Jo Kellogg, Vince Castello, Edith Castello, and Bill Blaesing. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/10/16

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The Trickle Down Effect

Polk County News Journal, 3/9/16

In the past five years, WNC’s 10 land trusts completed 280 projects protecting more than 31,000 acres, surpassing their 30,000-acre, five-year goal.

“That’s nearly half the size of Rhode Island!” says Jess Laggis, Director of their collaborative campaign, known as Blue Ridge Forever.

The drop of water that falls from a faucet has made a long journey to reach that point.  In fact, its journey is endless, but for simplicity, the cycle starts from rain.  When rain falls on land it seeps into the groundwater and flows into creeks and streams to rivers and eventually, the ocean.  Somewhere along the way, this drop was held in a well or reservoir, piped to the faucet, and will resume its journey afterwards.  But upstream of the source, it was flowing in the soil and over land.

Land use around water sources can benefit or damage water quality.  Stable, vegetation filled stream banks shade and filter water, keeping it cool and clean.  Streams with banks stripped of vegetation, trampled by livestock, or otherwise polluted yield hot, contaminated, and unhealthy water.

Enter not for profit organizations called land trusts.  Land trusts protect land and water for present and future generations, forever.  When a land trust protects property near a stream or river, the effects trickle downstream to people in the form of clean water from the faucet.

When 1 inch of rain falls on 1 square foot of surface, the total amount of water is 1 gallon.  So the 30,000 acres WNC’s land trusts aimed to protect harvest 814,620,000 gallons of water in every inch of rainfall.  The median rainfall for WNC is 64.5 inches a year.   Which means that our land trusts protected the source of roughly 53 billion gallons of clean water per year, from now until forever.

But this story isn’t over.  As long as water keeps flowing to the sea, land trusts will be working hard to protect the places and resources we all love and need.  Without clean water, we’re all up the creek.

If you’d like to join the effort, learn more, or just take a hike to explore protected lands, find your local land trust, the Pacolet Area Conservancy, at www.pacolet.org.  Land Trusts, like the Pacolet Area Conservancy, need your support to continue serving fresh water to WNC.  Visit the website, call 828-859-5060, drop by at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, or email landprotection@pacolet.org to find out how you can support and become involved with your local land trust.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a proud member of Blue Ridge Forever (BRF), a collective campaign led by 10 land conservation organizations serving western North Carolina.  The BRF coalition aims to engage the public and raise financial resources to safeguard land and water in the Southern Blue Ridge for present and future generations.  Its members include Blue Ridge Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Mainspring Conservation Trust, New River Conservancy, Pacolet Area Conservancy, River Link, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Want to learn more about water?  Check out the Forest Service’s Forest to Faucets Project at www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/FS_Efforts/forests2faucets.shtml

Want to learn more about Blue Ridge Forever? Visit www.BlueRidgeForever.info.

submitted by Pam Torlina/Jess Laggis


 

The Trickle Down Effect

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/9/16

In the past five years, WNC’s 10 land trusts completed 280 projects protecting more than 31,000 acres, surpassing their 30,000-acre, five-year goal.

“That’s nearly half the size of Rhode Island!” says Jess Laggis, Director of their collaborative campaign, known as Blue Ridge Forever.

The drop of water that falls from a faucet has made a long journey to reach that point.  In fact, its journey is endless, but for simplicity, the cycle starts from rain.  When rain falls on land it seeps into the groundwater and flows into creeks and streams to rivers and eventually, the ocean.  Somewhere along the way, this drop was held in a well or reservoir, piped to the faucet, and will resume its journey afterwards.  But upstream of the source, it was flowing in the soil and over land.

Land use around water sources can benefit or damage water quality.  Stable, vegetation filled stream banks shade and filter water, keeping it cool and clean.  Streams with banks stripped of vegetation, trampled by livestock, or otherwise polluted yield hot, contaminated, and unhealthy water.

Enter not for profit organizations called land trusts.  Land trusts protect land and water for present and future generations, forever.  When a land trust protects property near a stream or river, the effects trickle downstream to people in the form of clean water from the faucet.

When 1 inch of rain falls on 1 square foot of surface, the total amount of water is 1 gallon.  So the 30,000 acres WNC’s land trusts aimed to protect harvest 814,620,000 gallons of water in every inch of rainfall.  The median rainfall for WNC is 64.5 inches a year.   Which means that our land trusts protected the source of roughly 53 billion gallons of clean water per year, from now until forever.

But this story isn’t over.  As long as water keeps flowing to the sea, land trusts will be working hard to protect the places and resources we all love and need.  Without clean water, we’re all up the creek.

If you’d like to join the effort, learn more, or just take a hike to explore protected lands, find your local land trust, the Pacolet Area Conservancy, at www.pacolet.org.  Land Trusts, like the Pacolet Area Conservancy, need your support to continue serving fresh water to WNC.  Visit the website, call 828-859-5060, drop by at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, or email landprotection@pacolet.org to find out how you can support and become involved with your local land trust.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a proud member of Blue Ridge Forever (BRF), a collective campaign led by 10 land conservation organizations serving western North Carolina.  The BRF coalition aims to engage the public and raise financial resources to safeguard land and water in the Southern Blue Ridge for present and future generations.  Its members include Blue Ridge Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Mainspring Conservation Trust, New River Conservancy, Pacolet Area Conservancy, River Link, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Want to learn more about water?  Check out the Forest Service’s Forest to Faucets Project at www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/FS_Efforts/forests2faucets.shtml

Want to learn more about Blue Ridge Forever? Visit www.BlueRidgeForever.info.

submitted by Pam Torlina/Jess Laggis

Blue-wall-225x300Blue Wall Preserve (photo by Wally Hughes)


NC Land Conservation Offers Protection From Another “Flint”

The Public News Service, 3/7/16

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Flint, Michigan is hundreds of miles away from North Carolina, but images of brown water coming from kitchen taps and tales of illness in children and adults are prompting talk about water quality in this state.

Fortunately, high-quality water is in plentiful supply in North Carolina, particularly in areas west where land conservation groups have protected 31,000 acres in the last five years and the water that flows on the land and through it, according to Jessica Laggis, director with Blue Ridge Forever.

“One of the major goals of land conservation is protecting clean water for everyone,” says Laggis. “As we’ve seen in Flint, when you don’t have clean drinking water it’s completely disruptive to life, it’s one of our basic needs as humans.”

Laggis says one inch of rain equates to a gallon of water per square foot of land.

Considering that, Blue Ridge Forever estimates land trusts in western North Carolina protect approximately 53 billion gallons of clean water a year.

Because land trusts offer protection from development for perpetuity, that benefit is seen every year by the thousands of people who drink and use the water for daily living.

Laggis says the protected land and consequent water protection impact people from the Atlantic to the Gulf Coast.

“Being at the top of these mountains, we are such a major headwaters, because we’re on the Continental Divide, the water flows both ways,” says Laggis. “We’re not only protecting the water here for local North Carolinians but that’s feeding out exponentially downstream.”

Over the last five years, the 10 land trusts in western North Carolina have completed more than 280 land conservation projects. According to the Environmental Protection Association’s most recent data in 2014, less than one-percent of the state’s water supply is designated as impaired.

grview-50707-1Land conservation groups in western North Carolina are protecting water resources by securing land from potential development. (David Ellis/flickr.com)

Click here to listen to the interview

PAC is a proud member of Blue Ridge Forever.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/2/16

PAC ad


Tryon Daily Bulletin

Almanac, March 2016

Almanac


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 3/2/16

By David Campbell

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” American Snowbell (Styrax americanus), a beautiful flowering shrub.

American Snowbell is a deciduous shrub that ranges from 1-3 meters in height.  It prefers to grow in swampy or streamside locations that may experience occasional to frequent flooding.  Flowering in our region typically occurs in April and May.  The twigs of American Snowbell often appear cracked and in a zigzag pattern.  The buds are located above the leaf scar and appear scurfy or scaly.  Leaves are alternate and typically narrowly elliptic (oval) to ovate (egg shaped) or obovate (egg-shaped with the narrower end at the base) and are usually 2-8 cm long.  The leaf margins, or edge, may be wavy or toothed.  The flowers are bell-shaped, white and have five 1/2″ long, recurved lobes (petals).

The casual observer may confuse this species with the more abundant Bigleaf Snowbell (Styrax grandifolius) or Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina); however, these species differ in size, leaf shape, flowers, and habitat.

American Snowbell is a species more typical of the Coastal Plain.  Its occurrence in Polk County is another example of a disjunct species that our region is well-known for among botanists.  American Snowbell has been reported from the White Oak Creek area, where it occurs in association with other interesting species of coastal affiliation, such as Climbing Hydrangea (Decumaria barbara).

American Snowbell is easy to spot when it is in flower.  In the weeks ahead, look for it in low woods and bottomlands, particularly in the eastern portions of Polk County.  If you are fortunate enough to locate this species, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

jkm130430_812

American Snowbell (Styrax americanus) (photo by JK Marlow; namethatplant.net)


GO TAKE A HIKE!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/16 (cover)

P1090244s_fThe Pacolet Area Conservancy is sponsoring a series of hikes this spring that ranges from easy to strenusous and covers some of the most beautiful scenery in our Foothills area.  Starting March 4, and recurring every two weeks, PAC will lead hikes to Camp Old Indian, Pleasant Ridge Park, Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, Oconee Station State Historic Site, Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and Pisgah National Forest. For more information on the five-mile hike to Camp Old Indian on March 4, turn to page 11.  For details on the entire series, visit pacolet.org. (Photo submitted by Pam Torlina)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/16 (page 3)

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Celebrate Earth Day with annual PACRun, PACWalk

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/16 (page 7)

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Participants in the 5K PACRun trail run at Tryon Estates.       Supporters of PAC in the PACWalk for Preservation (by C. Bartol)

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will hold its 11th annual PACWalk and 5th annual 5K PACRun for Conservation on Saturday, April 23, at Tryon Estates in Columbus.

Since May of 2005, the PACWalk has become a springtime tradition for many who enjoy spending a couple of hours outdoors with friends and family in support of conservation, and the more recently added 5K PACRun, a trail run, has allowed runners to support the land trust while enjoying a race through the beautiful, wooded trails on the property.  Celebrate Earth Day by supporting your local land conservancy!

PACWalk can be enjoyed by folks of all ages.  To date, the oldest participant was 100 years old and the youngest was just a few months old, spanning a century!  Walkers can choose the paved path around the lake, a distance of ¾ mile.  This option is called the Sam White Stroll, named for one of the founders of the Pacolet Area Conservancy and a former resident of Tryon Estates.

Another choice is a lovely, 2 mile trail along the lake and through the woods.  If neither of those appeals, one can choose the Phantom Walk and be part of the event from anywhere!

Check-in for PACWalk is from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., followed by the walk of your choice at 10:00 a.m.  This is a pet friendly event, but pets must be on leashes.

PACRun, a 5K trail run, is a timed race on carefully chosen and marked trails that traverse the property.  Medals will be awarded for first place in the categories of: (1) overall 12 and under, male and female, (2) overall male and female, (3) 13-19 male and female, (4) 20-29 male and female, (5) 30-49 male and female, and (6) over 50 male and female.

Ribbons through third place will be awarded for each of the above categories.  Check-in begins at 7:15 a.m. for PACRun, and the race starts at 8:00 a.m. with snacks and awards following the run.

After the walk and awards ceremony, at approximately 11:30 a.m., walkers and runners are invited to a free lunch in the Tryon Estates Carolina Room.  Walkers and runners who are registered by April 8 are guaranteed a t-shirt, and later registrants will receive shirts as supplies last.  In addition to awards, swag bags will be provided for runners and door prizes for walkers.

Runners may register online at strictlyrunning.com, or, both runners and walkers can visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, to download registration forms for either the race or the walk.  Forms are also available at the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon.

For more information please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060, visit the website, or visit the office.  There is a registration fee for each event.  After April 8 there will be a late registration fee for PACRun only.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


Join PAC on hike to Camp Old Indian March 4th

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/16 (page 11)

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, March 4, for an approximately 5-mile, moderate, hike at Camp Old Indian.  PAC Board member, Liz Dicey will lead the hike accompanied by Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina.

Camp Old Indian is 1,100 acres owned by Boy Scouts of America and operated by the Blue Ridge Counsel.  Technically, it is located in Travelers Rest, SC, but is situated just north of Hwy 11, near Glassy Mountain.  The camp is used by Boy Scouts year round, but there are miles of hiking trails that are open to the public.

Join PAC for a hike along the Camp’s East Perimeter Trail, passing a couple of lakes on the property, SC’s 3rd largest Yellow Poplar, and a waterfall.  Then the group will head up the Old Indian Trail to the peak of Old Indian Mountain (2,200’) before heading back to the trailhead.  Before full leaf out, the trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

After the hike, participants are invited to visit Poinsett Bridge Natural Heritage Area to view the oldest bridge in South Carolina.  Poinsett Bridge was built in 1820 and named after Joel Poinsett, an early resident of Greenville, S.C. and a U.S. ambassador to Mexico.  The bridge was part of the State Road that connected Charleston with the North Carolina Mountains.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Camp Old Indian, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Spinx gas station in Gowensville (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately fifteen minute drive to Camp Old Indian.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike takes place on March 18th at Pleasant Ridge Park in South Carolina.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


 PAC Kicks off its Spring Hiking Series March 4th

Polk County News Journal and The News Leader, 2/24/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for six Friday hikes offered to the public, free of charge, this spring.

The community is invited to enjoy the beauty of our Carolinas with PAC.  Come see what the work of many conservation organizations have done for the preservation of area natural resources and take in the beauty of the arrival of spring!

Starting March 4, PAC’s first trek will head to Camp Old Indian for an approximately 5-mile, moderate hike in the shape of a lollipop.  The trail will lead hikers through the woods past SC’s third largest Yellow Poplar, a waterfall, and to the top of Old Indian Mountain (elev. 2,200′).

On March 18, the hike will take place at Pleasant Ridge Park.  On this moderate, loop hike participants will travel 5.4-miles through the forest and around the perimeter of the park property, traversing several streams and passing and old still, grist mill, and home site.

On April 1, the group will head to Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve for a 3.8-mile, moderate, out and back hike to Eastatoe Creek for a view of “The Narrows,” an area along the creek where the water plunges through a series of narrow channels and creates a beautiful waterfall.

On April 15, hikers head to Oconee Station State Historic Site for an easy 2.5-mile, lollipop hike around the pond at the site of an old “blockhouse” built in 1792.  Then, the group will wander into Sumter National Forest to Station Cove Falls, a 60′ stepped waterfall.  Though this is a short hike, the journey is really intended to enjoy the wonderful array of spring wildflowers that should be spectacular on this date.

On April 29, the group heads to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area for a 6-mile, easy/moderate, out and back hike.  The trail follows an old CCC road along Oil Camp Creek in a seldom visited portion of the park.  There are several waterfalls and streams that flow into the creek and they can be seen while hiking on the trail.  Before full leaf out, this hike also offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Finally, on May 6, hikers will head to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery to pick up the Cat Gap Trail for a 4.7-mile, out and back trek.  The trail follows Cedar Rock Creek through the beautiful mixed hardwood forest of Pisgah National Forest.  Along the way, there will be a visit to the 20′ Cedar Creek Falls.  After leaving the falls, the group will travel through Picklesimer Fields to reach the 15-20′ Grogan Falls before returning.

If you are interested in attending the PAC spring hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge!”  Complete all six of the hikes this spring and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment!

submitted by Pam Torlina

hikersEnjoying a sprig hike


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/18/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” American Snowbell (Styrax americanus), a beautiful flowering shrub.

American Snowbell is a deciduous shrub that ranges from 1-3 meters in height.  It prefers to grow in swampy or streamside locations that may experience occasional to frequent flooding.  Flowering in our region typically occurs in April and May.  The twigs of American Snowbell often appear cracked and in a zigzag pattern.  The buds are located above the leaf scar and appear scurfy or scaly.  Leaves are alternate and typically narrowly elliptic (oval) to ovate (egg shaped) or obovate (egg-shaped with the narrower end at the base) and are usually 2-8 cm long.  The leaf margins, or edge, may be wavy or toothed.  The flowers are bell-shaped, white and have five 1/2″ long, recurved lobes (petals).

The casual observer may confuse this species with the more abundant Bigleaf Snowbell (Styrax grandifolius) or Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina); however, these species differ in size, leaf shape, flowers, and habitat.

American Snowbell is a species more typical of the Coastal Plain.  Its occurrence in Polk County is another example of a disjunct species that our region is well-known for among botanists.  American Snowbell has been reported from the White Oak Creek area, where it occurs in association with other interesting species of coastal affiliation, such as Climbing Hydrangea (Decumaria barbara).

American Snowbell is easy to spot when it is in flower.  In the weeks ahead, look for it in low woods and bottomlands, particularly in the eastern portions of Polk County.  If you are fortunate enough to locate this species, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

Submitted by Pam Torlina and David Campbell

jkm130430_812American Snowbell (Styrax americanus) (photo by JK Marlow; namethatplant.net)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/18/16

WCP ad-Feb_1


Great News for Conservation in 2016!

Polk County News Journal, 2/18/16

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) is continuing to offer grants of up to $25,000 to help NC landowners protect their land and waterways with a voluntary conservation easement in 2016.

Land conservation provides positive benefits to all area families, every single day, and these benefits don’t last for a day, a month, or even a year.  They last forever.

Conserving natural lands provides numerous public benefits, such as safe drinking water, clean air, fresh and local foods, parks and trails for outdoor exercise, scenic views that boost the tourism economy, and extensive habitat for wildlife.

Perhaps the most important benefit of all is the satisfaction and peace of mind from knowing that you’ve conserved the land you love, guaranteeing that it will be as beautiful in the future as it is today.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), your local land trust, welcomes the opportunity to discuss land conservation options with area landowners and is happy to answer any questions about land conservation and CTNC grants.

As an introduction, a conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as PAC), or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property.  Conservation values might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, scenic or cultural lands, etc.  Landowners continue to own and use their property, and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

Grants available through CTNC provide a wonderful opportunity for landowners to protect their land and waterways.  These grants help landowners by covering the costs associated with placing a conservation easement on their property.  The grant will cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title opinion and title insurance, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation report, project administration cost, appraisals, and legal fees.  Landowners that protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement may also qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

The Federal Tax Incentives, which Congress made permanent in December 2015, include:

  • Landowners can claim a deduction of up to 50% of their adjusted gross income in any year;
  • Qualifying farmers and ranchers can deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income in any year; and
  • Landowners can take those deductions the year of the gift and carry them forward for up to 15 years (or until the value of the deduction is exhausted).

For example, a landowner who donates a permanent conservation easement valued at $1 million and who has an annual adjusted gross income of $100,000 may deduct 50% of $100,000 ($50,000) in each of years 1-15 for a total of $750,000 in deductions. The remaining $250,000 may not be carried over or used after year 15.

Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and/or waterways with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the PAC, the local land trust that will apply for grants on behalf of the landowner.

To learn more about conservation easements and the possibility of qualifying for this grant in 2016, please contact the PAC at 828-859-5060 or landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.

To date, PAC has helped protect nearly 8,700 acres of land.  PAC holds 64 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be preserved forever.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

IMG_3278


PAC/WCP Program, “Trilliums of the Carolinas,” Feb. 20

Polk County News Journal, 2/17/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Trilliums of the Carolinas” presented by naturalist, Tim Lee.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, February 20, at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Lee will discuss the natural history and taxonomy of the trillium as well as tips for identifying the trilliums growing in the region.  Trilliums are known and admired by many for their delicate beauty and their brief bloom time; however, the genus is also characterized by its unique growth patterns, mechanism of pollination, and mode of seed dispersal.  Trillium may take as long as seven years to develop from seed to blossom and then they can bloom for more than 75 years!

Tim Lee has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 20 years.  For the past 16 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on March 26th when naturalist Doug Elliott will be presenting “Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

4-6-08_68


PAC Kicks off its Spring Hiking Series March 4th

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/16/16

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for six Friday hikes offered to the public, free of charge, this spring.

The community is invited to enjoy the beauty of our Carolinas with PAC.  Come see what the work of many conservation organizations have done for the preservation of area natural resources and take in the beauty of the arrival of spring!

Starting March 4, PAC’s first trek will head to Camp Old Indian for an approximately 5-mile, moderate hike in the shape of a lollipop.  The trail will lead hikers through the woods past SC’s third largest Yellow Poplar, a waterfall, and to the top of Old Indian Mountain (elev. 2,200′).

On March 18, the hike will take place at Pleasant Ridge Park.  On this moderate, loop hike participants will travel 5.4-miles through the forest and around the perimeter of the park property, traversing several streams and passing and old still, grist mill, and home site.

On April 1, the group will head to Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve for a 3.8-mile, moderate, out and back hike to Eastatoe Creek for a view of “The Narrows,” an area along the creek where the water plunges through a series of narrow channels and creates a beautiful waterfall.

On April 15, hikers head to Oconee Station State Historic Site for an easy 2.5-mile, lollipop hike around the pond at the site of an old “blockhouse” built in 1792.  Then, the group will wander into Sumter National Forest to Station Cove Falls, a 60′ stepped waterfall.  Though this is a short hike, the journey is really intended to enjoy the wonderful array of spring wildflowers that should be spectacular on this date.

On April 29, the group heads to the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area for a 6-mile, easy/moderate, out and back hike.  The trail follows an old CCC road along Oil Camp Creek in a seldom visited portion of the park.  There are several waterfalls and streams that flow into the creek and they can be seen while hiking on the trail.  Before full leaf out, this hike also offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Finally, on May 6, hikers will head to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and Fish Hatchery to pick up the Cat Gap Trail for a 4.7-mile, out and back trek.  The trail follows Cedar Rock Creek through the beautiful mixed hardwood forest of Pisgah National Forest.  Along the way, there will be a visit to the 20′ Cedar Creek Falls.  After leaving the falls, the group will travel through Picklesimer Fields to reach the 15-20′ Grogan Falls before returning.

If you are interested in attending the PAC spring hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge!”  Complete all six of the hikes this spring and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment.

submitted by Pam Torlina

hikersEnjoying a sprig hike


PAC/WCP Program, “Trilliums of the Carolinas,” Feb. 20

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/11/16   

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Trilliums of the Carolinas” presented by naturalist, Tim Lee.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, February 20, at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Lee will discuss the natural history and taxonomy of the trillium as well as tips for identifying the trilliums growing in the region.  Trilliums are known and admired by many for their delicate beauty and their brief bloom time; however, the genus is also characterized by its unique growth patterns, mechanism of pollination, and mode of seed dispersal.  Trillium may take as long as seven years to develop from seed to blossom and then they can bloom for more than 75 years!

Tim Lee has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 20 years.  For the past 16 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on March 26th when naturalist Doug Elliott will be presenting “Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World.”

Tr-Ken WeitzenSweet White Trillium (Trillium simile) (photo by Ken Weitzen)


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/11/16

PAC ad 2-11-16


Vistas of NC: Who Owns the View?

The Public News Service, 2/11/16

 

TRYON, N.C. – On an average morning thousands of North Carolinians wake up to the sight of a dusting of snow on area mountaintops.

And while individuals can own much of the land, the state’s 25 land conservancies are working to protect the views for everyone to enjoy.

They’re guided by the principle advocated by Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote “None of us owns the landscape,” in his essay “Nature.”
Pam Torlina, director of stewardship and land protection with the Pacolet Area Conservancy, says everyone owns the view.

“They do belong to us,” she says. “Such a big part of our sensory experience is visual and so by protecting these places, it protects the signature of our rural communities.”

Land conservancies in North Carolina have protected tens of thousands of acres of land with the help of public and private funding.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is actively working to preserve land in Polk County that previously had been considered for land development that would have changed the landscape.

Late last month, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina purchased 75 acres in Alleghany and Surry counties to protect views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Peter Barr, trails and outreach coordinator with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, says it’s often the views that tie people’s emotions to the region.

“It’s something that you can look at from any mountain top or any overlook and you essentially feel that attachment to this region,” he says. “And you feel that sense of ownership and belonging of what you love most.”

Torlina says the scenic vistas that bring visitors to the state and bring joy to residents are taken for granted, until they disappear.

“They are so important to the peace and tranquility that we always find in place, when it’s taken away, it ruins it for us,” she says. “Sadly a lot of times the developers move so much quicker than land trusts can.”

Torlina adds that in addition to protecting the views by conserving land, land trusts such as hers protect water resources and native plants and wildlife.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service – NC

grview-50307-1North Carolina’s views are often protected by the efforts of area land trusts who work to secure land and protect it from development. (Doug Kerr/Flickr.com)

Click here to see the story online and/or to hear the interview.


Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/5/16

PACWalk-Run ad


Great News for Conservation in 2016!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/4/16

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) is continuing to offer grants of up to $25,000 to help NC landowners protect their land and waterways with a voluntary conservation easement in 2016.  Land conservation provides positive benefits to all area families, every single day, and these benefits don’t last for a day, a month, or even a year. They last forever.

Conserving natural lands provides numerous public benefits, such as safe drinking water, clean air, fresh and local foods, parks and trails for outdoor exercise, scenic views that boost the tourism economy, and extensive habitat for wildlife.  Perhaps the most important benefit of all is the satisfaction and peace of mind from knowing that you’ve conserved the land you love, guaranteeing that it will be as beautiful in the future as it is today.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), your local land trust, welcomes the opportunity to discuss land conservation options with area landowners and is happy to answer any questions about land conservation and CTNC grants.  As an introduction, a conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as PAC), or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property.  Conservation values might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, scenic or cultural lands, etc.  Landowners continue to own and use their property, and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

Grants available through CTNC provide a wonderful opportunity for landowners to protect their land and waterways.  These grants help landowners by covering the costs associated with placing a conservation easement on their property.  The grant will cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title opinion and title insurance, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation report, project administration cost, appraisals, and legal fees.  Landowners that protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement may also qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

The Federal Tax Incentives, which Congress made permanent in December 2015, include: landowners can claim a deduction of up to 50% of their adjusted gross income in any year; qualifying farmers and ranchers can deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income in any year; and landowners can take those deductions the year of the gift and carry them forward for up to 15 years (or until the value of the deduction is exhausted).

For example, a landowner who donates a permanent conservation easement valued at $1 million and who has an annual adjusted gross income of $100,000 may deduct 50% of $100,000 ($50,000) in each of years 1-15 for a total of $750,000 in deductions. The remaining $250,000 may not be carried over or used after year 15.

Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and/or waterways with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the PAC, the local land trust that will apply for grants on behalf of the landowner.   To learn more about conservation easements and the possibility of qualifying for this grant in 2016, please contact the PAC at 828-859-5060 or landprotection@pacolet.org.   PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.

To date, PAC has helped protect nearly 8,700 acres of land.  PAC holds 64 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be preserved forever.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust founded in 1989 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 (our mission).

PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.


Will he see his shadow or won’t he?

Doug Elliott presents myth, folklore surrounding the infamous whistlepig

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/31/16

Well-known naturalist, herbalist, harmonica player, author, artist and storyteller, Doug Elliott not only studies the natural world, he celebrates it and draws others into that celebration.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, Elliott will present “Groundhogology: Of Whistlepigs and World Politics,” at the Landrum Library, 111 East Asbury Drive at 6 p.m. Elliott’s program represents a pairing of Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Landrum Library, with a grant from Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF).

Those who attend Elliott’s “Groundhogology” program will hear how groundhogs have been a source of food, clothing, medicine and music for generations of Appalachian folks. They’ll learn the mystical aspects of groundhogs and how they are woven into Native American and European mythology. Elliott will explain the real story of Groundhog Day, including its connection to length of daylight and change of our modern seasons. Elliott will also explain the shadow aspect of the Groundhog Day legend.

Elliott notes, “It turns out that Feb. 2 is a big day. It’s a cross-quarter day marking the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.”

PAC’s invitation for the program notes, “This program is flavored with traditional songs, regional dialects, lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs…and wood chuckles. This program is best for adults, and children who listen like adults. Families are welcome too.”

Elliott moved to a very rural part of Rutherford County from what he described as a somewhat rural tidewater area in Maryland.

Why did he take up residence in Western North Carolina some 30 years ago?

“Biodiversity and cultural integrity,” he answered.

Regarding the biodiversity of this part of western North Carolina, Elliott explained, “We’re about 40 miles from cotton fields, like you might find in Mississippi, and 40 miles from spruce-fir forests like you might find in New England. That’s biodiversity. Modern civilization reached this area a little later than most other areas of the country. So many people here have deep connection with the natural environment, and connecting with the natural environment is one of my main interests.”

In fact, Elliott, whose small farm produces much of what he needs, does not need to venture to town as often as do many of us.

“In the old days in the back country,” he reminds folks, “nobody went to town very often, as most small-time farmers produced much of what they required. In addition, many of them had to barter what little surplus they might have, and further, roads 200 years ago were often worse than bad.”

Regarding how and why Elliott settled where he has, and why he feels at home, he said that he found himself spending more time in the Southern Appalachians, even being mentored by an old-time mountain man.

Hanging on a wall inside Elliott’s cabin is an unusual banjo. Not coincidentally, the head is made from groundhog skin.

Elliott has performed at festivals, museums and schools from Canada to the Caribbean.  He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn., and has conducted workshops and programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution. He has trained rangers for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from Maine to the Florida Everglades. He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C.

Elliott received a college degree in art, which he says enabled him to illustrate books and encouraged his interest in the natural world.

Books authored and illustrated by Elliott that he will have available for purchase include: Swarm Tree: Of Honeybees, Honeymoons, and the Tree of Life; Wildwoods Wisdom, Encounters with the Natural World; Woodslore: Stories, Lore, and Truth Stranger Than Fiction About the Natural World; Wild Roots: A Forager’s Guide to the Wild Edible and Medicinal Roots, Tubers, Corms & Rhizomes; Crawdads, Doodlebugs and Creasy Greens, Songs, Stories, and Lore Celebrating the Natural World. Look for these and Elliott’s DVDs and CDs, and his hand-made bark baskets at dougelliott.com.

By Mark Schmerling

FEATURE-COVER-DougElliot


Add in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/31/16

1-31-16 add


Add in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/30/161-30-16 add


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Tawny Cottongrass

The News Leader & Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 1/27/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum).

Technically, Cottongrasses are not grasses at all; species of Cottongrass actually belong to the Sedge Family. Sedges are superficially similar to grasses, but differ from true grasses in a number of aspects, particularly the fruits. Cottongrass is so-named due to the resemblance of the mature fruiting inflorescence (the complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) to a ‘ball’ of cotton, making it readily visible to observers, even from a distance. Although the leaf blades are very thin, Tawny Cottongrass can reach over two feet in height.

In the western part of our state, Tawny Cottongrass is scattered and rare in the southern Appalachians. It is found in isolated and widely dispersed mountain bogs and fens (low land that is covered wholly or partly with water). Due to its preference to open locations in peaty soils, Cottongrass can produce a remarkable and highly visible display when fruiting in large numbers. As the cottony ‘tufts’ are often retained throughout the winter; therefore, now is a good time to search for this unusual species in our region.

Tawny Cottongrass exists in bogs in the neighboring counties of Henderson and Burke, in North Carolina and in Greenville County in South Carolina. If this plant does occur in Polk County, it would likely be in the higher elevations in the western part of the county. Look for it in wet meadow-like situations (bogs or fens) that are sunny and not heavily treed.

If you think that you have seen Tawny Cottongrass in Polk County or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

By David Campbell

llg_cottongrass

A field of Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum) (by L.L. Gaddy)


 

PAC/Landrum Library Program, “GROUNDHOGOLOGY – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics,” Feb. 2, 6 p.m.

The News Leader & Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 1/27/16

Thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF), the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is partnering with the Landrum Library to host a series of free educational programs for adults, families, and children in 2016!

The first program will take place on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day!  Celebrate Groundhog Day with PAC, the Landrum Library, and naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, as he presents, “GROUNDHOGOLOGY – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics,” at the Landrum Library. 111 East Asbury Drive, Landrum, SC at 6:00 p.m.

It all starts in Elliott’s mountain-side cabin with a gift from an old groundhog hunter. From there we go on a rollicking and revealing journey, not only through the natural world, but also into folklore, history, mythology, philosophy, and into the lives of people of different cultures, past and present.  You’ll hear how groundhogs have been a source of food, clothing, medicine, and music for generations of Appalachian folks.  You’ll learn the mystical aspects of groundhogs – how they are woven into Native American and European mythology.  You will find out the real story of Groundhog Day.  You’ll get clues to the great riddle: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  You will learn how groundhogs can teach us about ourselves and even give us perspectives on society and world politics today!  This program is flavored with traditional songs, regional dialects, lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs…and wood chuckles.This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families welcome too.

Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, philosopher, and harmonica wizard.  He has performed at festivals, museums and schools from Canada to the Caribbean.  He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN and has conducted workshops and programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution. He has trained rangers for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from Down-east Maine to the Florida Everglades.  He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C.

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next Landrum Library program is scheduled for April 12th at 6 p.m. when mycologist, Todd Elliott will present.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

press-possum

Presenter and naturalist, Doug Elliott


PAC, Landrum Library present “GROUNDHOGOLOGY – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics,” Feb. 2

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/22/16

Thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF), the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is partnering with the Landrum Library to host a series of free educational programs for adults, families, and children in 2016.

The first program will take place on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, at 6:00 p.m. Celebrate Groundhog Day with PAC, the Landrum Library, and naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, as he presents, “GROUNDHOGOLOGY – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics.”

It all starts in Elliott’s mountain-side cabin with a gift from an old groundhog hunter. From there we go on a rollicking and revealing journey, not only through the natural world, but also into folklore, history, mythology, philosophy, and into the lives of people of different cultures, past and present.

You’ll hear how groundhogs have been a source of food, clothing, medicine, and music for generations of Appalachian folks.  You’ll learn the mystical aspects of groundhogs – how they are woven into Native American and European mythology.  You will find out the real story of Groundhog Day.  You’ll get clues to the great riddle: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  You will learn how groundhogs can teach us about ourselves and even give us perspectives on society and world politics today!

This program is flavored with traditional songs, regional dialects, lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs…and wood chuckles.This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults.  Families welcome too.

Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, philosopher, and harmonica wizard.  He has performed at festivals, museums and schools from Canada to the Caribbean.  He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN and has conducted workshops and programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution. He has trained rangers for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from Down-east Maine to the Florida Everglades.  He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C.

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Keep an eye on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library.  The next Landrum Library program is scheduled for April 12 at 6 p.m. when mycologist, Todd Elliott will present.  The Landrum Library is located at 111 East Asbury Drive.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

press-possumPresenter and naturalist, Doug Elliott


Native plants in the landscape subject of PAC presentation

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/21/16

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Native Plants in the Landscape: For Unparalleled Beauty and Ease of Care,” presented by Mary Holcombe, owner of Southern Heritage Nursery. The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 10:30 a.m.

The Southern Appalachian Mountains boast a staggering array of beautiful, native flowering plants, most of which are relatively easy to cultivate into the landscape. Join us for an informative presentation to learn about some of our favorite native perennials, shrubs, and trees, and discover ways to incorporate them into your own garden spaces.

Mary Holcombe has a background in organic farming, having managed several large organic operations in California and Oregon before moving to Washington to pursue an opportunity in forestry management.  It was there that she discovered how important native plants were to the health of a region’s ecosystem, as well as the damaging effects of overplanting non-native and invasive species. Growing native plants and teaching the community about natives is her passion, one she hopes to share with as many people as possible.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy. 108 East and turn left on Hwy. 9 toward Lake Lure. Follow Hwy. 9 North for five miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station). Go one mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go two tenths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road. Follow Aden Green for four tenths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve. Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit walnutcreekpreserve.com. Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

Version 2Mary Holcombe will present at Walnut Creek Preserve on Jan. 30 on using native plants in the landscape


Landrum Library Hosts Doug Elliott on Groundhog Day

The News Leader, 1/20/16

The Landrum Library, in conjunction with the Pacolet Area Conservancy, presents renowned naturalist and storyteller Doug Elliott’s rollicking and musical journey through the natural world and into folklore, history, mythology and philosophy on Tuesday Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.  Find out about the origins of Groundhog Day, where the groundhog fits into modern and Native American folklore and how much wood a woodchuck can really chuck!

Submitted by Anna Pilston


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/20/16

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum).

Technically, Cottongrasses are not grasses at all; species of Cottongrass actually belong to the Sedge Family. Sedges are superficially similar to grasses, but differ from true grasses in a number of aspects, particularly the fruits. Cottongrass is so-named due to the resemblance of the mature fruiting inflorescence (the complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers) to a ‘ball’ of cotton, making it readily visible to observers, even from a distance. Although the leaf blades are very thin, Tawny Cottongrass can reach over two feet in height.

In the western part of our state, Tawny Cottongrass is scattered and rare in the southern Appalachians. It is found in isolated and widely dispersed mountain bogs and fens (low land that is covered wholly or partly with water). Due to its preference to open locations in peaty soils, Cottongrass can produce a remarkable and highly visible display when fruiting in large numbers. As the cottony ‘tufts’ are often retained throughout the winter; therefore, now is a good time to search for this unusual species in our region.

Tawny Cottongrass exists in bogs in the neighboring counties of Henderson and Burke, in North Carolina and in Greenville County in South Carolina. If this plant does occur in Polk County, it would likely be in the higher elevations in the western part of the county. Look for it in wet meadow-like situations (bogs or fens) that are sunny and not heavily treed.

If you think that you have seen Tawny Cottongrass in Polk County or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

written by David Campbell; submitted by Pam Torlina

llg_cottongrass

A field of Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum) (by L.L. Gaddy)


 

How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?

Groundhog-ology (and Marmotabilia) of Whistle pigs and World Politics

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/14/16

The Landrum Library, in conjunction with the Pacolet Area Conservancy, presents renowned naturalist and storyteller Doug Elliott’s rollicking and musical journey through the natural world and into folklore, history, mythology and philosophy on Tuesday Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.  Find out about the origins of Groundhog Day, where the groundhog fits into modern and Native American folklore and how much wood a woodchuck can really chuck!

Submitted by Anna Pilston


PAC helps protect 100 acres in December

 Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate newspapers, 1/13/16

In 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) was able to help four area landowners realize their dream of protecting their land in perpetuity, through voluntary conservation easements.

Conservation easements were placed on two properties in Polk County and one in Rutherford County in North Carolina and one property in Spartanburg County and one in Greenville County in South Carolina, protecting nearly 100 acres in western North Carolina/Upstate South Carolina.

Each of these properties is unique, with its own character, habitat, and conservation values.

The protection of these lands ensures that at least 100 species of birds (one listed by the state of North Carolina as Special Concern and one as Significantly Rare), over 100 species of plants (one listed by the Federal Government and the state of North Carolina as Threatened), at least 11 species of reptiles, a minimum of 16 species of mammals, and at least 7 species of amphibians are ensured the appropriate habitat in permanency.

Habitat protected includes nearly 40 acres of greenspace (pasture, farmland (some considered “Prime Farmland” or “Farmland of Statewide Importance,”) hayfields, etc.), approximately 60 acres of maturing native forest, a 4 acre pond, watershed protection and riparian buffers to nearly a quarter mile of river, creek, and stream.

Watershed protection includes the safeguard of another 940 feet of the banks of the North Pacolet River, as well as the land around three tributaries to the North Pacolet River (over 6,840 feet).  The addition of one property has added to the protection of the North Pacolet River; jointly, conservation easements protect one side of the North Pacolet River, contiguously, for 16,600′ (3.14 miles).  The addition of another property has added to the protection of Hughes Creek; collectively, conservation easements create a riparian buffer along 8,924.56′ (1.69 miles) of the western side of Hughes Creek.  Additionally, the land around 1,100 feet of tributaries to other waterways (the South Pacolet River and the Broad River) has also been permanently protected.  These vegetated riparian buffers are important in the protection of water quality.  Riparian buffers slow and filter runoff water, causing sediment to settle out and be deposited in the buffer and not in waterways.

Two of these conservation easements were made possible thanks to grants made available through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s (CTNC) Money in the Ground Program, the grant provided money to help these North Carolina landowners with the costs associated with protecting their land with a conservation easement, such as a survey of the property, attorney costs, appraisal costs, and long-term stewardship needs.

PAC staff, volunteers, and each landowner worked diligently to complete each conservation easement which would layout the future use and non-use of each property based on each landowner’s wishes for the future of their land.

PAC is grateful for a terrific year in 2015!  The organization protected nearly 100 acres of land either with voluntary conservation easements or by ownership last year, bringing the total number of acres that the organization has helped to protect in our area up to nearly 8,700.  Thank you to all of those that have helped to make this accomplishment possible.  PAC looks forward to another great year in 2016!

If you are interested in learning more about PAC, voluntary conservation easements, and/or CTNC grants please contact the PAC office by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, stop by 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon, or visit our website at www.pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina


PAC helps protect 100 acres in December

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/12/16

In 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) was able to help four area landowners realize their dream of protecting their land in perpetuity, through voluntary conservation easements.

Conservation easements were placed on two properties in Polk County and one in Rutherford County in North Carolina and one property in Spartanburg County and one in Greenville County in South Carolina, protecting nearly 100 acres in western North Carolina/Upstate South Carolina.

Each of these properties is unique, with its own character, habitat, and conservation values.

The protection of these lands ensures that at least 100 species of birds (one listed by the state of North Carolina as Special Concern and one as Significantly Rare), over 100 species of plants (one listed by the Federal Government and the state of North Carolina as Threatened), at least 11 species of reptiles, a minimum of 16 species of mammals, and at least 7 species of amphibians are ensured the appropriate habitat in permanency.

Habitat protected includes nearly 40 acres of greenspace (pasture, farmland (some considered “Prime Farmland” or “Farmland of Statewide Importance,”) hayfields, etc.), approximately 60 acres of maturing native forest, a 4 acre pond, watershed protection and riparian buffers to nearly a quarter mile of river, creek, and stream.

Watershed protection includes the safeguard of another 940 feet of the banks of the North Pacolet River, as well as the land around three tributaries to the North Pacolet River (over 6,840 feet).  The addition of one property has added to the protection of the North Pacolet River; jointly, conservation easements protect one side of the North Pacolet River, contiguously, for 16,600′ (3.14 miles).  The addition of another property has added to the protection of Hughes Creek; collectively, conservation easements create a riparian buffer along 8,924.56′ (1.69 miles) of the western side of Hughes Creek.  Additionally, the land around 1,100 feet of tributaries to other waterways (the South Pacolet River and the Broad River) has also been permanently protected.  These vegetated riparian buffers are important in the protection of water quality.  Riparian buffers slow and filter runoff water, causing sediment to settle out and be deposited in the buffer and not in waterways.

Two of these conservation easements were made possible thanks to grants made available through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s (CTNC) Money in the Ground Program, the grant provided money to help these North Carolina landowners with the costs associated with protecting their land with a conservation easement, such as a survey of the property, attorney costs, appraisal costs, and long-term stewardship needs.

PAC staff, volunteers, and each landowner worked diligently to complete each conservation easement which would layout the future use and non-use of each property based on each landowner’s wishes for the future of their land.

PAC is grateful for a terrific year in 2015!  The organization protected nearly 100 acres of land either with voluntary conservation easements or by ownership last year, bringing the total number of acres that the organization has helped to protect in our area up to nearly 8,700.  Thank you to all of those that have helped to make this accomplishment possible.  PAC looks forward to another great year in 2016!

If you are interested in learning more about PAC, voluntary conservation easements, and/or CTNC grants please contact the PAC office by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, stop by 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon, or visit our website at www.pacolet.org.

submitted by Pam Torlina

P1120808North Pacolet River (photo by Pam Torlina)

Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/15/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Butternut (Juglans cinerea), one of eastern North America’s most threatened tree species.

Butternut, sometimes referred to as White Walnut, is a medium-sized tree species that may attain heights of between 50-70 feet tall.  Butternut leaves are compound, toothed, and alternate, with an aromatic scent if bruised.  This species is deciduous, with leaves turning a pleasing yellow coloration in autumn.  Butternut fruits are distinctive, with rough longitudinal texture, and pointed ‘tip’ at one end.  Fruits of Butternut are edible and highly sought after by squirrels and humans alike.

In our area, this species prefers moist, rich, well-drained bottomlands, streamside terraces, or slopes just up from such habitats.  In the mountains to the west of Polk County, Butternut may be encountered in more upland situations.

Butternut is a readily identifiable tree, with a distinctive silhouette, leaves, and fruits.  Many citizens of Polk County are familiar with this tree and may remember it as being more abundant in their youth.

Butternut is not a common tree in North Carolina, but does occur sporadically in the western mountains of our state.  Butternut is still known to survive in Polk County in a handful of locations, but it has suffered a drastic decline throughout its entire range due to a fungal blight known as Butternut Canker.  In some areas, Butternut has been extirpated; even isolated trees have been known to become diseased and die.  At present, there is no known cure for this disease.

If you think that you have seen Butternut or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

submitted by Pam Torlina (written by David Campbell)

Juglans cinerea_fruit-JKMarlow

Juglans cinerea fruit


Polk recognizes appearance commission award recipients

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/13/15

The Polk County Appearance Commission recognized four organizations, local governments and individuals for its annual beautification awards this week.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Dec. 7 and recognized this year’s recipients.

Polk County Appearance Commission Chair Joe Cooper distributed the awards.

Cooper said this is the fifth year the appearance commission has given the awards.

The appearance commission began the tradition of giving annual awards in 2011. The purpose of the awards is to thank and honor citizens for their contributions to the beauty of the county, Cooper said.

“These beautification awards are for projects that the public can view,” Cooper said.

Cooper said making our county more beautiful for the public to see has the immediate benefit of allowing those of us who live here to enjoy our home county all the more. Even better, Cooper said, public beautification work also relate to economic and tourism development.

The four award recipients were the City of Saluda for its renovation of Saluda City Hall and Police Department; the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for its public garden at the Polk County Library and a garden at the PAC office; in honor of the late Bob Lane and his son Scott Lane for the renovation of the old Gas for Less building in Tryon and to the Town of Tryon for the depot plaza.

-By Leah Justice

JoeCooperJonCannon

Jon Cannon accepted the award for the City of Saluda. (photo by Leah Justice)

PamTorlinaJoeCooper

Pam Torlina accepted the award for PAC. (photo by Leah Justice)

ScottLaneJoeCooper

Scott Lane accepted the award for the Lanes. (photo by Leah Justice)

JoeCooperPaulaKempton

Paula Kempton accepted the award for the Town of Tryon. (photo by Leah Justice)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant:

Polk County News Journal, 11/18/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria).

Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) is an interesting woody species. The specific name ‘imbricaria’ refers to overlapping, as the wood of this tree was originally used in the production of shingles.  Shingle Oak is a medium sized tree, reaching heights between 30-60 feet. It has a rounded crown and a pleasing appearance. An unusual and distinctive characteristic of Shingle Oak is that it has a large, unlobed leaf (unlike most other Oak species in our region that do possess lobed leaves). Shingle Oak leaves are between 3.5-7 inches in length and between .75-2 inches in width. The leaf margin is smooth and untoothed. The tip of the leaf possesses a single bristle. In addition, the underside of the leaf of Shingle Oak is tomentose (hairy), serving to distinguish it from a similar hybrid species of Oak that is sometimes encountered in our region.

Shingle Oak typically prefers to grow in rich, moist soils along the banks of streams or rivers but it may occasionally be found upslope in areas where soils are nutrient rich.  Generally found in areas to the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shingle Oak is known from a handful of counties in the western portion of North Carolina, including some neighboring counties surrounding Polk. Fall color can range from brilliant red to gold.

David Campbell has personally encountered Shingle Oak in Burke and Henderson counties, and he feels that there is a good possibility that this species could be found in Polk County as well.  When searching for Shingle Oak, look along rich stream bottoms and the lower slopes of small to medium sized rivers.

If you think that you have seen Shingle Oak or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata), Small-headed Blazing-star (Liatris microcephala), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and others.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By David Campbell

Shingle Oak_acorns-by JK Marlow

Shingle Oak acorns.

Shingle Oak_Leaves2-by JK Marlow

Shingle Oak leaves.


PAC/WCP Program, “The Role of Native Plants in Personal and Public Landscapes”

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 11/18/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The role of native plants in personal and public landscapes” presented by Bill Stringer, Ph. D.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, November 21, at 10:30 a.m.

The program will briefly define what a “native plant” is and why they are vital to our landscapes.  During the program, Dr. Stringer will discuss these topics in the context of the role of all landscapes in maintaining and enhancing pollinator, songbird, and other wildlife populations.

Dr. Bill Stringer is a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University.  He has served the SC Native Plant Society as president, newsletter editor, and field trip leader.  He also occasionally serves as a consultant on native landscape issues.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on January 30th when Mary Holcombe will be presenting on “Native Plants in the Landscape: For Unparalleled Beauty and Ease of Care.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

bee_1_bg_042404


Learn about native plants used in public landscapes

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/12/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The role of native plants in personal and public landscapes” presented by Bill Stringer, Ph. D.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, November 21, at 10:30 a.m.

The program will briefly define what a “native plant” is and why they are vital to our landscapes.  During the program, Dr. Stringer will discuss these topics in the context of the role of all landscapes in maintaining and enhancing pollinator, songbird, and other wildlife populations.

Dr. Bill Stringer is a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University.  He has served the SC Native Plant Society as president, newsletter editor, and field trip leader.  He also occasionally serves as a consultant on native landscape issues.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on January 30th when Mary Holcombe will be presenting on “Native Plants in the Landscape: For Unparalleled Beauty and Ease of Care.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

Submitted by Pam Torlina

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Dr. Stringer will discuss the role of native plants in landscapes in maintaining and enhancing pollinator, songbird, and other wildlife populations.


PAC’s final Fall Hike Goes to Pisgah National Forest on November 13th

Polk County News Journal, 11/11/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 13, for a 6.8-mile, moderate/difficult hike along the Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek trails in the Mills River area of Pisgah National Forest; the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

The Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek trails will lead hikers through forests of different age classes and along Slate Rock Creek.  There are many stream crossings and feet may get wet.  While walking along Slate Rock Creek, hikers will be able to view two notable waterfalls and several cascades.  This is mainly a water feature hike through the beautiful Pisgah National Forest.  Due to the large amounts of rain that have fallen, and more rain that is forecasted for the week of the hike, if PAC deems that there has been too much rain to safely proceed with this destination, the hike will take place at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest, a 5.4-mile, easy/moderate hike.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to Pisgah National Forest.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  Please look forward to the PAC Spring Hiking Series starting in February 2016!

by Pam Torlina

P1090244s_f

PAC hikers on Green Knob Mountain off of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 16th. In no particular order: Keith Owen, Jackson Owen, Thomas Owen, Juanita Bruce, Don Dicey, Liz Dicey, Tammy Coleman, Bill Coleman, Diane Ruby, Maureen Pratt, Carol McCall, Mark McCall, Pat Strother, Susan Mohn, Carroll Mohn, Estell Osten, Dan Easley, Carolyn Parker, Suzanne Engelmann, Don Schlegel, Brenda Pierce, Frances Henson, Lynn Geier, Jean Shaw, Mary Jo Kellogg, Chuck Ducharme, Vince Castello, and Carol MacLean. (photo by Ford Smith)


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant for November

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/8/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria).

Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) is an interesting woody species. The specific name ‘imbricaria’ refers to overlapping, as the wood of this tree was originally used in the production of shingles.  Shingle Oak is a medium sized tree, reaching heights between 30-60 feet. It has a rounded crown and a pleasing appearance. An unusual and distinctive characteristic of Shingle Oak is that it has a large, unlobed leaf (unlike most other Oak species in our region that do possess lobed leaves). Shingle Oak leaves are between 3.5-7 inches in length and between .75-2 inches in width. The leaf margin is smooth and untoothed. The tip of the leaf possesses a single bristle. In addition, the underside of the leaf of Shingle Oak is tomentose (hairy), serving to distinguish it from a similar hybrid species of Oak that is sometimes encountered in our region.

Shingle Oak typically prefers to grow in rich, moist soils along the banks of streams or rivers but it may occasionally be found upslope in areas where soils are nutrient rich.  Generally found in areas to the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shingle Oak is known from a handful of counties in the western portion of North Carolina, including some neighboring counties surrounding Polk. Fall color can range from brilliant red to gold.

David Campbell has personally encountered Shingle Oak in Burke and Henderson counties, and he feels that there is a good possibility that this species could be found in Polk County as well.  When searching for Shingle Oak, look along rich stream bottoms and the lower slopes of small to medium sized rivers.

If you think that you have seen Shingle Oak or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata), Small-headed Blazing-star (Liatris microcephala), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and others.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Shingle Oak_acorns-by JK Marlow

Shingle Oak acorns (Photo by JK Marlow)


PAC’s final fall hike goes to Pisgah National Forest

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/6/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 13, for a 6.8-mile, easy to moderate hike along the Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek trails in the Mills River area of Pisgah National Forest; the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

The Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek trails will lead hikers through forests of different age classes, through a mountain meadow, and along and across Slate Rock Creek.  While walking along Slate Rock Creek, hikers will be able to view two notable waterfalls and several cascades.  This is mainly a water feature hike through the beautiful Pisgah National Forest.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to Pisgah National Forest.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

P1090244s_f

PAC hikers on Green Knob Mountain off of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 16th. In no particular order: Keith Owen, Jackson Owen, Thomas Owen, Juanita Bruce, Don Dicey, Liz Dicey, Tammy Coleman, Bill Coleman, Diane Ruby, Maureen Pratt, Carol McCall, Mark McCall, Pat Strother, Susan Mohn, Carroll Mohn, Estell Osten, Dan Easley, Carolyn Parker, Suzanne Engelmann, Don Schlegel, Brenda Pierce, Frances Henson, Lynn Geier, Jean Shaw, Mary Jo Kellogg, Chuck Ducharme, Vince Castello, and Carol MacLean. (photo by Ford Smith)


Courtyard at PAC office gets a makeover and creates habitat for butterflies

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/5/15

As part of a recent initiative by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) to raise awareness about the decline of the migratory Monarch butterfly due to habitat loss, as well as to create habitat for the Monarch butterfly (and other butterflies), PAC volunteers worked diligently over the summer to transform the courtyard next to the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, into a beautiful butterfly garden and habitat.

Thanks to a generous grant from Tryon resident, Loti woods, landscape design by Mark Byington, and PAC’s wonderful volunteers, such as Ford Smith, Vard Henry, Lois Torlina, Glenn Brady, Steve and Marie King, Carol McCall, Liz Dicey and her grandson, Jacob, Dibbit Lamb, and Carol Bartol, the courtyard area, which used to be overgrown with non-native plants that provided very little to the ecosystem, has now been transformed into an amazing butterfly habitat loaded with native plants that provide shelter and nectar for adult butterflies and host plants (food) for their caterpillars!

After just a few short months, through extreme heat and drought, the garden is flourishing and we’ve been rewarded with visits from numerous butterfly species, many of which are completing their life cycle in the garden.  The most noticeable species reproducing, so far, have been the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) and the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

The Gulf Fritillary requires Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) for their caterpillars, and our Passion Fower is loaded with caterpillars and the pupae are turning up everywhere.  The Monarchs need milkweed for their larvae to feed on.  Although there are four types of native milkweed in the garden, the Monarch caterpillars have shown a definite preference to Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa).  Three Monarch larvae were discovered fattening up on Butterfly Weed and they have since formed their chrysalides, slowly transforming into adult butterflies that will emerge this fall and migrate to Mexico or California for the winter.

PAC invites the public to come and enjoy this beautiful butterfly garden and encourages the community to create native butterfly habitat, particularly for the Monarch whose population is at its lowest since scientists began recording their numbers in 1993.  Monarch migration is one of the greatest natural history spectacles on Earth and it takes place over several generations.  Butterflies flying to Mexico and California in the fall are the great-grandchildren of insects that departed the previous spring.

For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the “Conservation” tab, then “Saving the Migratory Monarch.”

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Monarch


PAC, WCP present waterfalls, wildflowers 

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/29/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Magic of Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachian Mountains” presented by Timothy Spira.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, October 31, at 10:30 a.m.

Waterfalls are natural magnets for hikers, photographers, nature enthusiasts, and casual visitors to the mountains.  Some waterfalls enchant us with their softness as water gently glides over bedrock; others impress us with the height of their falling water; still others awe us with their power.  The constantly falling water, sparkling light, and swirling spray is exhilarating, soothing, and inspiring.  For whatever reason, waterfalls make us feel good.  Exploring wildflowers (and other natural features) along the trail to the waterfall adds another layer of fun.  In this presentation, Mr. Spira will introduce waterfalls and wildflowers in the southern Appalachians, including why people are so enchanted by them.

Timothy P. Spira is an avid hiker, wildflower enthusiast, and emeritus professor of botany at Clemson University.  He is the author of Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) and the newly published Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on November 21st when Bill Stringer will be presenting on bees and pollination.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Spira

Timothy Spira


PAC’s next Fall Hike Goes to Purchase Knob in the GSMNP on October 30th!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/28/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 30, for a 3-mile, easy hike over to the summit of Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the fourth hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Located in the eastern portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Cataloochee Divide, Purchase Knob rises to an elevation of 4,850 feet.  The Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center is located near its summit and supports research and education in our national parks.  The Purchase Knob Center studies air quality and the effects of pollutants on the rich diversity of plant life in the Smokies.  Purchase Knob offers extraordinary long-distance views of the surrounding Southern Appalachian Mountains.  Hikers will also enjoy a look at the Ferguson Cabin, former home to John Love Ferguson and his family from 1874-1902.  The home was restored from the original timbers in 2000.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Purchase Knob, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 30-minute drive to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The final hike is scheduled for November 13th and heads to Pisgah National Forest for a hike along the Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek Trails.  This hike will offer views of two waterfalls and several cascades on Slate Rock Creek.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

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A view of the Smoky Mountains from the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center. (Photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC/WCP Program, “The Magic of Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachian Mountains,” Oct. 31

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/28/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Magic of Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachian Mountains” presented by Timothy Spira.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, October 31, at 10:30 a.m.

Waterfalls are natural magnets for hikers, photographers, nature enthusiasts, and casual visitors to the mountains.  Some waterfalls enchant us with their softness as water gently glides over bedrock; others impress us with the height of their falling water; still others awe us with their power.  The constantly falling water, sparkling light, and swirling spray is exhilarating, soothing, and inspiring.  For whatever reason, waterfalls make us feel good.  Exploring wildflowers (and other natural features) along the trail to the waterfall adds another layer of fun.  In this presentation, Mr. Spira will introduce waterfalls and wildflowers in the southern Appalachians, including why people are so enchanted by them.

Timothy P. Spira is an avid hiker, wildflower enthusiast, and emeritus professor of botany at Clemson University.  He is the author of Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) and the newly published Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: Thirty Great Hikes (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on November 21st when Bill Stringer will be presenting on bees and pollination.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Spira

Timothy Spira


PAC’s next Fall Hike Goes to Purchase Knob in the GSMNP on October 30th!

Polk County News Journal, 10/28/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 30, for a 3-mile, easy hike over to the summit of Purchase Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the fourth hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Located in the eastern portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Cataloochee Divide, Purchase Knob rises to an elevation of 4,850 feet.  The Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center is located near its summit and supports research and education in our national parks.  The Purchase Knob Center studies air quality and the effects of pollutants on the rich diversity of plant life in the Smokies.  Purchase Knob offers extraordinary long-distance views of the surrounding Southern Appalachian Mountains.  Hikers will also enjoy a look at the Ferguson Cabin, former home to John Love Ferguson and his family from 1874-1902.  The home was restored from the original timbers in 2000.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Purchase Knob, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 30-minute drive to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The final hike is scheduled for November 13th and heads to Pisgah National Forest for a hike along the Pilot Cove and Slate Rock Creek Trails.  This hike will offer views of two waterfalls and several cascades on Slate Rock Creek.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1110837


PAC’s next fall hike goes to Shortoff Mountain on October 23rd!

Polk County News Journal, 10/21/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 23, for a 4.4-mile, out and back, moderate/strenuous hike to Shortoff Mountain; the third hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series, rescheduled from October 2nd.  All of the 1,300 feet of elevation gain on this hike occurs in the first mile; it is a steady upward climb right from the trailhead.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Shortoff Mountain (elevation 2883′) is a large plateau with sheer cliffs along the rim.  It is located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness in Pisgah National Forests Grandfather Ranger District.  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 15-minute drive to the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 16nd over Green Knob (5,000′ elevation) along the Mountains to Sea Trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This hike provides beautiful views of Shining Rock Wilderness and Cold Mountain to the north and the Cradle of Forestry and Looking Glass Rock to the south…and fall foliage!

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1110587


PAC’s next fall hike goes to Shortoff Mountain

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/20/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 23, for a 4.4-mile, out and back, moderate/strenuous hike to Shortoff Mountain; the third hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series, rescheduled from October 2nd.  All of the 1,300 feet of elevation gain on this hike occurs in the first mile; it is a steady upward climb right from the trailhead.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Shortoff Mountain (elevation 2883′) is a large plateau with sheer cliffs along the rim.  It is located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness in Pisgah National Forests Grandfather Ranger District.  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 15-minute drive to the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1110587

The view of Linville Gorge from Shortoff Mountain (Photo by Pam Torlina)


Tryon says good-baa-aa-ee to the Kudzu eating goats

Polk County News Journal, 10/14/15

On October 7, 2015 the goats (and Moses) were removed from the Town of Tryon lot (near IGA) for the last time.

The ‘kids’ did an excellent job controlling Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site over the past 3-years, and they provided a lot of joy and entertainment for the community too!

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) would like to thank the Polk County Community Foundation for the grant that funded the project, as well as the partnership with the Town of Tryon and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Also, thank you to Wells Farm, TJ’s Restaurant for providing electricity to the fence that kept the goats safe, Re/Max for donating the information box, and the wonderful volunteers that have helped us at the site over the last several years.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

2013 before-2015 after

PAC’s next fall hike goes to Green Knob Mountain on October 16th!

Polk County News Journal, 10/14/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 16, for a 4-mile, moderate, out and back hike over Green Knob Mountain; the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC Volunteers, Ford Smith and Liz Dicey, will lead the trek.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, hikers will take the Mountains to Sea Trail traversing a ridge that crosses Green Knob Mountain.  The 5,080 foot mountain offers views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cradle of Forestry, and Looking Glass Rock to the south.  To the north the vista offers views of Shining Rock Wilderness and the majestic Cold Mountain.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Green Knob Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to the trailhead off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 23rd and heads to Shortoff Mountain in Linville Gorge (rescheduled from 10/2).  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James…and fall foliage!

Submitted by Pam Torlina

public domain image


Courtyard at PAC Office Gets Makeover, Creates Habitat for Butterflies

Polk County News Journal, 10/14/15

As part of a recent initiative by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) to raise awareness about the decline of the migratory Monarch butterfly due to habitat loss, as well as to create habitat for the Monarch butterfly (and other butterflies), PAC volunteers worked diligently over the summer to transform the courtyard next to the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, into a beautiful butterfly garden and habitat.

Thanks to a generous grant from Tryon resident, Loti woods, landscape design by Mark Byington, and PAC’s wonderful volunteers, such as Ford Smith, Vard Henry, Lois Torlina, Glenn Brady, Steve and Marie King, Carol McCall, Liz Dicey and her grandson, Jacob, Dibbit Lamb, and Carol Bartol, the courtyard area, which used to be overgrown with non-native plants that provided very little to the ecosystem, has now been transformed into an amazing butterfly habitat loaded with native plants that provide shelter and nectar for adult butterflies and host plants (food) for their caterpillars!

After just a few short months, through extreme heat and drought, the garden is flourishing and we’ve been rewarded with visits from numerous butterfly species, many of which are completing their life cycle in the garden.  The most noticeable species reproducing, so far, have been the Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) and the Monarch (Danaus plexippus).

The Gulf Fritillary requires Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) for their caterpillars, and our Passion Fower is loaded with caterpillars and the pupae are turning up everywhere.  The Monarchs need milkweed for their larvae to feed on.  Although there are four types of native milkweed in the garden, the Monarch caterpillars have shown a definite preference to Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa).  Three Monarch larvae were discovered fattening up on Butterfly Weed and they have since formed their chrysalides, slowly transforming into adult butterflies that will emerge this fall and migrate to Mexico or California for the winter.

PAC invites the public to come and enjoy this beautiful butterfly garden and encourages the community to create native butterfly habitat, particularly for the Monarch whose population is at its lowest since scientists began recording their numbers in 1993.  Monarch migration is one of the greatest natural history spectacles on Earth and it takes place over several generations.  Butterflies flying to Mexico and California in the fall are the great-grandchildren of insects that departed the previous spring.

For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the “Conservation” tab, then “Saving the Migratory Monarch.”

Submitted by Pam Torlina

PAC Courtyard


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant, Eastern Wahoo

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/11/15 (pg. 11)

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” one of NC’s more rare shrubs, Eastern Wahoo (sometimes referred to as Burning Bush), Euonymus atropurpureus.

Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), our native Burning Bush, should not to be confused with the non-native and invasive ornamental shrub, Winged Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) which is native to Northeast Asia and fairly common in residential areas.

Wahoo is only known from a handful of counties in NC and it is ranked as “Imperiled.”  It is a large shrub or small tree, which is typically found in areas to the east of Polk County.

Wahoo is not a ‘stand out’ species in terms of general appearance.  It has simple, opposite, and finely toothed leaves with erect-hairy lower leaf surfaces and petioles (the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem).

One unusual feature of this species is the green coloration of the twigs, which persist even in winter.  The fruits of Wahoo are bright pink and red, which enables them to be seen easily from a distance; a good clue when searching for the plant this time of year.  The fruit is a smooth, 4-lobed capsule.

Wahoo’s preferred habitats are rich bottomlands or streamside flats.  Occasionally, this species may be encountered on rich slopes with circumneutral soils.

There have been recent reports of this beautiful and seldom-seen species from the eastern portions of Polk County.  Be on the lookout for the colorful fruits of this species in the next 4-6 weeks.  The fruits will be growing on a large shrub in low woods that contain small streams or creeks.

If you think that you have seen Wahoo or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata), Small-headed Blazing-star (Liatris microcephala), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and others.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Wahoo-fall


PAC’s next fall hike goes to Green Knob Mountain, Oct. 16

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/11/15 (pg. 13)

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 16, for a 4-mile, moderate, out and back hike over Green Knob Mountain; the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC Volunteers, Ford Smith and Liz Dicey, will lead the trek.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, hikers will take the Mountains to Sea Trail traversing a ridge that crosses Green Knob Mountain.  The 5,080 foot mountain offers views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cradle of Forestry, and Looking Glass Rock to the south.  To the north the vista offers views of Shining Rock Wilderness and the majestic Cold Mountain.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Green Knob Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour drive to the trailhead off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 23rd and heads to Shortoff Mountain in Linville Gorge (rescheduled from 10/2).  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James…and fall foliage!

Submitted by Pam Torlina

public domain image


Tryon says good-baa-aa-ee to the Kudzu eating goats

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/11/15 (pg. 12)

On Oct. 7, the goats and Moses were removed from the Town of Tryon lot (near IGA) for the last time.

The ‘kids’ did an excellent job controlling Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site over the past 3-years, and they provided a lot of joy and entertainment for the community too.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) would like to thank the Polk County Community Foundation for the grant that funded the project, as well as the partnership with the Town of Tryon and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Also, thank you to Wells Farm, TJ’s Restaurant for providing electricity to the fence that kept the goats safe, Re/Max for donating the information box, and the wonderful volunteers that have helped us at the site over the last several years.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

last before and afterBefore the goats arrival in the fall, left, and after their departure in fall, 2015, right. (Photos by Pam Torlina)


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Polk County News Journal, 10/7/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” one of NC’s more rare shrubs, Eastern Wahoo (sometimes referred to as Burning Bush), Euonymus atropurpureus.

Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), our native Burning Bush, should not to be confused with the non-native and invasive ornamental shrub, Winged Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) which is native to Northeast Asia and fairly common in residential areas.

Wahoo is only known from a handful of counties in NC and it is ranked as “Imperiled.”  It is a large shrub or small tree, which is typically found in areas to the east of Polk County.

Wahoo is not a ‘stand out’ species in terms of general appearance.  It has simple, opposite, and finely toothed leaves with erect-hairy lower leaf surfaces and petioles (the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem).

One unusual feature of this species is the green coloration of the twigs, which persist even in winter.  The fruits of Wahoo are bright pink and red, which enables them to be seen easily from a distance; a good clue when searching for the plant this time of year.  The fruit is a smooth, 4-lobed capsule.

Wahoo’s preferred habitats are rich bottomlands or streamside flats.  Occasionally, this species may be encountered on rich slopes with circumneutral soils.

There have been recent reports of this beautiful and seldom-seen species from the eastern portions of Polk County.  Be on the lookout for the colorful fruits of this species in the next 4-6 weeks.  The fruits will be growing on a large shrub in low woods that contain small streams or creeks.

If you think that you have seen Wahoo or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata), Small-headed Blazing-star (Liatris microcephala), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and others.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Wahoo-fall


PAC releases a predator beetle to battle HWA

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/7/15

On September 28, 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) released over 50 Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”) beetles, predators of the highly destructive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), an aphid-like insect that has been decimating Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina Hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) up and down the East Coast since it was first discovered in Virginia in the 1950’s.

HWA was first detected in North Carolina in 1995, and by the end of 2002, HWA infestations were documented in 19 mountain counties.  By 2007, all of the mountain counties in the state were infested with HWA.  In 2007, the widespread mortality of hemlocks was recognized throughout the state, and by the summer of 2010, all of the counties in NC, within the historic range of hemlock trees, documented HWA infestation on hemlocks.

The Lari beetle is a natural predator of HWA and it relies on the aphid-like insects for all stages of its development.  Lari feed on HWA from October through May.  During this time, a female Lari beetle lays 200-400 eggs, and each Lari larva needs to eat roughly 235 HWA eggs to reach maturity.  By feeding on HWA, the Lari beetle and its larvae decrease the level of HWA infestation on hemlocks to the point that dieback ceases and the trees are able to produce new growth and recover from the stress of HWA infestation.  HWA will probably never be eradicated from the region, but now there is a predator in place that can feed on HWA and help create a natural balance, giving our hemlocks a chance at survival.

Dr. Richard C. McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, has been conducting research and experiments with Lari since 2006.  At that time, he made an initial, small release of Lari beetles in Banner Elk, NC.  Since then, he has recovered adult beetles in the area, year after year; a sign that the beetles are reproducing which they can only do by feeding on HWA.  After successful establishment of Lari beetles in Banner Elk, larvae and beetles have been found on hemlocks in the surrounding region, and hemlocks are living and thriving in the area.

In March of 2015, PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, attended a two-day Community Training Workshop on HWA funded by a grant from the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and offered through a partnership between Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, the NC Forest Service, and the NC Cooperative Extension Service.  The workshop provided information, training, and the initial supply of Lari beetles to PAC (received on Sept. 28) as an effective way to help save the hemlocks by providing a long-term approach to manage HWA.

This “starter kit” of Lari beetles that have been released in Polk County are the beginning of a “Lari beetle farm” armed to prey on HWA in our area.  Over time, PAC will be able to collect Lari beetles from the initial release site and relocate them to other HWA infested hemlocks in the region, widening the range of Lari beetles in the county with the intention of preserving our native forests health.

If people are interested in contributing to PAC to secure more Lari beetles for release in Polk County, to save our hemlocks, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or email landprotection@pacolet.org.  For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and look under the “Conservation” tab.

Lari release3                 HWA and Lari shown (3)

LEFT: PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, releases Laricobius nigrinus (Lari) beetles on Eastern Hemlock infested with Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.  RIGHT: A Laricobius nigrinus (Lari) beetle feeds on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. (Photos by Pam Torlina)


PAC Releases a Predator Beetle to Battle HWA!

Polk County News Journal, 10/7/15

On September 28, 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) released over 50 Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”) beetles, predators of the highly destructive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), an aphid-like insect that has been decimating Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina Hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) up and down the East Coast since it was first discovered in Virginia in the 1950’s.

HWA was first detected in North Carolina in 1995, and by the end of 2002, HWA infestations were documented in 19 mountain counties.  By 2007, all of the mountain counties in the state were infested with HWA.  In 2007, the widespread mortality of hemlocks was recognized throughout the state, and by the summer of 2010, all of the counties in NC, within the historic range of hemlock trees, documented HWA infestation on hemlocks.

The Lari beetle is a natural predator of HWA and it relies on the aphid-like insects for all stages of its development.  Lari feed on HWA from October through May.  During this time, a female Lari beetle lays 200-400 eggs, and each Lari larva needs to eat roughly 235 HWA eggs to reach maturity.  By feeding on HWA, the Lari beetle and its larvae decrease the level of HWA infestation on hemlocks to the point that dieback ceases and the trees are able to produce new growth and recover from the stress of HWA infestation.  HWA will probably never be eradicated from the region, but now there is a predator in place that can feed on HWA and help create a natural balance, giving our hemlocks a chance at survival.

Dr. Richard C. McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, has been conducting research and experiments with Lari since 2006.  At that time, he made an initial, small release of Lari beetles in Banner Elk, NC.  Since then, he has recovered adult beetles in the area, year after year; a sign that the beetles are reproducing which they can only do by feeding on HWA.  After successful establishment of Lari beetles in Banner Elk, larvae and beetles have been found on hemlocks in the surrounding region, and hemlocks are living and thriving in the area.

In March of 2015, PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, attended a two-day Community Training Workshop on HWA funded by a grant from the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and offered through a partnership between Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, the NC Forest Service, and the NC Cooperative Extension Service.  The workshop provided information, training, and the initial supply of Lari beetles to PAC (received on Sept. 28) as an effective way to help save the hemlocks by providing a long-term approach to manage HWA.

This “starter kit” of Lari beetles that have been released in Polk County are the beginning of a “Lari beetle farm” armed to prey on HWA in our area.  Over time, PAC will be able to collect Lari beetles from the initial release site and relocate them to other HWA infested hemlocks in the region, widening the range of Lari beetles in the county with the intention of preserving our native forests health.

If people are interested in contributing to PAC to secure more Lari beetles for release in Polk County, to save our hemlocks, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or email landprotection@pacolet.org.  For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and look under the “Conservation” tab.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

HWA and Lari shown (3)

Lari beetle feeding on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Lari release3

Pam Torlina releasing Lari beetles on Eastern Hemlock infested with Helmock Woolly Adelgid


PCMS sixth graders attend 4-H field trip

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/6/15

On Sept. 29 and 30, sixth graders from Polk County Middle School went to the 4-H Center to hear presentations by local agencies that affect the environment.  Students were able to travel to classes given by the Pacolet Area Conservancy, the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.  Each session was hands on and gave students an opportunity to learn about rivers, streams, watersheds, forests, animals and air quality in Polk County and what they can be doing to help.  This field trip was funded through the 4-H Center.

Submitted by Langlee Garrett

NC Forester_2

NC Forest Ranger, Brian Rogers, discusses forest fires with 6ht graders as PCMS 6th grader Kanye Staley tries on clothing that forest rangers must wear when fighting forest fires.

NCWRC_2

Jennifer Rowe with the NC Wildlife Commission shows PCMS 6th grader Brennan Worthington the difference between a grizzly bear skull and a NC black bear skull.

IMG_1120

Pacolet Area Conservancy volunteers Ford Smith and Liz Dicey assist students after they had drawn environments around a watershed.  Students discussed the positives and negatives of living around streams and rivers and how they affect the watershed area they live in.


PCMS sixth graders attend 4-H field trip

Polk County News Journal, 10/7/15

On September 29th and 30th, sixth graders from Polk County Middle School went to the 4-H Center to hear presentations by local agencies that affect the environment.  Students were able to travel to classes given by the Pacolet Area Conservancy, the North Carolina Forest Service, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.  Each session was hands on and gave students an opportunity to learn about rivers, streams, watersheds, forests, animals and air quality in Polk County and what they can be doing to help.  This field trip was funded through the 4-H Center.

Submitted by Langlee Garrett

IMG_1120

Pacolet Area Conservancy volunteers Ford Smith and Liz Dicey assist students after they had drawn environments around a watershed.  Students discussed the positives and negatives of living around streams and rivers and how they affect the watershed area they live in.

NC Forester_2

NC Forest Ranger, Brian Rogers, discusses forest fires with 6ht graders as PCMS 6th grader Kanye Staley tries on clothing that forest rangers must wear when fighting forest fires.

NCWRC_2

Jennifer Rowe with the NC Wildlife Commission shows PCMS 6th grader Brennan Worthington the difference between a grizzly bear skull and a NC black bear skull.


Educational Field Day about the use of Goats to Eradicate Kudzu

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/1/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is hosting a free Educational Field Day to discuss the use of goats to eradicate Kudzu.  The Field Day event is open to the public and will take place at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA on Saturday, October 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Representatives from PAC will be onsite to talk to the community about the 3-year “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project, the pros and cons to utilizing goats to combat Kudzu, and the importance of eradicating non-native and invasive species from the landscape in order to allow our native species room to grow and thrive.  The Kudzu Eradication project has been funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

For more information, please contact PAC by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

Town lot-2


Educational Field Day about the use of Goats to Eradicate Kudzu

 Polk County News Journal & The News Leader (Upstate Newspapers), 9/30/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is hosting a free Educational Field Day to discuss the use of goats to eradicate Kudzu.  The Field Day event is open to the public and will take place at the Town of Tryon lot near IGA on Saturday, October 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Representatives from PAC will be onsite to talk to the community about the 3-year “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project, the pros and cons to utilizing goats to combat Kudzu, and the importance of eradicating non-native and invasive species from the landscape in order to allow our native species room to grow and thrive.  The Kudzu Eradication project has been funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

For more information, please contact PAC by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org.

by Pam Torlina

Town lot-2


The Pacolet Area Conservancy is fighting for you

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader (Upstate Newspapers), 9/30/15

As many know, Duke Energy has announced a Western Carolinas Modernization Project that proposes several new transmission line routes through Polk County and the surrounding areas of northern Greenville County, northern Spartanburg County, and Henderson County.  These are areas where our economic well-being is inextricably tied to its stunning natural beauty and abundant green spaces.  All these areas would be severely damaged by the transmission line, wherever it is built.

The area proposed by Duke also includes some of the most ecologically important lands on the planet.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is honored to protect many properties with Conservation Easements, some of which are located within the “study area” proposed by Duke.  Unfortunately, these easement agreements cannot legally stop a utility from condemning rights-of-way for transmission lines.  But, so far, Duke Energy has skirted properties with Conservation Easements, remaining along the perimeter rather than driving right through them as it has done with so many other, unprotected properties.

Please rest assured that from the beginning, PAC has been working diligently to oppose the transmission lines that threaten 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.”

PAC has been in alliance with other land trusts in the area, in support of community groups that are in strong opposition to the proposed project, and using email and social media to raise awareness and encourage petition and commentary against Duke’s Plan.  PAC has been in attendance at community meetings held by Duke and by the SC and NC public services commissions.  One of our Board members spoke at the recent NC Utilities Commission meeting in Hendersonville.

PAC’s Board of Directors has also issued a resolution objecting to and opposing the installation of high power transmission lines and associated towers in and across Polk County, Spartanburg County, and Greenville County.  PAC has submitted the resolution to the NC Utilities Commission and the SC Public Services Commission.

PAC has worked for 26 years to “Save the Places You Love!”  We have helped to preserve more than 8,600 acres to date and we are currently working on seven new land saving projects. We are proud of the work we have accomplished, and we pledge to stand by you and your intentions to preserve the conservation values on your property to the best of our ability.

Please, write your state utilities commission:

The North Carolina Utilities Commission, 4325 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699. General email: statements@ncuc.net.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission, 101 Executive Dr., No. 100, Columbia, S.C. 29210.  General email: contact@psc.sc.gov.


PAC’s second fall hike goes to Shortoff Mountain

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/25/15 (pg.9)

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 2, for a 4.4-mile, out and back, moderate/strenuous hike to Shortoff Mountain; the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  All of the 1,300 feet of elevation gain on this hike occurs in the first mile; it is a steady upward climb right from the trailhead.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Shortoff Mountain (elevation 2883′) is a large plateau with sheer cliffs along the rim.  It is located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness in Pisgah National Forests Grandfather Ranger District.  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 15-minute drive to the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 16nd over Green Knob (5,000′ elevation) along the Mountains to Sea Trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This hike provides beautiful views of Shining Rock Wilderness and Cold Mountain to the north and the Cradle of Forestry and Looking Glass Rock to the south, and fall foliage.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


The goats are back in Tryon!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/25/15 (pg. 31)

On the morning of Tuesday, September 22, Wells Farm delivered another crew of goats to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA.  The goats are already hard at work!  Their job?  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 have been working on the site twice a year, for three consecutive years.  This is their third, and final, visit to the site.

There are 19 Kiko goats on the 2-acre lot.  Kiko goats originated from New Zealand by crossing feral goats with dairy goats in the 1980s.  They were developed for fast growth, hardiness, and survivability with little input from the producer.

The goats are joined by Moses, an Anatolian Shepherd, who is at the site to protect the goats.

For more information about this project or PAC, please contact by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org/kudzu-eradication/.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

P1110886_1


The Pacolet Area Conservancy is fighting for you

Tryon Daily Bulletin, Letter to the Editor, 9/23/15

As many know, Duke Energy has announced a Western Carolinas Modernization Project that proposes several new transmission line routes through Polk County and the surrounding areas of northern Greenville County, northern Spartanburg County, and Henderson County.  These are areas where our economic well-being is inextricably tied to its stunning natural beauty and abundant green spaces.  All these areas would be severely damaged by the transmission line, wherever it is built.

The area proposed by Duke also includes some of the most ecologically important lands on the planet.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is honored to protect many properties with Conservation Easements, some of which are located within the “study area” proposed by Duke.  Unfortunately, these easement agreements cannot legally stop a utility from condemning rights-of-way for transmission lines.  But, so far, Duke Energy has skirted properties with Conservation Easements, remaining along the perimeter rather than driving right through them as it has done with so many other, unprotected properties.

Please rest assured that from the beginning, PAC has been working diligently to oppose the transmission lines that threaten 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.”

PAC has been in alliance with other land trusts in the area, in support of community groups that are in strong opposition to the proposed project, and using email and social media to raise awareness and encourage petition and commentary against Duke’s Plan.  PAC has been in attendance at community meetings held by Duke and by the SC and NC public services commissions.  One of our Board members spoke at the recent NC Utilities Commission meeting in Hendersonville.

PAC’s Board of Directors has also issued a resolution objecting to and opposing the installation of high power transmission lines and associated towers in and across Polk County, Spartanburg County, and Greenville County.  PAC has submitted the resolution to the NC Utilities Commission and the SC Public Services Commission.

PAC has worked for 26 years to “Save the Places You Love!”  We have helped to preserve more than 8,600 acres to date and we are currently working on seven new land saving projects. We are proud of the work we have accomplished, and we pledge to stand by you and your intentions to preserve the conservation values on your property to the best of our ability.

Please, write your state utilities commission:

The North Carolina Utilities Commission, 4325 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699. General email: statements@ncuc.net.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission, 101 Executive Dr., No. 100, Columbia, S.C. 29210.  General email: contact@psc.sc.gov.


PAC/WCP Program, “Unusual Native Plants of the Pacolet Region to Know and Grow,” Sept. 26

Polk County News Journal, 9/23/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Unusual Native Plants of the Pacolet Region to Know and Grow” presented by Dr. Larry Mellichamp.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, September 26, at 10:30 a.m.

The Carolinas in general – and the Pacolet Region in specific – are rich in native plant species that are well known to naturalists, native plant enthusiasts, and to gardeners.  However, there are unusual species lurking in the woods that are more elusive and worth seeking out.  The Pacolet region of the Carolinas has a very high diversity of wildflowers and woody plants due to its moderate climate and geologic location near the Hickory Nut Gorge and the Blue Ridge Escarpment.  Dr. Mellichamp will introduce some of the common and less common and intriguing plants of the region.

Dr. Mellichamp is a recently retired Professor of Botany and Horticulture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he taught for over 39 years.  He was also director of the University’s Botanical Gardens which consists of 10 acres of outdoor gardens including many native plants.  The new Mellichamp Natives Terrace Garden demonstrates the use of natives directly for the homeowner.  Dr. Mellichamp is an expert on native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs and he also studies carnivorous plants, especially Sarracenia pitcher plants.  He did much of his early research locally, along Pearson’s Falls Road.

He has written many technical and popular articles on plants and gardening, and has co-authored five books: including “The Winter Garden” (1997); “Bizarre Botanicals” with Paula Gross (2010); and most recently, “Native Plants of the Southeast (and their garden uses)” (2014). He has traveled extensively in the United States and has made trips to see unusual plants in Costa Rica, South Africa, Borneo, China, Australia, and most recently, Madagascar.

After the indoor portion of this program, participants are invited to join Dr. Mellichamp for a short walk to look at the native flora in Walnut Creek Preserve (weather permitting).  If you plan on participating in the walk, please dress appropriately and bring anything you might need while on the walk (water, snacks, medication, etc.).

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  The next PAC/WCP program will be held on October 31st when Dr. Tim Spira will present “The Magic of Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

by Pam Torlina

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Botanist, Dr. Larry Mellichamp, the presenter for the Sept. 26 PAC/WCP program at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at 10:30 a.m.


PAC’s Second Fall Hike Goes to Shortoff Mountain

Polk County News Journal, 9/23/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 2, for a 4.4-mile, out and back, moderate/strenuous hike to Shortoff Mountain; the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  All of the 1,300 feet of elevation gain on this hike occurs in the first mile; it is a steady upward climb right from the trailhead.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

Shortoff Mountain (elevation 2883′) is a large plateau with sheer cliffs along the rim.  It is located in the Linville Gorge Wilderness in Pisgah National Forests Grandfather Ranger District.  This hike offers spectacular panoramic views of the Linville Gorge, Tablerock, the Linville River, and Lake James.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one hour and 15-minute drive to the Shortoff Mountain Trailhead.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 16nd over Green Knob (5,000′ elevation) along the Mountains to Sea Trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This hike provides beautiful views of Shining Rock Wilderness and Cold Mountain to the north and the Cradle of Forestry and Looking Glass Rock to the south…and fall foliage!

by Pam Torlina

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A group of twenty-six participants joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for the first hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series in the Mills River Area of Pisgah National Forest.  PAC hikers, in no particular order, include Suzanne Engelmann, Don Clapp, April Field, Lois Torlina, Jean Shaw, Kieth Owen, Thomas Owen, Sandra Nicholson, Liz Dicey and Don Dicey and their dog Jack, David Mullen and Sue Mullen and their dog Jack, Linda Martin, Lynn Geier, Dan Easley, Barb Frew, Kevin Frew, Don Schlegel, Linda Watts, Bobbie McNutt, Vince Castello, Edith Castello, Carolyn Parker, Gail Gardner, and Pam Torlina (not pictured, Jackie Burke and Ford Smith (photographer)).

Orchid is Polk County’s most wanted plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/17/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Three Birds Orchid (Triphora trianthophora).

Three Birds Orchid is a beautiful and elusive native orchid.  The common name of this terrestrial orchid is an allusion to the appearance of the flower, said to resemble a bird.  The flower is snow white with highlights of lavender and green.  The leaves are simple and small.  It is a diminutive (6 inches tall, maximum) and easily overlooked orchid that prefers the shaded environs of rich woodlands.  It grows in dark, damp humus and leaf litter under American Beech and other broad-leaved trees.  Flowering occurs in during the months of August and September, usually following a drop in temperature, when nighttime temperatures fall 15-20 degrees lower than daytime highs.

Three Birds Orchid is not a common species but it is likely more abundant than records suggest.  Due to its cryptic appearance when not in flower, its sporadic and unpredictable occurrence, it is often overlooked.  There are historic records of this species from Polk County, but they are many decades old.  To look for this elusive woodland gem, it is often best to get on hands and knees and carefully scan the ground; an endeavor well worth the time if successful.

If you think that you have seen Three Birds Orchid or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata), Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri), Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix), Small-headed Blazing-star (Liatris microcephala), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), and others.

All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

PAC has also created a “Pocket Guide” of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” that can be printed and taken in the field!  The pocket guide can be accessed on PAC’s website too.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

USDA Forest Service and Eleanor SaulysThree Birds Orchid (Triphora trianthophora). (Photo by Eleanor Saulys)


Conservancy receives funds from Pacolet Milliken Enterprises

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/16/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) recently received a financial contribution from Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. for the purpose of developing a 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. Once created, PAC’s strategic plan will outline goals, objectives and strategies for the next five years.

PAC has hired David Allen, president of Development for Conservation in Madison, Wisconsin, to lead the initiative.

“David has deep experience in working with land trusts in developing strategic plans as well as fundraising. We are delighted to have him on board as we plan the future of our organization. With his assistance, we will move forward with a renewed focus on conserving land, freshwater resources and wildlife habitats in the Foothills and the Upstate,” says Mary Walter, Executive Director for PAC.

“We applaud the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s efforts to create and implement a strategic plan for the organization’s future growth, and are happy to support the decision to bring in an expert consultant to lead the process,” said Rick Webel, president of Pacolet Milliken. “Utilizing David’s resources and knowledge to build a strategic blueprint will allow PAC to develop measurable and attainable actions over the next five years.”

Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. is a private, family owned investment company with a history that dates back, through Milliken & Company, to the 1860’s. It was founded as a separate corporate entity in 2007 with a forward-looking mandate to preserve and grow its assets with a bias for quality and a multi-generational outlook. Their main office is currently located in Spartanburg.

Submitted by Mary Walter


PAC receives grant to study Polk’s flora, fauna

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/15/15 (pg. 23)

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) recently received a grant in the amount of $10,600 to study the flora and fauna of Polk County. Given by the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF), the grant will pay for Botanist David Campbell to conduct a thorough floristic and biodiversity study. Most counties in North Carolina have conducted systematic, scientific studies of the critical biological resources of their counties, but Polk County is one of only five counties in the state 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.

Two of the most devastating impacts on our natural environment today are loss of habitat and widespread invasive species. As invasive species spread and native species are lost, so are our options for future discovery and advancement. The impacts of biodiversity loss include fewer new medicines, greater vulnerability to natural disasters and greater effects from global warming. Floristic and biodiversity studies were conceived as tools to assist in overall land protection goals.

PAC Board President, Babs Strickland, states, “PAC is very grateful to PCCF for funding a study that is long overdue for our county. We know that the unique topography and varied elevations of Polk County mean that our biodiversity is particularly rich. David Campbell is an expert in the plants and animals of our area, and this grant allows us to pay him to uncover treasures we didn’t know we had. His report will provide a baseline for studying our natural resources in the future.”

PAC’s Board of Directors views this as a vital project, not only for the organization, in terms of strategic planning, but also for community benefit. PAC intends for this study to result in long-term benefits for generations to come, by creating a baseline inventory of the flora, fauna, and unique habitat types found in Polk County. Polk County has been considered by many botanists in the state as the “Jewel in the Crown” because of the rich diversity of plants.

The completed inventory and summary will be shared with several of the state’s departments such as DENER and Natural Heritage, as well as with Native Plant Societies in both North and South Carolina, The Nature Conservancy, Blue Ridge Forever, the University of North Carolina Herbarium, US Fish and Wildlife, and the National Park Service, to name a few.

The name David Campbell may sound familiar to area residents, as he has provided many articles to the Tryon Daily Bulletin called Polk County’s Most Wanted” in which he describes rare and unusual plants, animals, and habitats for area residents to be on the lookout for. Campbell reports that, thanks to leads from area residents, he has already made several exciting discoveries in Polk County, and he looks forward to finding many more.

Submitted by Mary Walter

David Campbell

David Campbell


PAC’s first fall hike goes to Pisgah National Forest on Sept. 18
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/15/15 (pg. 10)

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, September 18, for a 5.8-mile, moderate loop hike in Pisgah National Forest, in the Mills River Area; the first hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the trek.

The Mills River Area of Pisgah National Forest is the largest in the Pisgah Ranger District; it contains the largest trail complex in Pisgah National Forest.  Largely due to the wide expanses, lack of accessibility, and generally rugged terrain, trails in the Mills River Area tend to be more remote, less popular, and less traveled than their counterparts to the north (Bent Creek) or southwest (Davidson River), but they are in excellent condition.

This hike will cross and follow the South Mills River, leave the river and ascending to approximately 3,600′ in elevation, follow the ridgeline, more or less, then descend back to and along the South Mills River.  This loop trail has a total elevation change of approximately 1,200′ and traverses numerous streams, meandering through hardwood and coniferous forest that is lush with Rhododendron.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike in Pisgah National Forest, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers are asked to meet at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 45-minute drive to the Turkeypen Gap Trailhead.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.

For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 2nd to Shortoff Mountain in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, providing a beautiful vista of the surrounding mountains and gorge…and fall foliage!

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Suspension bridge_S Mills R

Suspension bridge, S. Mills River


Dick Wall to speak at PAC’s fall event “For Land’s Sake”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/11/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will host its annual fall fundraiser, “For Land’s Sake,” Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m. at one of PAC’s protected properties, the home of Rebecca Kemp.  Special guest will be Dick Wall, husband of the late Carol Wall, author of the book, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart.

The book is the first-person, nonfiction story about Carol Wall’s unlikely friendship with Giles Owita, a Kenyan-born landscape designer who took on the arduous task of rehabilitating Wall’s neglected yard in Roanoke, Virginia. More importantly, though, he tended to Wall’s wounded spirit. Diagnosed with cancer before she met Owita, Wall had begun to lose faith in her religion, humanity and herself. The book follows their blossoming friendship; their unusual relationship creating a bond that bridged their disparate backgrounds and taught them both about the wonderful secrets life has in store.

Betsy Miner, PAC Board member and chair of the event, states “We are so happy to have Mr. Wall at our event on the 24th. His story sounds captivating and we look forward to hearing from him. The Kemp property just off Jackson Grove Road is the perfect place to host our fall fundraiser. The land consists of over 20 acres and was preserved through a conservation easement in 2007. We hope that the community will support this great cause and buy tickets for the event. We’ll have dinner, music, a silent auction, and of course Mr. Wall’s presentation.”

For more information about the event, please call the PAC office at 859-5060.  PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to 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. (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and the goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide educational programs, emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices.

Submitted by Mary Walter


PAC’s Torlina offers presentation on fall migration of songbirds

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/10/15

Pam Torlina, director of Stewardship and Land Protection for the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), will be presenting ‘Fall Migration of Songbirds through the Southeast,’ Tuesday, Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m., at Tryon Seventh-day Adventist Church Morgan Center.

Torlina’s presentation will focus on the annual cycle of fall migration by sonbirds through the southeastern United States, the amazing feats these animal perform to ensure their species’ survival through the generations, and highlighting some of the species that will start arriving in our area this fall.

After the presentation, guests will be invited to get an up-close look at nests, feathers and even bird specimens (it is illegal to possess any part of a migratory bird without the proper permitting, and PAC is permitted by the federal government to collect and possess bird specimens to be used for educational purposes).

Torlina, a biologist, has been with PAC serving as the director of Stewardship & Land Protection for more than nine years.  She has nearly 20 years of experience as a field biologist, naturalist, and outdoor educator. She has worked with the South Carolina State Park Service, the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation-Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Torlina has also worked at the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, where she has performed annual migratory and breeding bird surveys; surveys on nocturnal owls, hawks and woodpeckers; presented educational programs on birds for adults and children; conducted nest searches and nest record data in the U.S. and Canada; participated in data collection for the most recent Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas; and she has volunteered with a licensed bird bander over the past several years.

To register or for more information, contact Lorna at 828-817-1544 or news@tryonsdachurchorg.

submitted by Lorna Rae Dever


Predator/prey relationships in Western North Carolina

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/25/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina” presented by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer, Toby Jenkins. The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 a.m. This will be a great program for adults and children alike, and there is no charge for the event.

Mr. Jenkins will present on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s law enforcement division and the duties, services, and responsibilities of the division.  He will also talk about the wildlife habitats in Polk County and the predator/prey relationships that occur in our region.  Mr. Jenkins has been a wildlife officer for almost 20 years, and he has been stationed in Polk County for the past18 years.

After the indoor portion of this program, participants are invited to join Mr. Jenkins for a short walk around the Nature Center to look for wildlife activity (weather permitting). Participants will learn how to identify clues – tracks, scat, etc. – left by wildlife inhabiting the preserve. If you plan on participating in the walk, please dress appropriately and bring anything you might need while on the walk (water, snacks, medication, etc.).

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy. 108 E. and turn left on Hwy. 9 toward Lake Lure. Follow Hwy. 9 north for five miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station). Go one mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road. Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve. Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. The next PAC/WCP program will be held on Sept. 26 when Larry Mellinchamp, author of “Native Plants of the Southeast: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 460 Species for the Garden,” will present on the native plants of the Southeast.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Toby Jenkins

North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer Toby Jenkins


PAC kicks off its Fall Hiking Series, Sept. 18

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/19/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for five Friday hikes offered this fall, free of charge. Starting Friday, September 18, PAC’s first hike will head to Pisgah National Forest, the Bradley Creek, Squirrel Gap, Poundingmill, and South Mills River trails for a 5.8-mile, moderate trek along the South Mills River, through hardwood and coniferous forests, and traversing numerous streams.

On October 2, just in time for the start of fall color, hikers will head to the Linville Gorge Wilderness for a 4.4-mile, moderate (with short sections strenuous) hike to Shortoff Mountain, offering spectacular panoramic views up the Linville Gorge and of Lake James.

On October 16, for more views autumn foliage, the group will head to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Mountains to Sea trail for a 6-mile, moderate hike over Green Knob.  The hike will offer beautiful views of Shining Rock Wilderness, Cold Mountain, and Looking Glass Rock.

On October 30, with the hope of more views of autumn leaf color, trekkers head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center for an approximately 3-mile hike to Purchase Knob.  This hike offers beautiful, long-distance views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Finally, on November 13, hikers will head to Pisgah National Forest to the Slate Rock Creek trails for a 6.8-mile, easy/moderate, hike in the Mills River area.  This hike crosses several streams and offers views of two waterfalls and several cascades on Slate Rock Creek.

Also, PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge!”  Complete all five Friday PAC hikes this fall and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment!

If you are interested in attending the PAC fall hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

Submitted by Pam Torlina

Linville_Gorge


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/18/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Cuthbert’s Turtlehead (Chelone cuthbertii).

Cuthbert’s Turtle head is a perennial herb of mountain bogs, wet meadows, sphagnum seeps, and swamp habitats.  It grows to be about 16-39 inches tall; its leaves are 2-5 inches long and ⅜-2 inches wide, lance-shaped with rounded bases, slightly toothed edges, and no leaf stalks.  The leaves are hairless except along the veins and pale green on the underside.  Flowers are ¾-1¼ inches long, pinkish-purple, tubular, inflated, two-lipped, and nearly closed at the tip; inside the flower is a tuft of yellow hairs, 4 fertile stamens, and a short, purple, sterile stamen.  The flower spikes are distinctly 4-sided when viewed from above.

Turtlehead flowers are cross-pollinated by bees that are specialized and large enough to push the nearly closed lips of the flower open, accessing large amount of nectar produced by the flower.     It’s best to look for this species during flowering; late July–September.

Little is known about the life history of this species in our area.  As far as we know, Cuthbert’s Turtlehead has never been found in Polk County; however, it is known from as close as Henderson County.  It is listed as “Significantly Rare and Limited” in N.C. and is a species of “Federal Concern.”

Cuthbert’s Turtlehead is similar to other Turtlehead’s that grow in our area and should not be confused with (1) Smooth Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), whose flowers are white with pink or purple tips, leaves that have tapered bases, shortleaf stalks, and sterile stamen that is green, or (2) Purple Turtlehead (C. obliqua) has purple flowers, its leaves have tapered bases, and the leaf stalks are up to ½ inch long.

If you think that you have seen Cuthbert’s Turtlehead or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Also, don’t forget to look for other Polk County’s Most Wanted plants that may be blooming at this time of year, such as Spotted Bee Balm (Monarda punctata var. arkansana), Yellow Giant-hyssop (Agastache nepetoides), Largeleaf Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia grandifolia), Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri), and others.  All of the Polk County’s Most Wanted can be viewed on the PAC website, www.pacolet.org.  Click on the “conservation” tab and scroll down and click on the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” tab.

submitted by Pam Torlina

Cuthbert's Turtlehead

Cuthbert’s Turtlehead (Chelone cuthbertii) (photo by JK Marlow)


Polk County’s Most Wanted: The Giant Stag Beetle

Polk County News Journal, 7/29/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” a spectacular and very distinctive species of insect – the Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus).

The Giant Stag Beetle is found throughout the wooded regions of the eastern United States and is probably most abundant in the southern Appalachian’s broad-leaved deciduous forests.  Therefore, Polk County represents prime habitat for this species, as appropriate habitat is abundant here.  Peak months of adult activity are May-July.

In common with other members of the Stag Beetle Family (Lucanidae), Giant Stag Beetles are sexually dimorphic, with males and females being physically distinct from one another.  The males are much larger than females and possess large mandibles for use in battling other males for mates (the name ‘Stag’ being derived from the resemblance of these jaws to the antlers of a deer).  Male Giant Stag Beetles may reach 60 mm in length, including their mandibles.  Although a male’s mandibles look formidable, they are relatively harmless as ‘pinchers’ and their diet consists primarily of sap flowing from wounded trees or rotting fruit.  Females, however, can give quite a good ‘pinch’ with their smaller jaws, these being used to chew holes in wood for egg-laying purposes.

Giant Stag Beetles have a long lifespan for an insect, with up to 6 years (or more) required for the larva to complete development and reach the adult stage.  This species requires large rotting deciduous trees and stumps within which to complete its life cycle.  Females lay eggs in the appropriate type of wood that the larvae will feed in, and the larvae (‘white grubs’) undergo several molts and eventually become quite large prior to pupation.  These beetles do not harm timber, as they only breed within wood that is already dead and beginning to decay.

Although not officially listed as threatened or rare in NC, some states are now keeping track of the decline of this beautiful and unique species.  There appears to have been a decline in this species’ numbers over the years due to habitat loss and the propensity of this species to be attracted to lights at night where they may become victims of foraging raccoons, opossums, and (by early morning) birds.  However, precise data are lacking, as relatively few observations have been made on this species range-wide, and there are some regions where one may still encounter it with some frequency.  There is simply no detailed representation of this species over its range.

If you feel you have seen this unique species around lights or a woodpile, etc., near your home or place of work, please attempt to document it with a picture (or specimen) and contact staff at the Pacolet Area Conservancy to report your sighting at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By David Campbell

lucanus_elaphusA male Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus)


Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/24/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal,” a spectacular and very distinctive species of insect – the Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus).

The Giant Stag Beetle is found throughout the wooded regions of the eastern United States and is probably most abundant in the southern Appalachian’s broad-leaved deciduous forests.  Therefore, Polk County represents prime habitat for this species, as appropriate habitat is abundant here.  Peak months of adult activity are May-July.

In common with other members of the Stag Beetle Family (Lucanidae), Giant Stag Beetles are sexually dimorphic, with males and females being physically distinct from one another.  The males are much larger than females and possess large mandibles for use in battling other males for mates (the name ‘Stag’ being derived from the resemblance of these jaws to the antlers of a deer).  Male Giant Stag Beetles may reach 60 mm in length, including their mandibles.  Although a male’s mandibles look formidable, they are relatively harmless as ‘pinchers’ and their diet consists primarily of sap flowing from wounded trees or rotting fruit.  Females, however, can give quite a good ‘pinch’ with their smaller jaws, these being used to chew holes in wood for egg-laying purposes.

Giant Stag Beetles have a long lifespan for an insect, with up to 6 years (or more) required for the larva to complete development and reach the adult stage.  This species requires large rotting deciduous trees and stumps within which to complete its life cycle.  Females lay eggs in the appropriate type of wood that the larvae will feed in, and the larvae (‘white grubs’) undergo several molts and eventually become quite large prior to pupation.  These beetles do not harm timber, as they only breed within wood that is already dead and beginning to decay.

Although not officially listed as threatened or rare in NC, some states are now keeping track of the decline of this beautiful and unique species.  There appears to have been a decline in this species’ numbers over the years due to habitat loss and the propensity of this species to be attracted to lights at night where they may become victims of foraging raccoons, opossums, and (by early morning) birds.  However, precise data are lacking, as relatively few observations have been made on this species range-wide, and there are some regions where one may still encounter it with some frequency.  There is simply no detailed representation of this species over its range.

If you feel you have seen this unique species around lights or a woodpile, etc., near your home or place of work, please attempt to document it with a picture (or specimen) and contact staff at the Pacolet Area Conservancy to report your sighting at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Submitted by David Campbell and Pam Torlina

lucanus_elaphus


They’re Ba-aaa-aaa-aa-ck!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/9/15

TDB 7-9-15


The Top 50 Mushrooms of Western North Carolina July 11

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 7/8/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Top 50 Mushrooms of Western North Carolina” presented by Charlotte Caplan.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, July 11, at 10:30 a.m.

The presentation will offer a look at some common mushrooms in our area and tips on how to recognize them.  The mushrooms presented will be those species that one can expect to see on any woodland hike in the summer and fall (unless it is too dry for mushrooms to appear).

Weather permitting, after the program participants will be invited to take a stroll on the Walnut Creek Preserve property to see what fungi can be found!

Charlotte Caplan has been collecting, studying, identifying, and eating fungi for 40 years, in both Europe and North America.  She started learning about mushrooms in Britain in 1975, and she was mainly self-taught because the British have no tradition of collecting wild mushrooms and there are very few clubs available.  Upon moving to the USA, to Savannah, GA, in 1986 there still seemed to be no one else interested in fungi.  But then, after moving to Asheville in 1998, it was like moving to the mushroom capital of the world!  There were not only huge varieties of fungi to be found, but also an active mushroom club!

Ms. Caplan is the past president of the Asheville Mushroom Club and she has led numerous field trips, presented to many mushroom clubs, and is an instructor for the NC Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Naturalist certification program.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

For an in-depth course on mushroom identification, PAC and WCP are hosting a Weekend Workshop on “An Introduction to the Summer Mushrooms and Fungi of North Carolina,” on August 1 and 2.  Visit http://pacolet.org/upcoming-events-hikes/ or call 828-859-5060 for more information.  There is a fee for the August 1 and 2 Workshop.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP free, Saturday morning program is scheduled for August 29th at 10:30 a.m. and will be presented by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer, Toby Jenkins who will speak about “Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

-By Pam Torlina

charlotte yellow morel II April 2009

Pictured: Presenter Charlotte Caplan pictured with a yellow Morel Mushroom. (Submitted by Charlotte Caplan)


The top 50 mushrooms of Western North Carolina

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/5/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Top 50 Mushrooms of Western North Carolina” presented by Charlotte Caplan.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, July 11, at 10:30 a.m.

The presentation will offer a look at some common mushrooms in our area and tips on how to recognize them.  The mushrooms presented will be those species that one can expect to see on any woodland hike in the summer and fall (unless it is too dry for mushrooms to appear).

Weather permitting, after the program participants will be invited to take a stroll on the Walnut Creek Preserve property to see what fungi can be found!

Charlotte Caplan has been collecting, studying, identifying, and eating fungi for 40 years, in both Europe and North America.  She started learning about mushrooms in Britain in 1975, and she was mainly self-taught because the British have no tradition of collecting wild mushrooms and there are very few clubs available.  Upon moving to the USA, to Savannah, GA, in 1986 there still seemed to be no one else interested in fungi.  But then, after moving to Asheville in 1998, it was like moving to the mushroom capital of the world!  There were not only huge varieties of fungi to be found, but also an active mushroom club!

Ms. Caplan is the past president of the Asheville Mushroom Club and she has led numerous field trips, presented to many mushroom clubs, and is an instructor for the NC Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Naturalist certification program.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

For an in-depth course on mushroom identification, PAC and WCP are hosting a Weekend Workshop on “An Introduction to the Summer Mushrooms and Fungi of North Carolina,” on August 1 and 2.  Visit http://pacolet.org/upcoming-events-hikes/ or call 828-859-5060 for more information.  There is a fee for the August 1 and 2 Workshop.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP free, Saturday morning program is scheduled for August 29th at 10:30 a.m. and will be presented by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer, Toby Jenkins who will speak about “Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina.”

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

submitted by Pam Torlina

charlotte yellow morel II April 2009

Charlotte Caplan


PAC & WCP offer a Weekend Workshop on Mushrooms!

Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 7/1/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) are offering a Weekend Workshop on Aug. 1 & 2, entitled, “An introduction to the Summer Mushrooms and Fungi of North Carolina,” instructed by mycologists Richard Baird and Jay Justice.

Using a combination of structured presentations and hands-on experience, this two day workshop will expose participants to macroscopic and microscopic techniques that will empower them with an increased familiarity and greater knowledge of the mushrooms and fungi that occur in North Carolina during the summer months.

The workshop will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., both days.

There is a fee for this workshop, $100 for PAC members and $125 for non-members. The fee covers two-day instruction, mushroom gathering basket, hand lens, and hand rake. Participants must bring meals and provide their own transportation and lodging.

Registration is required and space is limited to 20 participants.  Registration forms and more information about this workshop are available online at www. http://pacolet.org/upcoming-events-hikes/.  Registration deadline is July 18, 2015.

For more information contact PAC at (828)859-5060 or landprotection@pacolet.org.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and its goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

Chanterelle


 Community Hero Day at Polk County Public Library

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/19/15
DSC_0448
PAC volunteer, Liz Dicey, talks to children about Monarch butterflies & their habitat requirements.
DSC_0452
PAC volunteer, Ford Smith, helps a child plant milkweed seeds that the child can take home and plant for Monarch adults to lay eggs on!
Many families and friends of the library arrived Wednesday for an afternoon of fun with Polk County’s local heroes from Big Brothers Big Sisters, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, Lions Club, Pacolet Area Conservancy, Chimney Rock State Park, Foothills Humane Society, Polk County EMS, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Fire Department, Columbus Police Department, Polk Equine Emergency Rescue and Girl Scouts of America. (Photos by Michael O’Hearn)

PAC, WCP offer weekend workshop on mushrooms

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, June 26, 2015
The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) are offering a Weekend Workshop on Aug. 1 & 2, entitled, “An introduction to the Summer Mushrooms and Fungi of North Carolina,” instructed by mycologists Richard Baird and Jay Justice.

Using a combination of structured presentations and hands-on experience, this two day workshop will expose participants to macroscopic and microscopic techniques that will empower them with an increased familiarity and greater knowledge of the mushrooms and fungi that occur in North Carolina during the summer months.

The workshop will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., both days.

There is a fee for this workshop, $100 for PAC members and $125 for non-members. The fee covers two-day instruction, mushroom gathering basket, hand lens, and hand rake. Participants must bring meals and provide their own transportation and lodging.
Registration is required and space is limited to 20 participants.

Registration forms and more information about this workshop are available online at www. http://pacolet.org/upcoming-events-hikes/.  Registration deadline is July 18, 2015.

For more information contact PAC at (828)859-5060 or landprotection@pacolet.org.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

 –Submitted by Pam Torlina
Chanterelle
Chanterelle mushroom

PAC creates a Monarch butterfly habitat at the Polk Library
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/25/16

As part of a recent initiative by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) to raise awareness about the decline of the migratory Monarch butterfly due to habitat loss, as well as to create habitat for the Monarch butterfly, the PAC Education Committee and volunteers met at the Polk County Library on June 16 to create a Monarch Waystation/butterfly habitat.

PAC volunteers, Ford Smith, Edith Castello, Vince Castello, and Sue Mullen planted numerous native milkweeds and nectar plants in the butterfly garden, located at the back of the library.  The over 250 square foot area, containing eighty plants, will provide the necessary habitat requirements for the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly and create what is sure to be a beautiful butterfly garden for all to enjoy!

P1080439_f

PAC volunteers, Vince Castello, Sue Mullen, and Edith Castello getting ready to plant the Monarch butterfly garden at the Polk County Library. (photo by Ford Smith)

Also, on June 17, PAC was one of many presenters at the Polk County Library Community Hero Day.  Three members of the Education Committee, Ford Smith, Nadine Naujoks, and Liz Dicey, met with nearly 60 participants to talk about the important work that PAC is involved in, as well as to raise awareness about the population decline of the migratory Monarch butterfly.

Participants were invited to view the new Monarch butterfly habitat and plant three species of native milkweed to take home with them and plant in their yards to help increase habitat for the Monarch butterfly in our area.

P1080451_fPAC volunteer, Liz Dicey, is ready to talk about migratory Monarch butterflies at the Community Hero Day at the Polk County Library! (photo by Ford Smith)

PAC still has Monarch Waystation Seed Packets available, free of charge, which include approximately 100 seeds each, containing 8 varieties of nectar plants and 3 varieties of milkweed that are all native to Polk County.  Seed packets can be obtained from the PAC office at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, Mon. and Fri., 10-2, Tues., Wed. and Thurs., 9-5.  Let’s work together to save the migratory Monarch!

These projects were made possible thanks to a grant from Loti Woods.

For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the “Conservation” tab, then “Saving the Migratory Monarch.”


 Polk County’s Most Wanted: Pale Coneflower

Polk County News Journal, 6/24/15 &
PAC announces Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/25/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” a well-known group within the Aster family – the Coneflowers of the genus Echinacea.

Although popular and widely used as ornamental (and medicinal) plants that may be purchased at many garden centers, our wild populations of Echinacea are greatly reduced and under threat due to habitat loss, fire suppression, and/or over-collection.

Three species of Echinacea are native to North Carolina: Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Pale Coneflower (Echinacea pallida), and Smooth Coneflower (Echinacea laevigata).  All of our species of Echinacea have purple or pale pink flowers that, at maturity, are often greatly reflexed (pointing backwards).  Plants range from 30-90 cm in height, and stems may be hairy or smooth, depending upon the type of Coneflower.  Soils in which these species occur tend to be derived from nutrient rich mafic rocks.  Echinacea species require open situations with many hours of direct sunlight in order to thrive.  Typically denizens of prairies to the west of North Carolina, our Coneflowers may be found persisting along road banks, power line right of ways, railroad tracks, and open glades.

At the present time, none of these species have been verified as being native to Polk County, although the first two species, E. purpurea and E. pallida, do have surviving native populations in nearby Rutherford and McDowell Counties.

Interestingly, botanist Keith Bradley reports that his brother collected seed of Echinacea pallida in the Tryon region several years ago, with plants still surviving in his parents’ garden from this original collection.

One must be careful in ascertaining if occurrences of Echinacea in our region are natural or occasional garden escapees.  In the author’s experience, this genus has difficulty persisting for long as a ‘refugee’ of our planted landscapes.

Echinacea species are obvious and distinctive when seen.  If you feel you have observed any of our native species of purple-flowering Coneflowers, know where any might be located, or know of a likely habitat for them, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

submitted by Pam Torlina and David Campbell

Echinacea pallida_by David Campbell

Echinacea pallida (Photo by David Campbell)


 Stricklands receive statewide conservation award

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/21/15 & Polk County News Journal, 6/24/15

North Carolina’s 24 local land trusts bestowed their annual awards May 15th on deserving winners during a lunch celebration at the land trusts’ annual meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, N.C.

The N.C. Land Trust awards are given annually to businesses, nonprofits, governments, and individuals who lead efforts to protect the state’s streams and lakes, forests, farms, parkland and wildlife habitat, thereby protecting clean drinking water and air quality, local food, and outdoor recreation.

Babs and Bob Strickland received an award called the Stanback Volunteer Conservationist of the Year for their inspiring commitment to protecting land and nature education. They were nominated by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC).

Babs and Bob Strickland are inspirational advocates for education, conservation and the protection of natural areas.  Working with PAC, the Stricklands have protected 1,554 acres of fields, beautiful views and forested creek valleys known as Walnut Creek Preserve, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Stricklands also opened the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center in memory of their daughter. The 1,500-acre protected forest surrounding the Nature Center is a natural outdoor classroom for learning about native Southern Appalachian plants and animals. The Center is the home to nature programs offered by Walnut Creek Preserve in a partnership with The Pacolet Area Conservancy, with a goal to further an appreciation by young and old of the importance of the forest in our daily lives.

In addition to being active conservationists of their own land, Babs is currently Pacolet Area Conservancy’s Board President, where her time and talents are making a great impact.

The Polk County Community Foundation made it possible for seven PAC staff members, board, and committee members to attend this Southeast Land Trust Alliance conference at Kanuga. Land trust professionals from all over North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia attended the annual conference.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and the goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide educational programs, emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices.

submitted by Mary Walter

" "

Bob, left, and Babs Strickland, right were given the Stanback Volunteer Conservationist of the Year Award at a recent land trust conference in Hendersonville.  PAC’s Executive Director, Mary Walter, in in the center.


The Goats are Back in Tryon!

Polk County News Journal, 6/24/15

On the morning of Thursday, June 18th, Wells Farm delivered another 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 third, and final, year on the job.

There are 20 Kiko goats on the 2-acre site.  Kiko goats originated from New Zealand by crossing feral goats with dairy goats in the 1980s.  They were developed for fast growth, hardiness, and survivability with little input from the producer.

The goats are joined by Reba, an Anatolian Shepherd, who is at the site to protect the goats.

For more information about this project or PAC, please contact by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org/kudzu-eradication/.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

By Pam Torlina

P1110480(photo by Mary Walter)


 

Pacolet Area Conservancy presents Bears of the World

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/18/15 &
PAC/WCP Program – “Bears of the World with Emphasis on Their Reproduction,” June 27th!
Polk County News Journal, 6/24/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Bears of the World with Emphasis on Their Reproduction” presented by biologist, Bill Boone.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, June 27, at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Boone will present a general talk about the eight species of bears in the world; the five colors of black bears; what bears eat; where bears live; and safety as it pertains to living in black bear country. Finally, he will discuss his families’ 10-year involvement with the reproduction of black bears.

Bill Boone received his PhD in Reproductive Physiology and spent most of his career in the medical field as a Director of In Vitro Fertilization laboratories. He is now retired and lives in Tryon with his wife, Edna. As a hobby, Dr. Boone has spent numerous years conducting research on the American black bear.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP program, presented by Charlotte Caplan who will speak about mushrooms, will take place on July 11th at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

submitted by Pam Torlina

bear-black-ursus-americanus[1]


PAC Needs Volunteers!  Can you Help?
Polk County News Journal, 6/17/15
PAC is looking for volunteers to help with our Monarch butterfly habitat projects!
We need help with:
1. Picking up plants for PAC courtyard and Polk County Library projects (closed trailer and/or big, closed vehicle would be very helpful)
2. Laying out and planting the PAC courtyard (once grass is up and we have compost).
We’ll need to:
(a) dig a trench/swale near the back of the courtyard at the base of the hill for plants that like it a bit more wet,
(b) divert the neighbors downspout to the swale area,
(c) form the walk by excavating 4-5″ and installing the wood edging,
(d) prepare the beds by top dressing with compost (which would be worked into soil with plantings),
(e) strip the bark off locust post behind PAC office for a trellis support for the Dutchman’s Pipevine and placed about 2′ deep if possible, and backfilled with gravel.
3. Creating and planting a Monarch butterfly habitat at the Polk County Library.
Anyone know of someone with a Bobcat that would come and scrapbe up the grass in teh PAC courtyard?
If you can help, please call Pam at the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail her at landprotection@pacolet.org.

Spring is a time of discovery in the North Pacolet River Valley
Plough to Pantry, Spring 2015
P2P_p 62
P2P_p 63
by Frances Figart
Click here download the spring edition of Plough to Pantry

Grants available for land conservation in 2015

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/7/15

It’s not too late to take advantage of grants available to protect land and watersheds in 2015.  Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and waterways with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), the local land trust that will apply for grants on behalf of the landowner.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) is offering grants of up to $25,000 to help NC landowners protect their land and waterways with a voluntary conservation easement (agreement) in 2015.

Land conservation provides positive benefits to all area families, every single day, and these benefits don’t last for a day, a month, or even a year.  They last forever. Conserving natural lands provides numerous public benefits, such as safe drinking water, clean air, fresh and local foods, parks and trails for outdoor exercise, scenic views that boost the tourism economy, and extensive habitat for wildlife.

Perhaps the most important benefit of all is the satisfaction and peace of mind in knowing that you’ve preserved the land you love, guaranteeing that it will be as beautiful in the future as it is today.

The PAC, your local land trust, has been in existence for 26 years and welcomes the opportunity to discuss land conservation options with area landowners and answer any questions about land conservation and CTNC grants.

As an introduction, a conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as PAC) or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property.  Conservation values might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, scenic or cultural lands, etc.  Landowners continue to own and use their property and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

Grants available through CTNC provide a wonderful opportunity for landowners to protect their land and waterways.  These grants help landowners by covering the costs associated with placing a conservation easement on their property.  The grant will cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title opinion and title insurance, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation, project administration cost, appraisals, and legal fees.  Landowners that protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement may also qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements and the possibility of qualifying for this grant in 2015, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or info@pacolet.org.  Please note that the grant application and conservation easement process can take several months, so contact PAC soon to qualify for this great grant and land protection opportunity.

PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.

To date, PAC has helped protect over 8,600 acres of land.  PAC holds 68 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be preserved forever.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust founded in 1989 to protect and conserve natural resources, with emphasis on lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds (our mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.

-submitted by Pam Torlina


Butterfly habitat created at Wilder Forest

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/31/15

As part of a recent initiative by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) to raise awareness about the decline of the migratory Monarch butterfly due to habitat loss, as well as to create habitat for the Monarch butterfly, the PAC Education Committee met at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest on May 6 to create a Monarch Waystation/butterfly habitat in an area formerly covered in Kudzu!

Six committee members, Carole Bartol, Edith Castello, Liz Dicey, Nadine Naujoks, Marie King, and Judith Gosser, joined PAC’s Pam Torlina and planted numerous Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), a larval host plant of the Monarch butterfly, and native nectar plants to create what is sure to be a beautiful butterfly garden!

The nearly 200 square feet area, containing seventy plants, has been registered as a Monarch Waystation with Monarch Watch and will provide the necessary habitat requirements for the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly.

Thanks to the years of dedication by the PAC “Kudzu Warriors,” a group of volunteers that meets at Norman Wilder Forest every Monday to eradicate Kudzu from the site, the area formerly covered with Kudzu can now be used for habitat restoration and native plants continue to fill the area once suffocated by Kudzu.  As PAC continues to eradicate Kudzu from the site, there are plans for more habitat restoration efforts on the protected property.

This project was made possible thanks to a grant from Loti Woods and a donation of plants by Don and Liz Dicey.

For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the “Conservation” tab, then “Saving the Migratory Monarch.”

Submitted by Pam Torlina

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PAC Education Committee members, Carole Bartol, Edith Castello, Liz Dicey, Nadine Naujoks, Marie King, and Judith Gosser plan a Monarch Waystation at PAC’s Norman Wilder Forest. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Seed packets for growing butterfly habitat
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/29/15

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.

A limited number of Monarch Waystation Seed Packets are available, free of charge, on a first come first served basis.  Seed packets can be obtained from the PAC office at 850 N. Trade St., Tryon, Mon. and Fri., 10-2, Tues., Wed. and Thurs., 9-5.  Let’s work together to save the migratory Monarch!

For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, click on the “Conservation” tab, then “Saving the Migratory Monarch.”

monarch-butterflies-on-a-flower

A Monarch butterfly needs flower nectar for the energy to fly to its overwintering grounds.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


Bragging about PAC in borrowed boots
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/21/15

My father was the president of the Carolina Mountain Club when I was a child growing up in Asheville. Some fathers spent their Sundays on a golf course; mine was on a hike.

My dad still hikes weekly, and is still a member of the club. At 80 years old, he’s also in great shape.

I cannot boast the same great shape for myself, and must confess, I did not get the hiking gene from my father.

When a California friend recommended a great hike to me once, she amended her review of it at seeing the expression on my face, and promised it was just a “prissy hike.”

I could probably handle a prissy hike, but not much more.

When a photographer in L.A. hired me to shoot some stock photos of a hiking couple, I had to borrow the wardrobe. If you ever see a photo of me and a gray-haired man hiking in some dime store frame or an ad for erectile dysfunction, that’s not my husband. And those aren’t my hiking boots. It’s all Hollywood magic.

When I moved to Tryon nearly four years ago, I couldn’t help but notice all the spectacular mountains within view, and I knew there was probably some great hiking, both prissy and otherwise.

What I didn’t know was that there was an organization called the Pacolet Area Conservancy.

PAC first caught my attention on Facebook when I saw they had partnered with Foothills Humane Society to schedule hikes that included shelter dogs. Hikers could spring the homeless pooches for the day for a walk in the woods. As an animal rescuer and advocate for homeless pets, this idea made me very happy. Almost as happy as a dog on a hike.

I decided to learn more about PAC, which is as easy turning to someone and asking, “Do you know anything about PAC?” at a cocktail party/art opening/Friday night at La Booty.

Apparently, there are lots of people here who hike/love nature/are not prissy/know about PAC.

PAC’s mission is “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.”

Learning this was a watershed moment for me. (Not really, but I couldn’t resist using the word twice in a row.)

Founded in 1989, PAC is a non-profit Tryon-based land trust that protects and serves our natural resources. The organization works with landowners through voluntary agreements (easements) to allow them to continue to own their property while preserving them.

By helping landowners to preserve their land, PAC is protecting the future of our forests, wildlife, and scenic vistas. PAC holds 68 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land, helping to protect over 8,600 acres of land in the area.

If you check their website, pacolet.org, you’ll find links to maps of hiking trails, walking paths, and playgrounds all around Tryon as well as PAC’s organized hiking series.

PAC also partners with the Walnut Creek Preserve, offering monthly family-friendly free Saturday morning programs at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center. Be there June 27 at 10:30 a.m. to hear biologist Bill Boone talk about bears and bear reproduction. I’m not going to make a joke about that.

PAC relies on the generosity of the community, and making donations is as easy as clicking a button on their website. You can also volunteer in many ways—by serving on a committee, helping with events, trail maintenance, or native plant rescue.

If your Monday mornings are free, you can join PAC’s “Kudzu Warriors” and help eradicate kudzu and other non-native invasive species of plants. What better way is there to start your week than doing battle with bad plants?

I like the idea of becoming a PAC Kudzu Warrior, although I’m not sure I have the wardrobe for it. I might need to borrow some boots. And maybe some matching gloves. Do you think they have a prissy division? That sounds good to me. I hope to see you there.

by Susan McNabb


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant: Indian Paintbrush

Polk County News Journal, 5/20/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea), a unique and beautiful plant that blooms during the month of May.

The genus Castilleja contains only a single species in North Carolina, but there are many additional species of Castilleja that are found in western North America.  Castilleja belongs to the Broomrape family, Orobanchaceae.

A colorful plant adorned with red, yellow, and green, Indian Paintbrush has a preference for the types of basic soils that are not uncommon within Polk County.  Preferred habitats are always sunny and include sites that can be quite wet (even around waterfalls) and even dry fields and open glades.  Indian Paintbrush ranges from four inches in height to just over two feet.  The colorful ‘flowers’ are actually the calyces (singular is calyx) that serve to attract pollinators (often Hummingbirds) drawn in by the red coloration of the ‘flower.’

An interesting aspect about Indian Paintbrush is that it has a hemiparasitic lifestyle. Hemiparasites are plants that are capable of photosynthesis, but also require a host plant to complete development.  Host plants utilized by Indian Paintbrush often include various species of grasses, such as Little Bluestem.  The life cycle typically requires two years to complete, with the first years spent as a small rosette of leaves close to the ground.  Flowering occurs during the second year of the plant’s life.

Indian Paintbrush has a wide distribution throughout eastern North America and can be quite numerous at certain localities; however, fire suppression and the historic loss of large grazing mammals has rendered this species uncommon to rare in some parts of its range.

There are several reports of Indian Paintbrush from Polk County, but none are recent.  Keep an eye out for this species in open grassy areas, streamside edges, power line rights of way, and rocky, open situations that receive large amounts of sunlight.  Plants are conspicuous and readily seen from a distance.

If you think that you have seen this plant, know where it might be located, or know of a likely habitat for it, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by David Campbell

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Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) in bloom. (photo by Keith Bradley)


PAC to present The American Chestnut Restoration Project

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/13/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The American Chestnut Restoration Project” presented by Don Surrette.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, May 16, at 10:30 a.m.

Don Surrette will present on restoration efforts of the American Chestnut tree, as well as the regional historical connections to these once mighty giants of the eastern forests.

American Chestnut tree once reigned over 200 million acres of the east coast, from Maine to Georgia, from the Piedmont plateau in the Carolinas west to the Ohio Valley, until a lethal fungus functionally eliminated it from the landscape during the first half of the 20th century.

American Chestnut trees once stood up to 100 feet tall and numbered in the billions. This iconic species was a vital part of the forest ecology, a key food source for wildlife, and an essential component of the economy. In 1904, the fungal pathogen responsible for chestnut blight was accidentally imported from Asia, and the blight spread rapidly through the American Chestnut population.  By 1950, it killed virtually all of the mature trees from Maine to Georgia.  There were several attempts to breed blight-resistant trees in the mid-1900s, but all were unsuccessful.

In 1983, a dedicated group of scientists formed The American Chestnut Foundation and began a special breeding process, backcross breeding, which in 2005 produced the first potentially blight-resistant trees called Restoration Chestnuts 1.0.  Now assisted by nearly 6,000 members and volunteers in 16 state chapters, the organization is undertaking the planting of Restoration Chestnuts 1.0 in select locations throughout the eastern U.S. as part of the Foundation’s early restoration efforts.

Don Surrette, a native of Transylvania County, has lived in the area most of his life. He retired from AGFA Corporation in 2000 with 30 years of service.  He is a charter member of the Carolina’s Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and past board member.  Join PAC for his presentation on these mighty giants and find out how you can grow your own American Chestnut tree and/or get involved with TACF.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP program, presented by Biologist, Bill Boone will speak about bears and bear reproduction, and it will take place on June 27th at 10:30 a.m.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


“The American Chestnut Restoration Project” May 16th

Polk County News Journal, 5/13/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The American Chestnut Restoration Project” presented by Don Surrette.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, May 16, at 10:30 a.m.

Don Surrette will present on restoration efforts of the American Chestnut tree, as well as the regional historical connections to these once mighty giants of the eastern forests.

American Chestnut tree once reigned over 200 million acres of the east coast, from Maine to Georgia, from the Piedmont plateau in the Carolinas west to the Ohio Valley, until a lethal fungus functionally eliminated it from the landscape during the first half of the 20th century.

American Chestnut trees once stood up to 100 feet tall and numbered in the billions. This iconic species was a vital part of the forest ecology, a key food source for wildlife, and an essential component of the economy. In 1904, the fungal pathogen responsible for chestnut blight was accidentally imported from Asia, and the blight spread rapidly through the American Chestnut population.  By 1950, it killed virtually all of the mature trees from Maine to Georgia.  There were several attempts to breed blight-resistant trees in the mid-1900s, but all were unsuccessful.

In 1983, a dedicated group of scientists formed The American Chestnut Foundation and began a special breeding process, backcross breeding, which in 2005 produced the first potentially blight-resistant trees called Restoration Chestnuts 1.0.  Now assisted by nearly 6,000 members and volunteers in 16 state chapters, the organization is undertaking the planting of Restoration Chestnuts 1.0 in select locations throughout the eastern U.S. as part of the Foundation’s early restoration efforts.

Don Surrette, a native of Transylvania County, has lived in the area most of his life. He retired from AGFA Corporation in 2000 with 30 years of service.  He is a charter member of the Carolina’s Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) and past board member.  Join PAC for his presentation on these mighty giants and find out how you can grow your own American Chestnut tree and/or get involved with TACF.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP program, presented by Biologist, Bill Boone will speak about bears and bear reproduction, and it will take place on June 27th at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

TACF-Meadowview-Farm110616-185_8x12_300dpi_f


PAC holds annual meeting

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/29/15

Though admitting that he was preaching to the choir, Jay Leutze, author and guest speaker at Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC’s) April 21 annual meeting, nonetheless inspired those attending.

Leutze, author of Stand Up That Mountain, the story of North Carolina mountaineers fighting a mining company that violated a state mining law, threatening the integrity of that mountain community and the nearby Appalachian Trail, became part of the battle.

His book eloquently describes his and his mountain neighbors’ outdoor passion.

“Nothing connects to a healthy landscape with more intimacy than water,” Leutze contended.  Th meeting was held at the Tryon Youth Center, which sits along the bank of the scenic Pacolet River, and within an area of scenic mountain streams.

“Water connects us to life,” Leutze continued.

Leutze, a non-practicing attorney when his mountain neighbors first informed him of the violation, admitted that the struggle to save Belview Mountain caused him to spend so much time in courtrooms.  He did so willingly because “I was invested in this type of landscape.  This is worth fighting for,” he continued.

“I’m a land guy,” Leutze remarked, declaring “I am a local conservation fanatic.”

He noted that with meager resources for state and federal matching dollars to protect land, “You win some and you lose some.”  Leutze also noted that more land has been protected in the U.S. than lost to sprawl.

Most book tours last about a month or month and one-half, said Leutze, who related that he’s been touring and speaking about his book for three years.

Leutze encouraged PAC members and guests to “remain involved…remain in a straight cause.”

In other PAC business, Board President Barbara “Babs” Strickland recognized land easement holders, reminding them, “Without you, this organization would not exist.  That’s what it’s all about.”

PAC’s land acquisition manager Pam Torlina announced that goats will soon return to help control kudzu at the lot near the Tryon IGA.

Torlina also discussed PAC’s efforts to provided habitat for threatened monarch butterflies, including making native plants (milkweed and others) available for planting.  Torlina also explained that native beetles will soon be placed in areas where the hemlock woolly adelgid (an insect species on which the beetles prey) is attaching hemlock trees.

PAC Executive Director Mary Walter thanked Torlina, remarking, “We’re so fortunate to have such a great scientist on our staff.”

Walter also presented an award to recent board president Elizabeth “Dibbit” Lamb, honoring Lamb’s service.

For more information on PAC activities, including hikes, go to pacolet.org.

Article submitted by Mark Schmerling


PAC’s Final Spring Hike to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/25/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, May 1, for a 6.5-mile, strenuous hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP); the final hike of PAC’s Spring Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will be leading the hike.

The hike starts at the Smokemont campground and parallels the Bradley Fork of the Oconaluftee River.  Then, the trail crosses the Fork and steadily ascends Richland Mountain to a height of 3,550 feet in elevation, a gain of 1,350 ft. elev. in just under 2-miles.  After the long, steady ascent, hikers will enjoy a break for lunch then descend Richland Mountain, making their way to the Oconaluftee River.  At this point, the group will take a short jaunt to visit the Bradley Cemetery which dates to the late nineteenth century.  After visiting the historic site, hikers will resume the trail that parallels the River and leads back to the campground.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at the GSMNP, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Those interested in using this hike as an opportunity to camp at the park can make a reservation by visiting www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Hikers will be meeting at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1.75 hour drive to the park.  For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.    In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

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(L to R) Dana Mayer and her dog, Rosie, Ellie Cox, Liz Dicey and her dog, Jack, Carol McCall, Edith Castello and her dog, Little Dickens, Dawn McCullough and her dog, Jean Shaw, Ford Smith and Rodger, a Foothills Humane Society (FHS) shelter dog in need of adoption, Vince Castello, and Don Dicey with Adel, a FHS adoptee on the April 18th PAC/FHS hike at Ashmore Heritage Preserve


Polk County’s Most Wanted—Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/22/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Curlyheads (Clematis ochroleuca).

As the genus name indicates, Curlyheads is a member of a group beloved by gardeners the world over, Clematis.  However, unlike many species of Clematis in cultivation, Curlyheads is not a vine, but an upright, herbaceous plant from ten to twenty inches in height on average.  Mid to late spring is the season to look for the blossoms of this species, which are a lovely white color.

With a distribution centered in the southeastern U.S., Curlyheads prefers soils that are relatively basic to circumneutral in pH and on the drier side of the moisture spectrum.  Open hillsides, ridgetops, bluffs, and glades are preferred habitats for this species.  Locations with an abundance of sunshine will produce the most flowers.  Sometimes, populations of this plant show no evidence of flowering due to shade or herbivory from deer that have eaten all of the flowers before they can produce seed.  Like other species of Clematis, Curlyheads has spectacular looking seeds that are surrounded by ‘hairy’ appendages that help to disperse the seed from the parent plant; often the seed heads are more obvious than the flowers.

There are historic records of Curlyheads from Polk County, but these records are many decades old.  Searching in relatively open and dry, Basic Oak-Hickory forests, in glades or along ridgetops, might be the best bet to find this beautiful and elusive species.

If you think that you have seen this plant, know where it might be located, or know of a likely habitat for it, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Article submitted by Pam Torlina

Clematis ochroleuca

Clematis ochroleuca (photo by Will Stewart)


The Peregrine Falcon is re-introduced to WNC

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/21/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “The Re-introduction of the Peregrine Falcon to Western North Carolina” presented by Zora Rhodes.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m. This will be a great program for adults and children alike.

Zora Rhodes recently retired from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission where she worked as the Assistant Chief of Wildlife Conservation Education.  She has been sharing her knowledge and love of science, nature, and education with the public for over 40 years.  During her presentation, Zora will be discussing the re-introduction of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) to western North Carolina, specifically, Chimney Rock State Park in the Hickory Nut Gorge near the Town of Lake Lure, where she has been monitoring the birds for several years.

The Peregrine Falcon reaches faster speeds than any other animal on the planet when performing a stoop (a steep dive). These agile birds prefer to nest on tall cliff edges.  Sadly, due to the use of organochlorine pesticides, especially DDT, during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Peregrine (as well as many other raptors) numbers declined rapidly, and the birds became extirpated from the eastern United States, resulting in them being placed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species list.  Thanks to many hardworking people, and the banning of organochlorine pesticides, the Peregrine Falcon has been making a recovery, and a pair of Peregrine Falcon has established a nesting site at Chimney Rock State Park where they have been successful in raising young.

After the presentation, those interested are invited to caravan to the Town of Chimney Rock at the Old Rock Café where Zora will set up a spotting scope on the aerie (nest of a bird on a cliff) of the resident Peregrine Falcon at Chimney Rock State Park.  The Town will also be celebrating Earth Day on the 25th and wildlife rehabilitator, Steve Longnecker, will be at the Café with a live Peregrine Falcon and an American Kestrel, the smallest falcon in North America. There will be many other great, family friendly activities going on at the Café too.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP program, presented by Don Surrette, will be on the efforts to create a blight resistant American Chestnut tree, and it will take place on May 16th at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

written by Pam Torlina

Perigrine2-Chimney-Rock by Jerry Johnson_2

Peregrine Falcon at Chimney Rock Park. (photo by Jerry Johnson)


PAC to hold annual meeting

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/17/15

Please join the Pacolet Area Conservancy on Tuesday, April 21 at 5 p.m. for our annual meeting, whick will be held at the Tryon Youth Center.

Our guest speaker will be, Jay Leutze, award-winning conervationist and author of “Stand up that Mountain.”

Leutze’s book is a true story about fightiing the good fight to presesrve the Appalachian Trail and its wonderful vistas in the face of a corrupt process to exploit the natural resources of the North Carolina mountains.

The book has been a huge sucess and has made Jay quite the celebrity in conservation circles around the country.

Jay has continued to expand his efforts as an award-winning conservationist, particularly with regard to preserving tracts of natural beauty and wildlife habitat in Western North Carolina.

Pizza and salad will be served.
There is a $10 charge for each person.
submitted by Mary Walter
jay leutz photo
Jay Leutze

Saving Migratory Monarchs

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/16/15

After spending the winter in Central Mexico’s high-elevation Oyamel Fir Forest, millions of Monarch butterflies are back on the move this spring.  The insects will travel 25-30 miles a day and up to 1,500 miles, north and east toward breeding grounds stretching from coast to coast across the United States and as far north as southern Canada.

In the fall, ninety-nine percent of North America’s Monarch population makes the return trip to Mexico, migrating to a specific site in the Oyamel Fir Forest to roost for the winter.  In 1993, scientists began recording the number of Monarchs at this site; in 2014, the number of Monarch butterflies reached an all-time low.

According to scientists, the Monarch population in North America has declined by more than 80% from its average during the past two decades, and by more than 90% from its peak in the mid-1990s.  Currently, the migratory Monarch butterfly population remains very small and very vulnerable.

North America’s Monarch migration is one of the greatest natural history spectacles on Earth.  While many bird species migrate, the Monarch migration is unique in the fact that it takes place over several generations.  Butterflies flying to Mexico in the fall are the great-grandchildren of insects that departed the previous spring.  These individuals have never seen their winter habitat and how they find their way to these specific sites remains a mystery.

On their wintering grounds, the butterflies show extreme site fidelity and only utilize a small portion of available habitat.  Their winter habitat must be warm enough to prevent freezing but cool enough to prevent them from reproducing and burning up fat reserves necessary in order to migrate north in the spring.  Therefore, conservationists initially focused on protecting these Mexican forests.  Now, the threat to the Monarch stems from the U.S. side of the boarder.  Destruction of habitat across the butterflies’ breeding range is resulting in a significant decline of this truly unique species.

As a result of changing agricultural practices in the Midwest (the main Monarch migration path), host plants for Monarch larvae, milkweeds, as well as other nectar plants needed by adult Monarchs for fuel during migration, are being killed off by herbicides.  The conversion of many grasslands and rangelands in the Midwest to a monoculture of corn and soybeans has eliminated much of the Monarch habitat, and pest management on these farms destroys the remaining prairie plants needed by the Monarch (and other pollinators), making the feat of this unique, multi-generational migration and the perpetuation of this species a most difficult task.

In 2014, President Barack Obama met with Mexico’s President and Canada’s Prime Minister to create a three-nation working group aimed at generating a strategy to protect not only Monarch butterflies but also bees and other pollinators.  There is also a petition to list the Monarch butterfly as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Meanwhile, many non-governmental groups, including the Pacolet Area Conservancy (thanks to a grant from Loti Woods),  are encouraging their members, partners, and area residents to restore milkweed and native nectar-plant habitat for Monarchs.  The need is critical.  According to one source, “one million acres of milkweed must be planted annually to keep pace with new losses…it will require this to be one of the largest habitat-restoration programs ever attempted in the world; but it can be done.”

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will be working with area schools, clubs, groups, and citizens to raise awareness about the Monarch butterfly, its habitat loss, and restoration efforts.  In the meantime, area residents are urged to plant milkweed, the host plant for the larval stage of the Monarch butterfly.  But, the milkweed must be native to our region and pesticide-free!  In addition to planting native milkweed, people are encouraged to plant native nectar plants which will entice the butterflies to the milkweed and provide them with energy to complete their lifecycle.

Please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, under the “Conservation” tab, for more information on this topic.

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article

written by Pam Torlina

monarch on milkweed

A Monarch butterfly alights on a milkweed plant.


Join PAC for two great hikes next week

Polk County News Journal, 4/15/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 17, for a 4-mile hike on a private property protected by conservation easement with PAC and located along the Green River.  The moderate loop hike will lead trekkers through a maturing forest laden with wildflowers, along several streams with beautiful cascades, to a waterfall, and to the Green River.

Space is limited. Hikers must sign up for this hike in order to attend, and no dogs are allowed.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike on this protected property, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the BiLo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to arrange car-pooling and start the approximately 15-minute drive to the property.

On Saturday, April 18, hikers, and their dogs (on a leash), are invited to join PAC and Foothills Humane Society for a hike in a celebration of Earth Day!  The 4-mile, moderate, out & back hike with a loop will take place at Ashmore Heritage Preserve, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources managed Preserve.  The trail will loop around Lake Wattacoo, a man-made lake at the base of Campbell Mountain/the Blue Wall escarpment and provide a view of Ashmore Falls. The preserve features a natural bog which creates favorable habitat for rare plants and other species unique to the region.

If anyone is interested in giving a shelter dog a break and taking it for a walk on the day of the hike, please contact Dana Mayer, of Foothills Humane Society, several days before the hike for an interview and pairing with the appropriate dog.  Dana can be reached at 828-243-1852.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/FHS hike at Ashmore Heritage Preserve, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC at 9:15 a.m. to arrange car-pooling and start the approximately 30-minute drive to the property.

For both hikes, hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and for the April 18th hike, dogs must be on a leash and accustomed to being around many other dogs.  Bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water (don’t forget snacks for your pooch!).  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the afternoon.  In case of inclement weather, please check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend other hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for May 1 on the Smokemont trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

written by Pam Torlina

doggies

The PAC/FHS hike at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve on 4/27/14


Join PAC for two great hikes next week

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/10/15

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, April 17, for a 4-mile hike on a private property protected by conservation easement with PAC and located along the Green River.  The moderate loop hike will lead trekkers through a maturing forest laden with wildflowers, along several streams with beautiful cascades, to a waterfall, and to the Green River.

Space is limited. Hikers must sign up for this hike in order to attend, and no dogs are allowed.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike on this protected property, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the BiLo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to arrange car-pooling and start the approximately 15-minute drive to the property.

On Saturday, April 18, hikers, and their dogs (on a leash), are invited to join PAC and Foothills Humane Society for a hike in a celebration of Earth Day!  The 4-mile, moderate, out & back hike with a loop will take place at Ashmore Heritage Preserve, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources managed Preserve.  The trail will loop around Lake Wattacoo, a man-made lake at the base of Campbell Mountain/the Blue Wall escarpment and provide a view of Ashmore Falls. The preserve features a natural bog which creates favorable habitat for rare plants and other species unique to the region.

If anyone is interested in giving a shelter dog a break and taking it for a walk on the day of the hike, please contact Dana Mayer, of Foothills Humane Society, several days before the hike for an interview and pairing with the appropriate dog.  Dana can be reached at 828-243-1852.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/FHS hike at Ashmore Heritage Preserve, free of charge, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC at 9:15 a.m. to arrange car-pooling and start the approximately 30-minute drive to the property.

For both hikes, hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and for the April 18th hike, dogs must be on a leash and accustomed to being around many other dogs.  Bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water (don’t forget snacks for your pooch!).  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the afternoon.  In case of inclement weather, please check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend other hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for May 1 on the Smokemont trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Submitted by Pam Torlina


Most wanted species captured by PAC

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 4/5/15

Thanks to the help of the community, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has been successful in capturing six “Most Wanted” species in Polk County!

Although these species have been located in the county, PAC is still interested in finding more locations of these plants and other fugitive “Most Wanted” species, so please be on the look out!

For more information on these and additional “Most Wanted” species in the county, please visit PAC’s website page dedicated to this “Most Wanted” project, http://pacolet.org/polk-countys-most-wanted-plants-animals/.

PAC welcomes all tips and information about “Most Wanted” species in our community and understands that people may be reluctant to report or become involved with a “Wanted” sighting.  Therefore, people can provide information about “Wanted” species privately or anonymously by calling 828-859-5060 or by e-mailing locations or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and to document the species present in the county.

Thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy is conducting a floristic and biodiversity study of the county and hopes to provide much more exciting information about the natural history of the area.

polks most wanted


 Hope for the hemlock in Adelgid fight

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/31/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy’s (PAC) Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, recently attended a two-day Community Training Workshop on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) (Adelges tsugae).  The workshop was funded by a grant from the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and was offered through a partnership between Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development, the NC Forest Service, and the NC Cooperative Extension Service.  The two-day workshop provided exciting information about the quest to find a way to save the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina Hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) in western NC by providing a long term and effective way to manage HWA.

As many know, hemlocks in our area (and up and down the East Coast) have been suffering and dying over the past several years, and many have feared that hemlocks may completely disappear from our landscape, much like that of the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata); however, the tables have turned!  Updated information provided by Dr. Richard C. McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, suggests a solution that can help save this beloved and ecologically significant tree!

The plight of the hemlocks has been an important issue for Torlina since she was made aware of it in 2003.  In fact, she devoted her Senior Seminar (the capstone course for biology majors) at the University of South Carolina Upstate in 2006 to this topic.  At that time, research stated that (1) HWA, an aphid-like insect, invading hemlock trees was not native to North America, (2) that each HWA adult could lay up to 300 eggs, asexually, twice a year, (3) there were no native predators of HWA in North America, and (4) hemlocks were doomed.

Since that time, research into predator beetles by government, university, and private entities has continued, with variable results.  However, during the workshop that Torlina attended, presenters offered a spark of hope.  First, it was explained that HWA found in our eastern forests is actually closely related to the HWA native to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) in North America.  Second, HWA in eastern forests lay fewer eggs (dependent on temperature and elevation).  Third, there is a natural predator of HWA from North America, also from the PNW; the Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”) beetle, and fourth, (the spark turns into fireworks) hemlocks are not doomed!

Dr. Richard C. McDonald, “Dr. McBug,” has been working with “Lari” since its introduction to NC in 2006.  At that time, he made an initial, small release in Banner Elk, NC. Since that time, Dr. McDonald has been able to recover adult beetles from year to year, and after successful establishment larvae and beetles have been found on surrounding hemlocks, and the native “Lari” beetles are spreading rapidly!  As the level of infestation on the hemlocks decreased, trees were able to initiate new needle growth.   More releases were made in the area and the hemlocks all around Banner Elk and beyond are living…and thriving!

HWA is not eradicated from these areas, and it probably never will be, but now there is a predator in place that can help create a natural balance.  The “Lari” beetle and its larvae prey on HWA, decreasing the number of HWA to the point that dieback ceases and the hemlock can produce new growth.

The “Lari” beetle is a winter feeder of HWA, relying on HWA for all stages of development; they feed on HWA from October through May.  During this time, a female “Lari” beetle lays 200-400 eggs.  Each “Lari” larva needs to eat approximately 235 HWA eggs to reach maturity.  Research continues with the discovery of a summer predator of HWA, as well.

As part of this workshop, Torlina received training for monitoring predation of HWA by “Lari” beetles, collecting beetles from areas where they are actively feeding, and also how to release beetles into other HWA infested areas.  PAC will be receiving a “starter kit” of “Lari” beetles to release at a preselected site in Polk County.  This initial group of beetles will be the start of a “Lari beetle farm” armed to prey on HWA in our area.  Over time, PAC will be able to collect “Lari” beetles and release them on other hemlocks in the area to continue preserving our native forest health.

Even with all of this progress in the fight to save our hemlocks, there is much more research that needs to be conducted.  If people are interested in donating in support of further research development in this field, please contact Dr. Richard C. McDonald at drmcbug@skybest.com, and if people are interested in contributing to PAC to secure more “Lari” beetles for release in Polk County, to save our hemlocks, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or email info@pacolet.org.  For more information on this topic, please visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and look under the “Conservation” tab.

HWA and Lari shown (2)

A Lari beetle is shown with Hemlick Woolly Adelgid (HWA) on a hemlock branch


PAC/WCP presents “Gold in the Foothills” March 21

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 3/13/15

Want to go?
What: “Gold in the Foothills” presented by Lynn Padgett
When: Saturday, March 21 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve
Info: Call 828-859-5060

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina” presented by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer, Toby Jenkins. The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, February 21, at 10:30 a.m.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Gold in the Foothills” presented by Lynn Padgett.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, March 21, at 10:30 a.m. This will be a great program for adults and children alike, and there is no charge for the event.

Beginning in the 1500s, European explorers searched for gold in the Appalachian Mountains. Not until three centuries later, was gold was finally discovered in North Carolina – not in the mountains, but in the piedmont and the foothills. “Gold Fever” brought thousands of would-be miners and speculators to the foothills, fueling a real estate boom, spurring invention, and transforming the landscape.

The gold frenzy eventually attracted German immigrant Christopher Bechtler to Rutherfordton on his own quest for gold. A jeweler and gunsmith, he had the metalworking skills to establish a private mint, and during the 1820s and 30s, North Carolina was the major source of gold for the U.S. Mint.

The North Carolina Gold Rush is a fascinating, but little known chapter in North Carolina history.  Padgett’s presentation will conclude with a screening of the 2012 UNC-TV documentary “Gold Fever and the Bechtler Mint.”

Lynn Padgett has been collecting information about the North Carolina foothills gold rush since 2006. She is currently creating exhibits on North Carolina Gold and Christopher Bechtler for the Bechtler House Museum in Rutherfordton. With excerpts from first person accounts, old newspapers, and old maps, she goes beyond chronology and geology to the stories of those who were there. She was featured in the 2012 UNC-TV documentary, “Gold Fever and the Bechtler Mint.”

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

The next scheduled PAC/WCP program, presented by Zora Rhodes, will be on “The Re-introduction of the Peregrine Falcon to Western North Carolina,” and it will take place on April 25th at 10:30 a.m.
For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

-Article submitted by Pam Torlina


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” the uncommon, yellow-flowered Sweet Betsy Trillium (Trilllium cuneatum).

This edition of “Polk County’s Most Wanted” highlights a group of our loveliest spring wildflowers, the Trilliums; specifically, those Trilliums that are sessile and with yellow flowers.

Trilliums are well-known denizens of our spring woodlands and are referred to by botanists as ‘Ephemerals’ due to their relatively brief period of flowering.  Spring Ephemerals grow and flower rapidly in late winter or early spring in response to increasing temperatures and longer periods of daylight.  It is the strategy of these species to make maximum growth before the trees in the canopy leaf out, reducing the amount of sunlight that is available to plants on the forest floor.  It is a good strategy, as the incredible abundance of the Ephemerals demonstrates.

Broadly speaking, Trilliums may be divided into two groups: those species that have flowers with stalks (the pedicellate species), and those that do not have flowering stalks (the sessile species).  There are a great many species of both groups of Trillium in the southeast, with the pedicellate species dominating in Polk County.  The taxonomy (classification) of the sessile species can be problematic, and there is not always universal agreement among botanists concerning the number of species in this group, as differences may be slight.

In our area, the most common sessile species is ‘Sweet Betsy’ or ‘Stinking Betsy’ (Trillium cuneatum).  The common names are a reference to the floral aroma, considered sweet by some or offensive by others.  The color of the petals is typically a deep burgundy or maroon with other rare variants being known, such as yellow or greenish yellow.  Yellow-flowered forms are not common and we are asking readers to contact PAC if they have seen any such plants in our area. David Campbell has seen yellow-flowered (Trillium cuneatum) but once in Polk County, on property owned by PAC.  It was a single yellow plant growing among hundreds of the much more common maroon colored form.

Other species of yellow flowered sessile Trillium include Yellow Trillium (Trillium luteum), typically found in limestone regions, and Pale Yellow Trillium (Trillium discolor).  Both of these species occur to the west of our area; with T. discolor only being found in the Savannah River drainage, as far as is known.  Differences between species are typically based on floral characters such as petal shape.  Leaves are not reliable as there is great variation among pattern, shape, etc.

Search for our sessile species along floodplains and the lower slopes of rich cove forests. Keep a sharp eye out for any yellow individuals; one never knows what might be found!

If you think that you have seen yellow-flowered Sweet Betsy Trillium (Trilllium cuneatum) or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

photo(2)


PAC plans hike to Paris Mountain State Park, March 6

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/25/15

WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Six-mile hike at Paris Mountain State Park
WHEN: March 6 at 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: Hikers will meet at the Gowensville Spinx, at the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 11 in S.C. at 8:30 a.m.
INFO: To sign up for the hike, call PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, March 6, for a 6-mile hike at Paris Mountain State Park, near Greenville, SC; the second hike of PAC’s Spring Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the moderate/strenuous, loop hike along the Sulphur Springs, Kanuga, and Brissy Ridge trails.

Paris Mountain State Park is one of the oldest protected areas in South Carolina.  Originally protected as a watershed for the City of Greenville, the 1,540-acre park features large stands of old growth hardwood forests.  The loop trail begins with a gradual ascent, paralleling a stream that leads to a dam that creates Mountain Lake, remnants of the reservoir originally created to provide water for the City of Greenville.  The trail continues to follow the stream, passing a waterfall, then, leaving the stream and rising to the top of the ridge.  The trail follows the ridgeline, descends, and ascends through the forest, leading back to the starting point.

This park was developed during the Great Depression in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the park continues to display CCC craftsmanship in several buildings and structures.  Geologically, Paris Mountain is a manadnock, an immense rock that remained when the mountains around it weathered away.  The park has become a gem to those living and working in Greenville, SC; a close natural get away from city life and a convenient location to reconnect with nature.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Paris Mountain State Park, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.  Please note that there is a park fee for this hike.  Hikers should be prepared to pay park admission: $2/adult & non-resident, $1.25 for SC seniors, and free for 15 and younger.  SC park passes are accepted.

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the early afternoon.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

Hikers will meet at the Gowensville Spinx (at the intersection of Hwy 14 & Hwy 11 in SC) at 8:30 a.m. to arrange car-pooling and start the approximately 30-minute drive to the park.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend other hikes, please visit PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for March 20 at Bracken Preserve in Brevard, NC.

PAC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) qualified conservation organization (land trust) that works with landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their land through voluntary conservation easements.  Conservation easements enable landowners to maintain ownership and management of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC’s mission is to protect and conserve our area’s natural resources with a vision of a community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage and a goal to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

img_5790


Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/13/15

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.

PAC kicks off spring hiking series Feb. 20
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 2/13/15
Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.

Predator/prey relationships in WNC

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/29/15

Want to go?
What: Predator/Prey Relationships in Western North Carolina
When: Saturday, Feb. 21, at 10:30 a.m.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free presentation on “Predator/prey Relationships in Western North Carolina” presented by North Carolina Wildlife Resource Officer, Toby Jenkins.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, February 21, at 10:30 a.m.

Jenkins will present on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s law enforcement division and the duties, services, and responsibilities of the division.  He will also talk about the wildlife habitats in Polk County and the predator/prey relationships that occur in our region.  Mr. Jenkins has been a wildlife officer for almost 20 years, and he has been stationed in Polk County for the past18 years.

-Article submitted by Pam Torlina


Conservation trust offers grants for landowners

Tryon Daily Bulletin & Polk County News Journal, 1/28/15

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) is continuing to offer grants of up to $25,000 to help NC landowners protect their land and waterways with a voluntary conservation easement in 2015.

Land conservation provides positive benefits to all area families, every single day, and these benefits don’t last for a day, a month, or even a year.  They last forever.

Conserving natural lands provides numerous public benefits, such as safe drinking water, clean air, fresh and local foods, parks and trails for outdoor exercise, scenic views that boost the tourism economy, and extensive habitat for wildlife.

Perhaps the most important benefit of all is the satisfaction and peace of mind from knowing that you’ve conserved the land you love, guaranteeing that it will be as beautiful in the future as it is today.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), your local land trust, welcomes the opportunity to discuss land conservation options with area landowners and is happy to answer any questions about land conservation and CTNC grants.

As an introduction, a conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as PAC), or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property.  Conservation values might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, scenic or cultural lands, etc.  Landowners continue to own and use their property, and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

Grants available through CTNC provide a wonderful opportunity for landowners to protect their land and waterways.  These grants help landowners by covering the costs associated with placing a conservation easement on their property.  The grant will cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title opinion and title insurance, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation report, project administration cost, appraisals, and legal fees.  Landowners that protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement may also qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and/or waterways with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy, the local land trust that will apply for grants on behalf of the landowner.

If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements and the possibility of qualifying for this grant in 2015, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or info@pacolet.org.

PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.

To date, PAC has helped protect over 8,600 acres of land.  PAC holds 68 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be preserved forever.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust founded in 1989 to protect and conserve natural resources, with emphasis on lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds (our mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.

-Article submitted by Pam Torlina

P1030599

Conserving natural lands provides numerous public benefits, such as safe drinking water, clean air, fresh and local foods, parks and trails for outdoor exercise, scenic views that boost the tourism economy, and extensive habitat for wildlife. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant

Golden Club

Polk County News Journal, 1/21/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum).

The genus Orontium derives its name from the River Orontes, in Syria, although the plant itself does not grow there.  Also of interest, Orontium is a monotypical genus, meaning that there is only one species of Orontium in the world.

Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum) is a beautiful wetland plant, as its specific name, aquaticum, suggests.  Preferred wetland habitats include ponds, marshes, lakeshores, and the margins of slow moving creeks. Occasionally, Golden Club may also be found growing in permanently wet muck found in open, boggy meadows.

Golden Club has attractive bluish-green, lance shaped leaves that may reach up to 12 inches in length.  The leaves may float on the water or they may be partially submerged, depending on the depth of the water.  The leaves also have a waxy surface that causes water to bead off of them immediately upon contact, earning this species another common name, Never-wet.

Golden Club blooms from late spring into the summer.  In the spring, long white stalks emerge that bear the tiny yellow flowers that are aggregated near the tip of the stalk, hence the name Golden Club. Flowering and growth are best in wet, sunny locations.

Given Golden Club’s preference for the types of habitats listed above, it is very much a plant typical of the Coastal Plain in the southeast, however, it does occur as far north as New York, and there are several known records of this species inland.  However, there are currently no known records of this species growing in Polk County, but its presence here is certainly a possibility.

In “Plants of the Tryon Region,” Donald Culross Peattie, a noted botanist of the early to mid-twentieth century, cited a report of Golden Club from Landrum, SC.  Too, the author of this article has personally seen this plant growing in Catawba and McDowell counties in North Carolina, and there are records of this species from Henderson County, NC and Greenville County, SC; all locations quite close to Polk County.

The presence of Golden Club invariably coincides with the occurrence of other, often rare, species in our area and could lead to additional unidentified species in the county.  Therefore, if you think that you have seen this species, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-By David Campbell

Golden Club-jkm

Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum) blooming in May, Macon County, NC

(photo by J. K. Marlow)


Golden Club: Polk County’s most wanted – plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/16/15

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum).

The genus Orontium derives its name from the River Orontes, in Syria, although the plant itself does not grow there.  Also of interest, Orontium is a monotypical genus, meaning that there is only one species of Orontium in the world.

Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum) is a beautiful wetland plant, as its specific name, aquaticum, suggests.  Preferred wetland habitats include ponds, marshes, lakeshores, and the margins of slow moving creeks. Occasionally, Golden Club may also be found growing in permanently wet muck found in open, boggy meadows.

Golden Club has attractive bluish-green, lance shaped leaves that may reach up to 12 inches in length.  The leaves may float on the water or they may be partially submerged, depending on the depth of the water.  The leaves also have a waxy surface that causes water to bead off of them immediately upon contact, earning this species another common name, Never-wet.

Golden Club blooms from late spring into the summer.  In the spring, long white stalks emerge that bear the tiny yellow flowers that are aggregated near the tip of the stalk, hence the name Golden Club. Flowering and growth are best in wet, sunny locations.

Given Golden Club’s preference for the types of habitats listed above, it is very much a plant typical of the Coastal Plain in the southeast, however, it does occur as far north as New York, and there are several known records of this species inland.  However, there are currently no known records of this species growing in Polk County, but its presence here is certainly a possibility.

In “Plants of the Tryon Region,” Donald Culross Peattie, a noted botanist of the early to mid-twentieth century, cited a report of Golden Club from Landrum, SC.  Too, the author of this article has personally seen this plant growing in Catawba and McDowell counties in North Carolina, and there are records of this species from Henderson County, NC and Greenville County, SC; all locations quite close to Polk County.

The presence of Golden Club invariably coincides with the occurrence of other, often rare, species in our area and could lead to additional unidentified species in the county.  Therefore, if you think that you have seen this species, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

Golden Club-jkm

The Pacolet Area Conservancy has named the Golden Club as Polk County’s most wanted-plant for the month of January.  The Golden Club has attractive bluish-green, lance shaped leaves that may reach up to 12 inches in length.


Winter waterfalls and rivers

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 1/6/15

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free photo presentation on “Winter Waterfalls & Rivers” presented by Cynthia Terwilliger.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, January 10, at 10:30 a.m.

Cynthia Terwilliger has a special way of looking at the world. Her images remind us that we, too, are part of nature, that life is precious and orderly, and that our days are regulated by a universal power. She captures that innate knowledge that we are intrinsically part of it all.

When the temperatures are below freezing for a few nights and the daytime temperatures hover nearby — magic happens.  “Carpe diem” is an imperative when searching out winter waterfalls. Here in Western North Carolina our days below freezing can come and go quickly.  Seize the moment.  What you see will melt away and that special moment will never come again in exactly the same way.

Her keen eye for composition and a real feeling for the beauty and symmetry in nature makes her photography unique and beautiful. She has been photographing in 35mm format since 1969 and digital format since 2005, studying under well-known photographers such as Helen Longest Saccone and Art Wolf. Her images have won several honors in photography contests and have hung in the Grand Hotel and Quorum Art Gallery on Mackinac Island, Michigan, in the First National Bank in Palm Beach, The Tequesta Art Gallery in Florida, as well as the Dreher Park Zoo in West Palm Beach and Florida’s Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge.

Terwilliger invites the public to “Come away awhile, past the concrete and the cars, out beyond the boundaries of everyday life.  Pause to look – beyond the confines of time, into the frozen rivers – and find yourself.”

The indoor portion of this program will be followed by an approximately 3-mile, moderate walk to a Walnut Falls, a waterfall on the Preserve grounds (weather permitting).  If you plan on walking to Walnut Falls, please dress appropriately and bring your cameras, if you like, as well as anything else you might need while on the walk (water, snacks, medication, etc.).

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

This PAC/WCP program is made possible by a grant from Delores Lastinger.

-Article submitted by Pam Torlina

Middle Saluda River

Middle Saluda River (photo by Cynthia Terwilliger)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant

Polk County News Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 12/31/14

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” American Bluehearts (Buchnera americana).

A most unusual and rare plant, American Bluehearts is a beautiful member of the Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) Family of flowering plants.  With a height of 15-30 inches and blue/lavender petals, American Bluehearts could be mistaken as an unusual species of Phlox by a casual observer, as both species have oppositely arranged leaves and may superficially resemble one another. However, unlike Phlox, American Bluehearts is a hemiparasite – a plant capable of photosynthesis, but also requiring a host (other examples include Indian Paintbrush and Mistletoe).

American Bluehearts prefers to grow in open areas such as glades, stream banks, prairies, and sunny hillsides that are underlain by calcareous substrates such as limestone or mafic rocks. In order to thrive, there is evidence that this species benefits from periodic burning of its habitat. In the southeastern United States, this species flowers from mid-summer to early fall.

American Bluehearts is declining throughout its range, which includes large portions of eastern North America, from southern Ontario, south to Florida, and west to Texas. Within North Carolina, American Bluehearts is known historically from nine counties, including Polk. The Polk County record is from the 1920s, in the Tryon area, and the species has not been reported from our region since.

If you think that you have seen this species, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-By David Campbell

rtw_buchnera_americana_Richard and Teresa Ware

American Bluehearts (Buchnera americana)

(photo by Richard and Teresa Ware)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/25/14

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” American Bluehearts (Buchnera americana).

A most unusual and rare plant, American Bluehearts is a beautiful member of the Orobanchaceae (Broomrape) Family of flowering plants.  With a height of 15-30 inches and blue/lavender petals, American Bluehearts could be mistaken as an unusual species of Phlox by a casual observer, as both species have oppositely arranged leaves and may superficially resemble one another. However, unlike Phlox, American Bluehearts is a hemiparasite – a plant capable of photosynthesis, but also requiring a host (other examples include Indian Paintbrush and Mistletoe).

American Bluehearts prefers to grow in open areas such as glades, stream banks, prairies, and sunny hillsides that are underlain by calcareous substrates such as limestone or mafic rocks. In order to thrive, there is evidence that this species benefits from periodic burning of its habitat. In the southeastern United States, this species flowers from mid-summer to early fall.

American Bluehearts is declining throughout its range, which includes large portions of eastern North America, from southern Ontario, south to Florida, and west to Texas. Within North Carolina, American Bluehearts is known historically from nine counties, including Polk. The Polk County record is from the 1920s, in the Tryon area, and the species has not been reported from our region since.

If you think that you have seen this species, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-Article submitted by David Campbell

rtw_buchnera_americana_Richard and Teresa Ware

American Bluehearts (Buchnera americana)

(photo by Richard and Teresa Ware)


PAC preserves more land in Columbus
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/24/14

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is proud to announce that Ann S. Allen has donated a conservation easement on 8.18 acres of her farm on Collinsville Road in Columbus. The parcel is located near five other properties already protected by PAC, which makes the preservation project even more significant.

Located in the North Pacolet River watershed, the property is a maturing forest along Hooper Creek and Meeks Creek. Protection of this area will provide and insure a riparian buffer to both of these waterways forever – nearly 1500 feet along Hooper Creek and about 400 feet on Meeks Creek. The property has a nice diversity of native plants, providing a natural greenway, habitat for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, and enhancing the natural experience for users of an equestrian trail system.

As with all of the conservation easements that the land trust holds, PAC will follow up with Allen on an annual basis to monitor the land and ensure its protection. Landowners continue to own and use the land as they are accustomed, but place development restrictions on the land, thereby giving them peace of mind about the future use of their lands.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices.  PAC – saving the places you love.

-Article submitted by Mary A. Walter

IMG_0441_Closing picAnn Allen, center, signs papers for the conservation easement she granted to the Pacolet Area Conservancy.  On the left is renee McDermott, board vice-president and on the right is Dibbit Lamb, board president.


Land Trusts Work Together Through the Blue Ridge Forever Coalition
Laurel of Asheville, December 2014
Sustainability--David_A_Ramsey-
(photo by David A. Ramsey)

December is the busiest month for land trusts across Western North Carolina as they seek to close on land deals before the end of the year. Like elves in Santa’s workshop, conservancy staff work long hours so generations of area residents can continue to enjoy the bountiful gifts of our mountains.

Land trusts work with willing landowners in their communities to ensure that critical places are protected forever, primarily through acquisition or voluntary conservation agreements. Like most nonprofits, land trusts strive to do more with less, which was part of the impetus for creating the Blue Ridge Forever coalition.

Sustainability--Blue_Ridge_Forever-1

(Photo by David A. Ramsey)

“Blue Ridge Forever is a partnership that provides mechanisms for us to collaborate, share ideas, and consult with the other mountain land trusts,” says Mary Walter, executive director of Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC). “Together we have been able to raise awareness about land conservation, while still working in our own home communities.”

PAC was one of ten land trusts and three national conservation organizations that came together a decade ago to create Blue Ridge Forever. Through this coalition, the organizations collaborate to safeguard a landscape that provides communities with clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, tourism, and local food, while protecting the exceptional biodiversity present in our region.

“Western North Carolina in particular has an abundance of healthy forests and wildlife habitat, streams that supply drinking water to millions in the Southeast, amazing vistas, and an economy heavily reliant on agriculture and tourism,” says Reid Wilson, executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. “Clearly, this area is teeming with places worthy of protection.”

Aiding trusts, government, and other groups in protecting our natural resources, the WNC Vitality Index reports on the region’s natural, social, built, and economic environments. It identifies the southern Appalachian Mountains as “water towers” for the southeastern United States and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina as the biologically richest remaining temperate forest in North America—and one of the richest in the world.

The species in these forests are threatened because much of their habitat exists on privately owned lands that have no form of protection from development. North Carolina is currently the sixth fastest growing state in terms of development. According to a 2010 study by the Center for Applied GIScience at UNC Charlotte, land development in North Carolina’s mountains increased 570 percent from 1976 to 2006, and is expected to increase another 63 percent by 2030.

The land trusts and national conservation partners that comprise Blue Ridge Forever have collectively protected more than 300,000 biologically rich acres in Western North Carolina, including more than 3,600 miles of streams and rivers, 68,500 acres of water supply watersheds, and 167,700 acres of land for public use. But there is much more still in need of protection.

“If we do not act while this window of opportunity remains open, much of the land of highest conservation value in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains will be irreplaceably lost,” says Paul Carlson, executive director of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee. “This loss would negatively impact not only this globally significant ecological and water resource, but also the region’s two leading industries—tourism and agriculture.”

The Blue Ridge Forever coalition is led by Blue Ridge Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, New River Conservancy, Pacolet Area Conservancy, RiverLink, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Its national advisors include The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy—NC Chapter, and Trust for Public Land.

You don’t have to be a landowner to help prevent loss of Western North Carolina’s beautiful landscape. There are many ways to volunteer with your local land trusts. If you would like to learn more about land conservation in Western North Carolina, visit blueridgeforever.info or ctnc.org. (Photos by David A. Ramsey and Ken Maness)

-By Frances Figart

Sustainability--Ken_Maness
(photo by Ken Maness)

PAC preserves 90 more acres
Green River landowners preserve land with easement
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/22/14

Manfred and Christel Walter moved to the Mill Spring area in 2002 and bought a beautiful piece of land. They take their roles as caretakers of the land very seriously. The two, originally from Germany, have a strong land ethic. To say they know every square inch of their land is to put it mildly. They walk their ninety acres frequently looking for plants, mushrooms, and new discoveries. Manfred is quite a good carpenter and has built benches and footbridges in many places.

The couple first developed a Forest Stewardship Plan, with the help of the Polk County Stewardship Committee. Then, earlier this year, they called PAC about protecting their land with a conservation easement. “Preserving the land through a conservation easement was simply the next step to make sure that our wishes will be adhered to and that our role as caretakers will continue as our legacy for future generations,” says Christel.

The property is composed of a maturing hardwood forest mixed with pine.  The pines are mainly on the dryer ridges, while the hardwoods dominate in the coves and along the Green River. There are specimens of 75 foot oaks and 90 foot pines. The property has a nice diversity of native plants, and this diversity in turn provides good wildlife habitat. Wildlife noted on the tract includes Wild Turkey, deer, rabbit, quail, fox, squirrel, raccoon, waterfowl, hawks, and owls. The property straddles the Green River and protects both sides of the River for approximately 1,200 feet.

Christel was already very familiar with PAC, having volunteered and serving as a board member. “We knew that writing a conservation easement is a process that should not be taken lightly and requires that all parties work together diligently. We found that Pam Torlina, PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, was always responsive to our questions and wishes, offered suggestions to help clarify our thoughts and helped us come up with solutions.  It was a pleasure working with PAC because its goal ‘saving the places you love’ is evident in the staff’s professionalism and true commitment to go out and get it done.”

PAC will follow up with the Walters on an annual basis to monitor the land and ensure its protection.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices.


PAC’s Final Fall Hike Goes to Sassafras Mountain Nov. 21Polk County News

Journal & the News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 11/19/14

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 21, for an approximately 5-mile, moderate/strenuous hike to Sassafras Mountain; the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will be leading the hike.

The out and back hike starts from at the Chimneytop Gap trail access along the Foothills Trail in South Carolina.  Over a 2.5-mile stretch, the trail ascends 1,900′ to the summit of Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina at 3,533′.  Due to future plans for an observation tower on the mountain, there is now a 360° view from the summit, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and even Tennessee.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Sassafras Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the trailhead.  For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the early afternoon.    In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-By Pam Torlina

P1100180

PAC plans fall hike to Sassafras Mountain

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/19/14

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 21, for an approximately 5-mile, moderate/strenuous hike to Sassafras Mountain; the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will be leading the hike.

The out and back hike starts from at the Chimneytop Gap trail access along the Foothills Trail in South Carolina.  Over a 2.5-mile stretch, the trail ascends 1,900′ to the summit of Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina at 3,533′.  Due to future plans for an observation tower on the mountain, there is now a 360° view from the summit, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and even Tennessee.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to Sassafras Mountain, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the trailhead.  For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the early afternoon.    In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina

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Polk County’s most wanted – plant
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/8/14

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix).

Poison Sumac is in the same family as Poison Ivy, and as such should not be handled. Indeed, most authorities consider Poison Sumac to be much more virulent than Poison Ivy. Poison Sumac is a shrub or small tree with compound leaves. The leaves of Poison Sumac turn brilliant scarlet and orange in autumn, and it is at this time of year that it is the easiest to pick out amid other trees with similar leaves, such as Green Ash. White berries (eaten by many species of birds) are also prominent along with the bright fall foliage.

Poison Sumac prefers low woods, swamps, bogs, and other areas with very wet soils. The plant is much more common in the Coastal Plain; however, there are a number of known occurrences in the mountains, including some already identified in Polk County.

Poison Sumac is a beautiful and interesting species in its own right, albeit one that should be treated with great caution. However, Poison Sumac almost always shares its habitat with other rare and intriguing species such as Bog Turtles, Orchids, Pitcher Plants, and others. It is for this reason that we are choosing to highlight Poison Sumac, especially so at this time of year, when it is most visible and easy to spot. Therefore, finding a locality for Poison Sumac may also reveal localities for other ‘Most Wanted’ species.

As stated earlier, field marks include compound leaves of bright scarlet and orange, white berries, and a wetland habitat. If you see this plant (or think you have seen it) please take a photograph, or call the offices of the Pacolet Area Conservancy to inform staff there. Do NOT touch any part of this plant.

You can contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-article written by David Campbell

Poison sumac berries-JKMarlowPoison Sumac berries (photo by J. K. Marlow)

Poison sumac-Will Stewart

Poison Sumac leaves (photo by Will Stewart)


PAC’s fifth Fall Hike goes to Lower Whitewater Falls, Nov. 7

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/4/14

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, November 7, for an approximately 4-mile, moderate hike to Lower Whitewater Falls; the fifth hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will be leading the hike.

The hike starts from at the Duke Power Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station north of Lake Jocassee in South Carolina; a Foothills Trail access point.  The trail crosses the Whitewater River then connects with the Foothills Trail for a bit.  Then, the trail to the falls leaves the Foothills Trail and heads east to an overlook of Lower Whitewater Falls.  The overlook provides a dramatic view of the 200-foot waterfall.

After the hike, participants are invited to visit Upper Whitewater Falls, just up the road in North Carolina.  Upper Whitewater Falls drops over 411-feet and is the highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.  Please  note that there is a $2/vehicle fee to visit Upper Whitewater Falls Recreation Area.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike to view Lower Whitewater Falls, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Spinx in Gowensville, SC (at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 11) at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the trailhead.  For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the early afternoon.    In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, or go to PACs Facebook page, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for November 21st to Sassafras Mountain, a 5-mile, strenuous hike to the highest peak in South Carolina.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-article submitted by Pam Torlina

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Some of the hikers and dogs on the Oct. 24 Pacolet Area Conservancy and Foothills Humane Society (FHS) hike along the Green River, (left to right) Carolyn Parker, Jean Shaw, Wayne Kent, Liz Dicey (with her rescue dog, Jack), Dana Mayer, Ford Smith, Carol McCall, Robin Edgar, Ron Katalinich, Molly Watson, Tammy Coleman, Jean Prewitt (with FHS rescue, ready for adoption – Tipper!), Steve King, Peggy Burke, Kathe Burklow, Eilene Morgan, John Durkin, Amanda Staggs (with FHS rescue, ready for adoption – Melody!), and Juanita Bruce (not pictured) Marie King (who hiked with her poodle and a FHS poodle being fostered and in need of adoption – Roo), Jean Prewitt, Emily Clark, Pam Torlina, and Susan Wallahora.  FHS rescues that joined us for the hike and are in need of forever homes: Tipper, Gabriella, Tarkin, Maggie, Melody, King, Roo, and Hammer. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Goats Return to Tryon

Polk County News Journal, 10/8/14

Goats return to the Town of Tryon lot near IGA.  Through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has hired goats to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site, twice a year, for three years; this is the second year.  On Sept. 29, Wells Farm brought in a new crew of 20 goats, accompanied by Moses, an Anatolian Shepard there to protect the goats. The goats will be on site for about two weeks.

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PAC/WCP Program – “Owls – Masters of the Night”

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/4/14

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about “Owls – Masters of the Night.”  The program will be presented by Carlton Burke, a naturalist and educator, on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

Owls are mysterious birds of prey which are seldom seen due to their nocturnal lifestyle and secretive habits. This program will introduce the public to the fascinating lives of these unusual birds and their unique adaptations for life in their nighttime world.  This program will feature live owls as guests and will be a great program to bring your children to!

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. (GPS coordinates to the Nature Center are available at the PAC website.)

For more information or for directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

For more information about Walnut Creek Preserve, visit www.walnutcreekpreserve.com.  Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

This PAC/WCP program is made possible by a grant from Delores Lastinger.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

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Naturalist, Carlton Burke, with a Great Horned Owl.


PAC’s third fall hike goes to Great Smoky Mountains
Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/3/14

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 10, for a 6.5-mile, strenuous hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP); the third hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will be leading the hike.

Please note that the location of this hike has changed due to several bridges being out along the Boogerman Trail in Cataloochee.  The new location for this hike is still in the GSMNP but it will be taking place in Smokemont.

The hike starts from the Smokemont campground and parallels the Bradley Fork of the Oconaluftee River.  Then, the trail crosses the Fork and steadily ascends Richland Mountain to a height of 3,550 feet in elevation, a gain of 1,350 ft. elev. in just under 2-miles.  After the long, steady ascent, hikers will enjoy a break for lunch then descend Richland Mountain, making their way to the Oconaluftee River.  At this point, the group will take a short jaunt to visit the Bradley Cemetery which dates to the late nineteenth century.  After visiting the historic site, hikers will resume on the trail that parallels the River and back to the campground.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at the GSMNP, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 1.75 hour drive to the park.  For your safety, do not attempt any hike beyond your ability and experience.  Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the late afternoon.    In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike, check the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, and/or the PAC Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend future hikes, please visit PACs website, or go to PACs Facebook page, for information on upcoming hikes.  The next hike is scheduled for October 24th at the Green River Game Lands, a 7-mile, moderate hike on the Green River Cove Trail.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to continue ownership of their property, preserve precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and offers education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

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A view from Richland Mountain along the Smokemont Loop trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Grants still available for land conservation in 2014

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/2/14

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) still has grants of up to $25,000 available to help NC landowners protect their land and waterways with a voluntary conservation easement in 2014.

It’s still not too late to take advantage of this grant opportunity but time is of the essence. Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and waterways with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), by October 22, 2014 to take advantage of this great opportunity before the end of the year.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust, or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property which might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, scenic or cultural lands, etc.  Landowners continue to own and use their property, and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs.  Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner; essentially, it is a Will for your land.

This grant will cover the costs associated with placing a conservation easement on your property.  It will cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title opinion and title insurance, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation report, project administration cost, appraisals, and legal fees.  Landowners that protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement may also qualify for Federal Tax Incentives.

If you are interested in learning more about conservation easements and the possibility of qualifying for this grant in 2014, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or info@pacolet.org.

PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.

To date, PAC has helped protect over 8,532 acres of land.  PAC holds 66 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be preserved forever.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust founded in 1989 to protect and conserve natural resources, with emphasis on lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds (our mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

N Pacolet R_2


Goats on Duty in Tryon

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/1/14

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Goats return to the Town of Tryon lot near IGA.  Through a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has hired goats to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the site, twice a year, for three years; this is the second year.  On Sept. 29, Wells Farm brought in a new crew of 20 goats, accompanied by Moses, an Anatolian Shepard there to protect the goats. The goats will be on site for about two weeks. (Photo submitted by Pam Torlina)


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/29/14

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plant,” the beautiful Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata).

Pink Thoroughwort is a member of the Aster family of flowering plants and is closely allied to the ‘Joe Pye Weeds’ of the genus Eupatorium. The leaves of Pink Thoroughwort are coarsely toothed and triangular and the stem is pubescent (hairy). Flowers are pink to purple and consist of many small ‘heads’ atop a multi-branched main stem that can reach approximately one meter in height.  In our region, the preferred habitats for this species are roadsides, alluvial areas, and other open sites that are underlain by rich soils derived from amphibolite, diabase, and other mafic rocks.

Pink Thoroughwort is much more abundant to the south and west of NC, but the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program states that Pink Thoroughwort has been recorded from eight counties in North Carolina, with recent records from only five of these, including Polk.  Pink Thoroughwort blooms from late September into early November, so now is the time to seek out this western rarity along roads and woodlands in Polk County.

If you think that you have seen this species, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 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 (PAC

PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

rtw_f_incarnata_pink_2

Pink Thoroughwort (Fleischmannia incarnata) in bloom.

(photo by Richard and Teresa Ware)

(Urgh!  Technical difficulties…all news article from the date above through January 1, 2014 are currently not on the site…we hope to correct this in the near future.  The Tryon Daily Bulletin has archives of old articles if you would like to go to their website and search “Pacolet Area Conservancy” or “PAC”.  Sorry for the inconvenience!)

Bartol and others receive awards from the Pacolet Area Conservancy

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/13/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), recently hosted a Volunteer Recognition Party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt C. Miner, III. 

Carole Bartol was given an award and praised by current PAC Board President, Dibbit Lamb, for outstanding leadership to the organization.  Bartol served as President for two years, 2011 and 2012.  During this time, she led the board in their duties, provided overall administration of the organization, applied for grants, and gave countless hours.  

Also recognized was longtime office volunteer, Susan Kelley.  Mrs. Kelley has worked in the office twice a week for seven years and provides consistent professionalism and a smiling face to all who call or come to the PAC office.

Greg Miner was thanked for his many years of volunteer service, particularly the Kudzu eradication efforts at PAC’s Norman Wilder Forest.  Miner commits one day a week towards this ongoing project.

Bob and Babs Strickland were recognized for their many years of support and dedication to PAC and the wonderful partnership that has formed between Walnut Creek Preserve and PAC.  The Stricklands make available their Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center for educational programs to PAC supporters and the community as well.  

All four individuals were awarded a beautiful framed nature photograph and received applauses from the guests in attendance.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organization founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources. PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.

PAC – saving the places you love.


Polk County’s Most Wanted – animal

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 12/11/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Animal,” Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius, which essentially means, “stinking spotted weasel).

The Eastern Stripped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) is far more common than the Eastern Spotted Skunk.  The range of the Eastern Stripped Skunk is throughout the United States, north to the center of Canada, and south, into the northern portions of Mexico.  Whereas the range of the Eastern Spotted Skunk extends from southern Pennsylvania, down the Appalachian Mountain range and into Florida, with a portion of the eastern edge of its range encompassing the western portion of North and South Carolina. The species is considered rare or vulnerable in North Carolina; however, there have been reports of the species in nearby Greenville, Oconee, and Pickens Counties in South Carolina.

The Eastern Spotted Skunk is smaller than the more common Eastern Stripped Skunk.  They are relatively slender with a weasel-like body.  They weigh 1-4 pounds and have a body length of 10-27 inches (with tail).  (The Eastern Stripped Skunk ranges from 2.6-11.7 pounds and 22.6-31.5 inches.)

They have a fine, dense, medium length, dark black coat with 4-6 broken white stripes, giving the appearance of spots.  They usually have a white tip on their tail and a white, inverted triangle-shaped patch on their forehead.  Like all skunks, they have anal glands, which they can aim accurately up to 16 feet, that they can emit musk from if they are threatened or agitated.

The Eastern Spotted Skunk is found in woodlands, brush, prairies, and sometimes rocky areas.  They also like old fields, open forests, and hedgerows, and they are often found near farmlands.   They prefer dense cover like that which occurs along fences, embankments, gullies and hedgerows.  Eastern Spotted Skunks will also use barns and out buildings for cover.  Dead and downed trees and abundant course woody debris are also important microhabitats for spotted skunks, and they are also found in rock outcrops.  Eastern Spotted Skunks are generally less tolerant of humans than the Eastern Stripped Skunk.

The spotted skunk is omnivorous, feeding on small mammals, insects, birds, eggs, reptiles, amphibians, and seasonal fruits. Their diet may vary seasonally with the availability of food items.  They are mainly solitary animals but up to 8 individuals may share a den in winter and their home range is approximately 158 acres.  They breed in late winter or early spring.  Young are born from April through July and are weaned in about eight weeks.  Predators of the Eastern Spotted Skunk are humans, dogs, cats, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and owls.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org. 

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county. 

article submitted by Pam Torlina

eastern_spotted_skunk

Pacolet Area Conservancy locates Walter’s Crownbeard in Polk Co.

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/27/13

This is the first “Reports from the Field,” a follow-up article concerning the ongoing quest to find “Polk County’s Most Wanted” rare plants and animals. 

The September edition of this series was on Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri). The article indicated the rarity and unusual distribution of this beautiful flowering plant. 

Walter’s Crownbeard is known from only a handful of sites statewide, and prefers areas with rich moist soils, such as bottomland forests adjacent to streams. As always, the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” article requested that residents report any sighting of the species in the County for follow-up by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) staff.

Accordingly, PAC’s Pam Torlina and botanist, David Campbell were very pleased to receive a call from Mr. and Mrs. Bradley of Tryon, who indicated that they thought the plant was growing on their property.  Someone must go out to investigate.

After a pleasant phone conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Bradley, arrangements were made for a visit to their home by David Campbell to confirm the presence of Walter’s Crownbeard on their property. 

Campbell had spent a long day in the field at other locations in Polk County that day, and the Bradley’s were the final destination out of all of the places that had to be visited.  Driving to their home, Campbell hoped that they wouldn’t be too alarmed by his disheveled appearance (covered with mud and dirt from field work). 

Pulling up to the Bradley’s driveway, Campbell’s spirits were immediately lifted by the site of a fabulous Pitcher Plant bog in their front garden- truthfully, one of the finest the botanist had ever seen. 

Was this a good omen?  Mr. and Mrs. Bradley were very warm in their greetings, and indicated to that one of their sons was actually a botanist, too.

The group went for a stroll down a small road on the Bradley property, toward a creek that flows at the back of their home.  The topography of the area had a sloping hill easing off into a bottomland; however, the hill was covered in English Ivy (a non-native and invasive plant) so Campbell was somewhat hesitant to get his hopes up-very few plants can survive in a thick patch of English Ivy.  Undeterred, Mr. Bradley calmly walked around a corner at the bottom of his property and proceeded to walk up to one of the largest patches of Walter’s Crownbeard Campbell has ever seen-growing quite happily up and through the thickly growing English Ivy!  Campbell hoped that his jaw dropping wasn’t too obvious to the Bradleys. 

To see one of North Carolina’s rarest wildflowers growing contentedly up through a patch of one of the Southeast’s most invasive plants is a sight Campbell won’t soon forget.  It was a reminder that, once again, one should never make too many assumptions when it comes to Mother Nature. 

After taking several photographs, and collecting a specimen for the UNCC Herbarium, Campbell bid an appreciative farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Bradley-thanking them profusely for their assistance.  It was gratifying for Campbell (and PAC) to know that the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” articles had produced real results. 

What will our next great find be?

Please, continue to call (828-859-5060) and e-mail PAC (landprotection@pacolet.org) with any possible sightings of previous or future “Polk County’s Most Wanted;” your reports do matter.

The purpose of the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

article submitted by David Campbell

IMG-Bradley property 9-29-13_40 plantsSuccess at last – Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri), one of “Polk County’s Most Wanted,” has been re-located in Polk County. (photo by David Campbell)


PAC’s Final Fall Hike will be hosted by Foothills Conservancy to Catawba Falls, Nov. 15

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 11/13/13

The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) will host the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for a joint hike between the two organizations on Friday, November 15.

Join PAC and FCNC, for a 3.8-mile hike in Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District), the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  FCNC’s Executive Director, Susie Hamrick Jones will lead the moderate, out and back hike to Catawba Falls. 

Catawba Falls is located in McDowell County near the town of Old Fort.  For years, there was no public access to the waterfall, but thanks to the combined effort of the Foothill Conservancy and the local community, the property is now a part of Pisgah National Forest and will be forever protected and available for public enjoyment.

The trail parallels the Catawba River, leading to two distinct waterfalls.  The lower falls is over 100 feet high, creating multiple falls and cascades.  The upper falls are more dramatic, with a 50′ free-fall.  Access to the upper falls is very difficult, and many may decide to opt out of this section of the hike.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/FCNC hike at to Catawba Falls, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers can meet at either the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in with PAC and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the trail head or hikers can meet at the McDonald’s off the Old Fort I-40 exit 73 at 9:15 a.m. to check in with FCNC and start the approximately 3 mile drive to the trail head. 

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend other PAC hikes, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information. The next hiking series will resume in the spring of 2014 (mid to late February).  To learn more about FCNC, visit the website at www.foothillsconservancy.org.

Foothills Conservancy Rich StevensonCatawba Falls (photo by Rich Stevenson)


PAC’s final fall hike scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/11/13

The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) will host the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for a joint hike between the two organizations on Friday, Nov. 15.

Join PAC and FCNC, for a 3.8-mile hike in Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District), the final hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  FCNC’s Executive Director, Susie Hamrick Jones will lead the moderate, out and back hike to Catawba Falls. 

Catawba Falls is located in McDowell County near the town of Old Fort.  For years, there was no public access to the waterfall, but thanks to the combined effort of the Foothill Conservancy and the local community, the property is now a part of Pisgah National Forest and will be forever protected and available for public enjoyment.

The trail parallels the Catawba River, leading to two distinct waterfalls.  The lower falls is over 100 feet high, creating multiple falls and cascades.  The upper falls are more dramatic, with a 50′ free-fall.  Access to the upper falls is very difficult, and many may decide to opt out of this section of the hike.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/FCNC hike at to Catawba Falls, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers can meet at either the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in with PAC and start the approximately 1 hour drive to the trail head or hikers can meet at the McDonald’s off the Old Fort I-40 exit 73 at 9:15 a.m. to check in with FCNC and start the approximately 3 mile drive to the trail head. 

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

The next hiking series will resume in the spring of 2014.

To learn more about FCNC, visit the website at www.foothillsconservancy.org.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Foothills Conservancy Rich StevensonFor years, there was no public access t Catawba Falls, but through the combined effort of the Foothills Conservancy and the local community, the property is now part of Pisgah National Forest. (photo submitted by Rich Stevenson)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plants

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/9/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plants.”

This month’s installment will focus on two species of Ferns:  Bradley’s Spleenwort (Asplenium bradleyi) and Lobed Spleenwort (Asplenium pinnatifidum).

Both of these species will be found growing on exposed rock surfaces, such as cliffs and large boulders. At first glance, it might seem odd that a fern would choose to grow on a sunny, seemingly dry rock cliff.  

However, the ferns themselves will be found growing in tiny crevices that remain relatively moist and contain small amounts of organic debris that accumulates in the crevices over time.  

Being able to inhabit crevices in rock surfaces helps these two fern species avoid competition from other plants.   Bradley’s Spleenwort will be found growing on rocks that are acidic, whereas the Lobed Spleenwort prefers rocks with a more basic or circumneutral pH. 

There are several species of ferns that may be found growing on rocks or cliffs in Polk County.  However, it is relatively easy to distinguish our two species based upon the accompanying photographs in this article.

Bradley’s Spleenwort can be identified by noting that the base of the fern’s stem (referred to by Botanists as the ‘stipe’) is dark in coloration, gradually becoming light green near the tip of the fern’s leaf, matching it in coloration.

The Lobed Spleenwort lives up to its name, it is the only fern in our area with the well-developed rounded lobes that occur on its leaves, particularly near the base of the plant.

Both of these fern species have been documented as occurring in Polk County.  However, as these are uncommon species, we are interested in learning about new sites and occurrences for them. If you are unsure about the identification of a fern you think may be one of these species, please forward a clear photograph of it to the offices of The Pacolet Area Conservancy at landprotection@pacolet.org, and we will be pleased to identify it for you.

Or, if you think that you have this species growing on your property, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC by e-mail (above) or by phone at 828-859-5060.

Much remains to be learned about the rock-loving ferns of western North Carolina, and many new discoveries may be made.

As an aside, any plant bearing the name ‘wort’ is one which has been reputed (in the past) to possess medicinal qualities.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora in Polk County, document the species present in the county, and to make sure that the flora of Polk County is well represented in state records and herbaria.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission). 

PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come. 

PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by David Campbell

800px-Asplenium_pinnatifidum_2Asplenium_bradleyiTop: Asplenium pinnatifidum, also know as Lobed Spleenwort can be found growing on exposed rock surfaces, such as cliffs and large boulders. Above: Asplenium bradleyi, more commonly known as Bradley’s Spleenwort is one of two species of ferns that PAC needs help locating this November. (Photos submitted by Pam Torlina)


Polk’s Most Wanted Field Report: Walter’s Crownbeard

Polk County News Journal, 11/6/13, pg.5

This is the first “Reports from the Field,” a follow-up article concerning the ongoing quest to find “Polk County’s Most Wanted” rare plants and animals.  The September edition of this series was on Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri). The article indicated the rarity and unusual distribution of this beautiful flowering plant.  Walter’s Crownbeard is known from only a handful of sites statewide, and prefers areas with rich moist soils, such as bottomland forests adjacent to streams. As always, the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” article requested that residents report any sighting of the species in the County for follow-up by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) staff.  Accordingly, PAC’s Pam Torlina and botanist, David Campbell were very pleased to receive a call from Mr. and Mrs. Bradley of Tryon, who indicated that they thought the plant was growing on their property.  Someone must go out to investigate!

After a pleasant phone conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Bradley, arrangements were made for a visit to their home by David Campbell to confirm the presence of Walter’s Crownbeard on their property.  Campbell had spent a long day in the field at other locations in Polk County that day, and the Bradley’s were the final destination out of all of the places that had to be visited.  Driving to their home, Campbell hoped that they wouldn’t be too alarmed by his disheveled appearance (covered with mud and dirt from field work).  Pulling up to the Bradley’s driveway, Campbell’s spirits were immediately lifted by the site of a fabulous Pitcher Plant bog in their front garden- truthfully, one of the finest the botanist had ever seen.  Was this a good omen?  Mr. and Mrs. Bradley were very warm in their greetings, and indicated to that one of their sons was actually a Botanist also.

The group went for a stroll down a small road on the Bradley property, toward a creek that flows at the back of their home.  The topography of the area had a sloping hill easing off into a bottomland; however, the hill was covered in English Ivy (a non-native and invasive plant) so Campbell was somewhat hesitant to get his hopes up-very few plants can survive in a thick patch of English Ivy.  Undeterred, Mr. Bradley calmly walked around a corner at the bottom of his property and proceeded to walk up to one of the largest patches of Walter’s Crownbeard Campbell has ever seen-growing quite happily up and through the thickly growing English Ivy!  Campbell hoped that his jaw dropping wasn’t too obvious to the Bradley’s.  To see one of North Carolina’s rarest wildflowers growing contentedly up through a patch of one of the Southeast’s most invasive plants is a sight Campbell won’t soon forget.  It was a reminder that, once again, one should never make too many assumptions when it comes to Mother Nature. 

After taking several photographs, and collecting a specimen for the UNCC Herbarium, Campbell bid an appreciative farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Bradley-thanking them profusely for their assistance.  It was gratifying for Campbell (and PAC) to know that the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” articles had produced real results. 

What will our next great find be?

Please, continue to call (828-859-5060) and e-mail PAC (landprotection@pacolet.org) with any possible sightings of previous or future “Polk County’s Most Wanted;” your reports do matter!

The purpose of the “Polk County’s Most Wanted” project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Article by Pam Torlina and David Campbell

IMG-Bradley property 9-29-13_40 plants“Success at last! Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri), one of “Polk County’s Most Wanted,” has been re-located in Polk County!” was taken by David Campbell


Important Film to be Shown at Flat Rock Cinema

Polk County News Journal, 11/6/13, pg.5

The Pacolet Area Conservancy and the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy will jointly present the film, “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time” to the public Tuesday, November 19 at 7:00 p.m. at the Flat Rock Cinema. The Flat Rock Cinema is located at 2700 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock, NC.  There is no charge for the showing of this important film, but donations will be accepted.  The Cinema is a unique theater – not like your average movie theater.  They offer an array of food and beverages.

Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.  The film explores Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the twentieth century and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied all over the world today.  The Green Fire film portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land — his call for a land ethic — ties modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

“Aldo Leopold’s legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world,” said Pam Torlina, PAC Director of Stewardship and Land Protection. “What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold; it also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it today by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world.”   

Come support the work of your local land trusts, and enjoy a meal and an inspirational movie!  Driving directions and a complete food and beverage menu, including beer and wine, can be found at www.flatrockcinema.com. 

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (founded in 1989) and the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (founded in 1994) are both 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organizations.  They work with landowners and the community to conserve land by accepting donations of land, purchasing land, negotiating private, voluntary conservation agreements on land, and stewarding conserved land.   

article submitted by Mary Walter

Green fire


PAC Hike at Bearwallow Rescheduled for November 8

Polk County News Journal, 11/6/13, pg.3

Due to the weather on November 1, PAC’s fourth hike of the Fall Hiking Series, at Bearwallow has been rescheduled for Friday, November 8. The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for a joint hike between the two organizations on Friday, November 8.

Join PAC and CMLC for a 2-mile, moderately strenuous, out and back hike at Bearwallow.  CMLC’s Trails and Outreach Coordinator, Peter Barr, will lead the hike at the 81 acre CMLC protected property.  A series of switchbacks lead hikers to the summit, a 537′ elevation gain. Although this is a short hike, in distance, the 4,232′ summit features a nearly 360° view, perfect for enjoying the colors of autumn in the mountains.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/CMLC hike at Bearwallow, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers can meet at either the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in with PAC and start the approximately 45 minute drive to the trail head or at the CMLC parking lot at 847 Case Street in Hendersonville at 8:45 a.m. to check in with CMLC and start the approximately 30 minute drive to the trail head. 

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend the next PAC hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information.  The next hike is scheduled for Nov. 15, to Catawba Falls at Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District), where PAC will be hosted by the Foothills Conservancy for a 3.8-mile, moderate out and back hike to view the falls.

For more information about hikes offered by CMLC, please visit their website at www.carolinamountain.org.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

bearwallowvistaCMLC’s Peter Barr enjoys the view from the summit at Bearwallow. (photo by Rick Shortt)


Green Fire to be shown at Flat Rock Cinema by PAC and CMLC

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/6/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Pacolet Area Conservancy hike at Bearwallow moved to Nov. 8

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/5/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


PAC Non-Native and Invasive Plant Host Free Program Nov. 9

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 11/4/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about Non-native and invasive plantsof the Southern Appalachian Mountains presented by Nancy Dagley of the National Park Service, Southeast Exotic Plant Management Team. 

The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, November 9, at 10:30 a.m.  

Non-native and invasive species are recognized as one of the major factors contributing to ecosystem change and instability throughout the world.  The National Park Service (NPS) protects some of the most iconic and ecologically important areas in the United States, and these foreign species are altering the native and cultural landscapes in virtually every unit of the National Park Service.  The NPS Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) Program serves as a critical resource to strategically manage invasive plant populations that are threatening these treasured landscapes.  

This presentation will provide an overview of the inventory, control, monitoring, and prevention strategies utilized by the NPS EPMT program.  A discussion of the most problematic invasive, exotic plants species in the Southern Appalachian Mountains will be provided, as well as a look at new invaders on the EPMT watch list.  

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station). 

Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits. 

PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

HSprings-NancyteachingID

Nancy Dagley teaching people how to identify some of the non-native and invasive plants of the Southern Appalachians. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s fall hike to be hosted by CMLC at Bearwallow, Nov. 1

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 10/30/13

The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for a joint hike between the two organizations on Friday, November 1.

Join PAC and CMLC for PAC’s fourth hike of the Fall Hiking Series, a 2-mile, moderately strenuous, out and back hike at Bearwallow.  CMLC’s Trails and Outreach Coordinator, Peter Barr, will lead the hike at the 81-acre CMLC protected property.  A series of switchbacks lead hikers to the summit, a 537′ elevation gain. Although this is a short hike, in distance, the 4,232′ summit features a nearly 360° view, perfect for enjoying the colors of autumn in the mountains!

If you are interested in attending the PAC/CMLC hike at Bearwallow, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers can meet at either the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in with PAC and start the approximately 45-minute drive to the trail head or at the CMLC parking lot at 847 Case Street in Hendersonville at 8:45 a.m. to check in with CMLC and start the approximately 30-minute drive to the trail head.

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend the next PAC hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information.  The next hike is scheduled for Nov. 15, to Catawba Falls at Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District), a 3.8-mile, moderate out and back hike to view the falls.  For more information about hikes offered by CMLC, please visit their website at www.carolinamountain.org.

By Pam Torlina

bearwallowvistaCMLC’s Peter Barr enjoys the view from the summit at Bearwallow (photo by Rick Shortt)


PAC’s fourth fall hike hosted by CMLC at Bearwallow, Nov. 1

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/26/13

The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for a joint hike between the two organizations on Friday, Nov. 1.

Join PAC and CMLC for PAC’s fourth hike of the Fall Hiking Series, a 2-mile, moderately strenuous, out and back hike at Bearwallow.  CMLC’s Trails and Outreach Coordinator, Peter Barr, will lead the hike at the 81-acre CMLC protected property.

A series of switchbacks lead hikers to the summit, a 537′ elevation gain. Although this is a short hike, in distance, the 4,232′ summit features a nearly 360° view, perfect for enjoying the colors of autumn in the mountains.

Those interested in attending the PAC/CMLC hike at Bearwallow, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers can meet at either the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in with PAC and start the approximately 45-minute drive to the trail head or at the CMLC parking lot at 847 Case Street in Hendersonville at 8:45 a.m. to check in with CMLC and start the approximately 30-minute drive to the trail head.

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water.  Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

Those who cannot make this hike but would like to attend the next PAC hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information.  The next hike is scheduled for Nov. 15, to Catawba Falls at Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District), a 3.8-mile, moderate out and back hike to view the falls.

For more information about hikes offered by CMLC, please visit their website at www.carolinamountain.org.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

bearwallowvistaBearwallow Vista (photo by Rick Shortt)


Learn about the geologic history of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/25/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about A Geologic History of the Blue Ridge Mountains presented by Kerry Wright, a geology major in his senior year at UNCA.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, October 26, at 10:30 a.m.  

Wright will present a review of basic geology which will lead to an overview of the events which have created and shaped the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains consist of several distinct ranges with each range having its own “personality.”  Much of his presentation will involve a description of the geography and location of these ranges, the Blue Ridge Escarpment, and descriptions of some of the more prominent geologic features of the area such as Table Rock, Caesar’s Head, Looking Glass, and Chimney Rock State Park.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  

Kerry examining a rock slideKerry Wright examining a rock slide.


A Geologic History of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 10/23/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about A Geologic History of the Blue Ridge Mountains presented by Kerry Wright, a geology major in his senior year at UNCA.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, October 26, at 10:30 a.m.  

Kerry will present a review of basic geology which will lead to an overview of the events which have created and shaped the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains consist of several distinct ranges with each range having its own “personality.”  Much of his presentation will involve a description of the geography and location of these ranges, the Blue Ridge Escarpment, and descriptions of some of the more prominent geologic features of the area such as Table Rock, Caesar’s Head, Looking Glass, and Chimney Rock State Park.

Kerry Wright is in his final year at UNCA in the Environmental Studies/ Earth Sciences program and also has his Blue Ridge Naturalist Certification with the NC Arboretum. He currently leads interpretive hikes with the YMCA of WNC, and he is redesigning the geology program at Chimney Rock State Park.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Kerry examining a rock slideKerry Wright examining a rock slide.


Program focused on geologic history of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/21/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about A Geologic History of the Blue Ridge Mountains presented by Kerry Wright, a geology major in his senior year at UNCA.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, October 26, at 10:30 a.m.  

Kerry will present a review of basic geology which will lead to an overview of the events which have created and shaped the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains consist of several distinct ranges with each range having its own “personality.”  

Much of his presentation will involve a description of the geography and location of these ranges, the Blue Ridge Escarpment, and descriptions of some of the more prominent geologic features of the area such as Table Rock, Caesar’s Head, Looking Glass, and Chimney Rock State Park.

Wright is in his final year at UNCA in the Environmental Studies/ Earth Sciences program and also has his Blue Ridge Naturalist Certification with the NC Arboretum. He currently leads interpretive hikes with the YMCA of WNC, and he is redesigning the geology program at Chimney Rock State Park.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road. 

Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Kerry examining a rock slidePAC presents Kerry Wright’s program on a geological survey of the Blue Ridge Mountains Saturday, Oct. 26. (photo submitted)


For Land’s Sake: PAC fundraiser

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/18/13

PAC is hosting their fall fundraiser, For Land’s Sake, to be held Friday, Oct. 25 from 6 – 8 p.m.

This year’s event will be held at FENCE.  Music will be performed by the Bent Strings.

Local photography will be auctioned and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.  Chairwoman is Cathy Taylor and all proceeds go to help fund land saving projects by PAC.  Tickets canbe purchased by contacting the PAC office at 828-859-5060.

The mission of the Pacolet Area Conservancy is to protect and conserve natural resources with emphasis on the lands and waterways in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds/

article submitted by Mary Walter

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


PAC’s third hike heads to Looking Glass Rock on October 18th

Polk County News Journal, 10/16/13

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 18, for a 6.2-mile hike in Pisgah National Forest, the third hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the moderately strenuous, out and back hike to Looking Glass Rock, 3950′ at its peak. 

The trail climbs 1,700 feet in just over three miles. Though the route goes uphill, the trail has many switchbacks, making for a moderately strenuous climb on a well-maintained trail.  

 

The trail starts off following a stream with small cascades before beginning a series of switchbacks up the mountain.  Sections of the trail take you through tunnels of rhododendron and mountain laurel.  After about two miles, the trail reaches a flat rock area, which is used as a helicopter pad by the local rescue squad for injured rock climbers.  From the helipad, the trail continues to the summit which has no view.  Hiking just beyond the summit, hikers will arrive at Upper Looking Glass Cliffs, sheer granite cliffs that reward hikers with outstanding views of the surrounding mountains; making the uphill hike well worth the effort.  This hike is not recommended for beginners.  

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at to Looking Glass Rock, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Bi-Lo in Columbus at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 45 minute drive to the trail head. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area by around 3:00 p.m.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend the next PAC hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information. The next hike is scheduled for November 1, when  the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host PAC on a joint hike at the CMLC protected property, Bearwallow, a 2-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back hike with a nearly 360° vista at the summit, perfect for enjoying autumn in the mountains.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission). PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits. PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage and a goal to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come. PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

IMG_4518

PAC hikers (from left to right), Larry Poe, Don Schlegel, Bill Blaesing, Mike Cass, Beth Schlegel, Pat Doggett, Ann Bridges, Liz Dicey, Jackie Burke, Don Dicey, Peggy Burke, Tammy Coleman, Bill Coleman, Mark McCall, Carol McCall, Carolyn Parker, Carol Maclean, Annie Ewing, and Kathy Gross, from the Oct. 4th hike to Bald Rock overlook at Table Rock State Park. (photo by Pam Torlina)


PAC’s third hike heads to Looking Glass Rock Oct. 18

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/16/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin Article


PAC Sponsoring Field Day Oct. 12

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/11/13

On Saturday, Oct. 12 the Pacolet Area Conservancy is sponsoring a field day at the corner of Carolina Drive and South Trade Street.  Tryon’s favorite guests, the Kudzu eating goats, are back. PAC, in cooperation with the Polk County Extension Center, is encouraging folks to come learn about this project.  Here Pam Torlina and PCHS Senior Will Ballard are discussing the upcoming field day.  It will be held from 10 a.m. until noon next to the IGA Supermarket in Tryon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Photo submitted by Sara Gottfried)


Kudzu vs Goats Field Day

Polk County News Journal & Landrum News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 10/9/13

pg. 2

On Saturday, October 12th the Pacolet Area Conservancy is sponsoring a field day at the corner of Carolina Drive and South Trade Street.  Tryon’s favorite guests, the Kudzu eating goats, are back and PAC in cooperation with the Polk County Extension Center are encouraging folks to come learn about this project.  Here Pam Torlina and PCHS Senior Will Ballard are discussing the upcoming field day.  It will be held from 10am to 12 noon next to the IGA Supermarket in Tryon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Photo by John Vining)


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant

Small-headed Blazing-star flowers

Polk County News Journal, 10/9/13, pg. 5

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plant,” Liatris microcephala, also known by the common names, Small-headed Blazing-star, Smooth Blazing-star, Dwarf Blazing-star, and Small-head Gayfeather, to name a few.

Small-headed Blazing-star is native to the southern Appalachian Mountains and although it is rare in North Carolina, it can be found in the mountains and piedmont. 

Specimens have been collected from Rutherford and Polk Counties in North Carolina; however, the specimen from Polk County was collected in 1921 and it has not been reported since, but that does not mean that it is no longer growing here. 

The public is asked to keep a keen eye on the landscape over the next few months and to contact PAC if they think that they see this plant in the county. 

A member of the Asteraceae family (the Asters), Small-headed Blazing-star is a perennial forb (an herb that is not a grass).  This plant is best located when it is in bloom, from August through October. 

Multiple, erect, leafy flower stalks are about 2′ in height and arise from tufts of narrow, grass-like leaves.  Flowers are on an indeterminate spike and flower from the top to the bottom. 

The flowers encircle the stalks with numerous ¾” rose-purple flowers.  They prefer to grow on or near outcrops of acidic rocks containing sandstone, granite, or gneiss.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org. 

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county. 

article submitted by Pam Torlina

flowers-Will StuartSmall-headed Blazing-star flowers. (photo by Will Stewart).

leaves-JK MarlowThe leaves of Small-headed Blazing-star. (photo by JK Marlow)


Kudzu eating goats return to Trade Street

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/8/13

The 2-acre Town of Tryon lot has been pretty quiet for the past few months, but after being away for nearly 3 months, the goats will be returning soon to eat up the Kudzu that has regrown on the site. 

 Wells Farm will be delivering the goats, and a guard dog, to the site in early October.  This is a continuation of the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), in partnership with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension for Polk County, is planning a free educational field day at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot on October 12, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.  Representatives from PAC and the Cooperative Extension will be onsite to talk to the public about the project and the importance of eradicating non-native and invasive species from the area in order to restore native plants to the landscape.

Polk County High School Senior, Will Ballard, will also be on site to assist with the educational field day.  He will help explain the pros and cons to utilizing goats for Kudzu control.

For more information, please contact PAC by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org. 

IMG_3982 A heard of goats munch on Kudzu as part of Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/4/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Goats return this week to eradicate Tryon’s Kudzu problems

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 10/2/13

Tryon’s favorite guests are returning to put a hurtin’ on the town’s least favorite vine.  That’s right, the goats are returning to the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA.

This is a continuation of the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s “Kudzu Eradication – Powered by Goats!” project funded by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund – Kudzu Eradication Initiative and a partnership between the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), the Town of Tryon, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension for Polk County.

Wells Farm will be delivering the goats on Tuesday, October 1.  The goats will be on site for 10-14 days to eat the Kudzu and other non-native and invasive species that have regrown on the site.  A guard dog will also be there to protect the goats.  This is the second round of goat-powered “treatment” on the site, and the grant will fund two more visits by the goats, per year, for two more years. 

For more information, please contact PAC by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit www.pacolet.org. 

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Town lot-2Goats from Wells Farm returned to the lot beside Tryon IGA to continue a kudzu eradication project (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


PAC fall hiking series

Life in Our Foothills, October 2013, pg. 11

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for Friday hikes offered this fall.

PAC started out on its first hike Sept. 20 to the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah District).  The organization will hold four more free hikes through November.

On Oct. 4, hikers will head to Table Rock State Park for a 7-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back trek to Bald Rock Overlook to enjoy unobscured views of the Piedmont of South Carolina from the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. 

Just in time for the splendor of autumn leaf colors, on Oct. 18, hikers venture to Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah District) for a 6.2-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back hike up Looking Glass Rock. 

On Nov. 1, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host PAC on a joint hike at the CMLC protected property, Bearwallow, a 2-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back hike with a nearly 360° vista at the summit, perfect for enjoying autumn in the mountains.

The final PAC hike will take place on Nov. 15, as hikers head to Catawba Falls in Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District) for a 3.8-mile moderate out and back hike to view the falls.

Those interested in attending the PAC fall hikes or for more information, call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

TableRockMountain2


Pacolet Area Conservancy plans Table Rock hike

Spartanburg Herald-Journal, 9/29/13

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy on Friday for a seven-mile hike at Table Rock State Park, the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.

PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection Pam Torlina will lead the moderately strenuous, out-and-back hike to Bald Rock overlook.

This hike follows the Pinnacle Mountain Trail from the nature center at Table Rock State Park, passing huge boulders and a couple of waterfalls. Hikers will follow the trail to Bald Rock Overlook, which provides a panorama from the side of Pinnacle Mountain, part of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. After taking in the view and stopping for lunch, the group will retrace its steps, returning along the same trail back to the start.

There is a $2 park fee ($1.25 for S.C. seniors) required for this hike. Please bring exact change.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Table Rock State Park, contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail at landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the Gowensville Spinx at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the estimated 45-minute drive to the trail head. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and should bring a bag lunch and/or snack, and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area by 3 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, contact the PAC office by 8:15 the day of the hike to see if it will take place.

If you cannot make this hike, but would like to attend the next hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information. The next hike is scheduled for Oct. 18 at Pisgah National Forest to Looking Glass Rock.

IMG_4410Table Rock Hike

The Pacolet Area Conservancy will hold a seven-mile hike at Table Rock State Park on Friday. It’s the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.

Click here to read the Herald-Journal article.


 

PAC’s second hike heads to Table Rock Oct. 4

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/26/13

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, October 4, for a 7-mile hike at Table Rock State Park, the second hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking Series.  PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the moderately strenuous, out and back hike to Bald Rock overlook. 

This hike follows the Pinnacle Mountain Trail from the nature center at Table Rock State Park, passing huge boulders and a couple of waterfalls. Hikers will follow the trail to Bald Rock Overlook which provides a beautiful panorama from the side of Pinnacle Mountain, part of the Blue Ridge Escarpment.  After taking in the view and stopping for lunch, the group will retrace their steps, returning along the same trail back to the start.  There is a $2.00 park fee ($1.25 for SC Seniors) that is required for this hike.  Please bring exact change.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Table Rock State Park, please contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will be meeting at the Gowensville Spinx at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately 45 minute drive to the trail head. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Please be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area by around 3:00 p.m.  In case of inclement weather, please contact the PAC office by 8:15 on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike but would like to attend the next PAC hike, please visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, or go to PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information. The next hike is scheduled for October 18 at Pisgah National Forest, to Looking Glass Rock.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission). PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits. PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage and a goal to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come. PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-article submitted by Pam Torlina

IMG_4410Hikers who attended PAC’s first fall hike at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest on September 20: Bill Blaesing, Carol McCall, Lois Torlina, Mary Savard, Carol Morjea, Dee Gulyassy, Richard Pierce, Liz Dicey, Tommy Fletcher, Patsy Panther, Randy Thrasher, Suzy Thrasher, Bill Coleman, Tammy Coleman, Carolyn Parker, Kathy Gross, and Hilda Sitton

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Monitoring large-scale plant poaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/19/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend a free program about “Monitoring large-scale plant poaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway” presented by National Park Service Ecologist, Nora Murdock.  The program will be held at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on Saturday, September 21, at 10:30 a.m.  

The Southern Appalachian Mountains are well known for their extraordinary diversity of plant life, including many native medicinal herbs, as well as species that are in demand by collectors and for the floral industry. Federal land-managing agencies (National Park Service, US Forest Service) operate under different legal mandates, with the National Forests allowing controlled commercial harvest of some plants, and the National Parks not allowing such harvest. However, all land managers are working to maintain viable populations of native plants. Managers and biologists from many agencies are expressing concern over the increasing level of harvesting (and poaching) occurring on public lands. Some of these plants do not recover quickly (or at all) from intensive harvesting, and are being eliminated from habitats that are accessible to poachers. In the National Parks, poachers are penetrating deeper into the most remote backcountry, as more accessible populations of target species are disappearing. The illegal harvesting of plants on a commercial scale for the herbal remedy and floral markets is of growing concern along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where individual poachers have been intercepted leaving the park with tens of thousands of plants, taken for sale in markets throughout the United States, as well as for export to international markets. The species that we are targeting for monitoring, that appear to be most threatened by poaching at present, are ginseng, black cohosh, trilliums, bloodroot, and a rare form of galax that grows only in a narrow band along the southern Blue Ridge Escarpment.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

BI_10062011_RE_Nora (Large)Nora Murdock working in the field. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


PAC’s first fall hike goes to Pink Beds Sept. 20

Polk County News Journal, 9/18/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) on Friday, Sept. 20, will lead a 5.4-mile, easy/moderate loop hike at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest, the first hike of PAC’s Fall Hiking series.  PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike, which begins at the Pink Beds Picnic Area. The trail is located in a unique, relatively flat, high-elevation valley and loops around a mountain bog that contains several rare and endangered species of plants. Hikers will also enjoy the rich cove forest, clear streams, wildlife meadows and scenic fern-filled woods.

The area is named for the profusion of pink wildflowers, including Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron, which appear in the spring and summer. The forest is one of the first to be managed through modern forestry techniques, earning it the nickname “The Cradle of Forestry in America.” The Cradle of Forestry is a 6,500-acre National Historic Site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the United States.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest, contact the PAC office by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Hikers will meet at the Columbus BiLo at 8:30 a.m. to check in and start the approximately one-hour drive to the trailhead. Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring a bag lunch and/or snack, and plenty of water. Be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area by around 3 p.m. In case of inclement weather, contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you cannot make this hike, but would like to attend future hikes, visit PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org or go to PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy, for information on upcoming hikes. The next hike is scheduled for Oct. 4 to Bald Rock Overlook at Table Rock State Park.

Don’t forget about PAC’s “Hiking Challenge.” Complete all five PAC hikes this fall and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission). PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements), which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.) and potentially obtain significant federal, state and local tax benefits.

PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage and a goal to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come. PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

– article submitted by Pam Torlina

2013-06-16_pisgah-national-forest_pink-beds-boardwalk-bog by Robert Mitchell

Part of the trail over the bog at the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest. (photo by Robert Mitchell)


PAC’s first fall hike goes to Pink Beds Sept. 20

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/18/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Polk’s Most Wanted Plant- Walter’s Crownbeard

Polk County News Journal, 9/18/13

This month’s species in our ongoing series of “Polk’s Most Wanted” is a wildflower known as Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri).

Walter’s Crownbeard is a member of the Aster Family of flowering plants that include well-known species such as Sunflower and Chrysanthemum. However, unlike most members of the Aster Family, Walter’s Crownbeard lacks ray flowers (‘petals’) and thus has the somewhat odd appearance of being a globular flower- in reality, many small individual flowers known as disk flowers that are grouped together (compound) and thus look like a small ball.

Walter’s Crownbeard prefers rich and moist habitats that may include bottomland forests, or rich mountain coves. The distribution of Walter’s Crownbeard is also unusual, as it is found in coastal South Carolina, as well as a handful of piedmont and mountain localities in North and South Carolina. Additional areas for this species are also to be found west of our region in the Ouachita Mountains.

This is a rare species in most regions where it occurs. Currently, Walter’s Crownbeard is known from three sites in Polk County. Flowering begins in late August to mid-September. Therefore, the time to search for this unusual species is now. If you locate a population of Walter’s Crownbeard, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by David Campbell

by Betsy GeorgeWalter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri). (photo by Betsy George)


New County Record – Georgia Holly

Polk County News Journal, 9/11/13

During a joint native plant rescue performed by the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Tryon Garden Club (TGC) at Pearson’s Falls this spring (in preparation for the “Green Restrooms”), PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, discovered a new species of plant for Polk County!  Georgia Holly (Ilex longipes) was found growing at Pearson’s Falls and prior to this sighting no one had ever identified (or vouchered) this specimen in the county before.  Torlina took a couple of cuttings and preserved them to voucher the specimens.   Just recently, the specimens were verified by botanist, David Campbell. 

Prior to March 31, 2013, Georgia Holly had never been reported as growing in the county.  The shrub/small tree is native to the Carolinas and Georgia but uncommon, even rare in the Carolinas.The plant has been found and collected from nearby counties, such as Rutherford County in N.C. and Cherokee County in S.C., and now specimens from Polk County are on their way to Charlotte to be filed in the database of the UNCC Herbarium housed at the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies.

Campbell says, “This is proof that there is much to be discovered in Polk County.  It is very interesting botanically.”

Pearson’s Falls, a nature preserve, has been owned and operated by the TGC since 1931. TGC is the fourth oldest garden club in North Carolina and celebrated its 85th anniversary this year.  Members of the 501(c)(3) organization are active in preserving, protecting, and treasuring Pearson Falls, contributing to the beautification of Tryon, educating members and the community, and collaborating with others, fulfilling the organization’s mission to foster awareness and appreciation of the natural world.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and their goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by Pam Torlina

0524131030Georgia Holly (Ilex longipes) discovered at Pearson’s Falls on 5/31/13. (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)


New County Record – Georgia Holly found in Polk County

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/11/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


PAC kicks of fall hiking series Sept. 20

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/6/13

Join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) for five Friday hikes offered this fall, free of charge. Starting September 20, PAC’s first hike will head to the Pink Beds in Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah District), a 5.4-mile, easy/moderate loop hike around a mountain bog located in aunique, relatively flat, high-elevation valley. 

 

On October 4, hikers will head to Table Rock State Park for a 7-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back trek to Bald Rock Overlook to enjoy unobscured views of the Piedmont of South Carolina from the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. 

 

Just in time for the splendor of autumn leaf colors, on October 18, hikers venture to Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah District) for a 6.2-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back hike up Looking Glass Rock. 

 

On November 1, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) will host PAC on a joint hike at the CMLC protected property, Bearwallow, a 2-mile, moderate/strenuous out and back hike with a nearly 360° vista at the summit, perfect for enjoying autumn in the mountains! 

 

The final PAC hike will take place on November 15, as hikers head to Catawba Falls in Pisgah National Forest (Appalachian District) for a 3.8-mile moderate out and back hike to view the falls.

 

New this year, PAC invites the public to participate in a “Hiking Challenge”!  Complete all five PAC hikes this fall and receive a custom bumper sticker acknowledging your accomplishment!

 

If you are interested in attending the PAC Fall Hikes and would like more information, please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  You can also find information on PAC’s website, www.pacolet.org, and on PAC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.

 

PAC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) qualified conservation organization (land trust) that works with landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their land through voluntary conservation easements.  Conservation easements enable landowners to maintain ownership and management of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC’s mission is to protect and conserve our area’s natural resources with a vision of a community living and growing in harmony with our natural heritage and a goal to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

IMG_1919Buck, a Foothills Humane Society rescue, enjoys the autumn view of Looking Glass Rock from John Rock in Pisgah National Forest. (photo by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Polk’s Most Wanted Plant- Walter’s Crownbeard

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 9/3/13

This month’s species in our ongoing series of “Polk’s Most Wanted” is a wildflower known as Walter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri).

Walter’s Crownbeard is a member of the Aster Family of flowering plants that include well-known species such as Sunflower and Chrysanthemum. However, unlike most members of the Aster Family, Walter’s Crownbeard lacks ray flowers (‘petals’) and thus has the somewhat odd appearance of being a globular flower- in reality, many small individual flowers known as disk flowers that are grouped together (compound) and thus look like a small ball.

Walter’s Crownbeard prefers rich and moist habitats that may include bottomland forests, or rich mountain coves. The distribution of Walter’s Crownbeard is also unusual, as it is found in coastal South Carolina, as well as a handful of piedmont and mountain localities in North and South Carolina. Additional areas for this species are also to be found west of our region in the Ouachita Mountains.

This is a rare species in most regions where it occurs. Currently, Walter’s Crownbeard is known from three sites in Polk County. Flowering begins in late August to mid-September. Therefore, the time to search for this unusual species is now. If you locate a population of Walter’s Crownbeard, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by David Campbell

by Betsy GeorgeWalter’s Crownbeard (Verbesina walteri). (photo by Betsy George)

Click on the link to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin Article and learn more about this animal: Polk County’s Most Wanted – Plant: Walter’s Crownbeard


‘Wildlife in Western North Carolina’

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 8/5/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Riparian Buffers and their importance

Recent abundance of rain in the area and especially with the erosion that follows

Polk County News Journal, 7/31/13

With the recent abundance of rain in the area and especially with the erosion that follows, it seems a perfect time to discuss the importance of riparian buffers.

First, what is a riparian buffer?  A riparian buffer is the vegetated land adjacent to a stream or water body.  This vegetation benefits water quality and habitat by helping to regulate temperature, add organic matter (leaves and twigs), assist in pollution reduction, and by providing wildlife habitat.

Lack of riparian buffers along streams and water bodies result in excess stream bank erosion.  Some stream bank erosion is a natural part of the down cutting process of waterways; however, this process is accelerated by altering the stream system in some way, such as straightening or widening, removing streamside vegetation, and clearing for agriculture, forestry, and/or development.  Altering the natural system can result in erosion rate hundreds of times greater than those seen in naturally stable streams.

Without proper riparian buffers, stream bank erosion and sedimentation of waterways is all too common.  Sediment and other nonpoint source pollutants come from many sources and make their way into our waterways through surface runoff.  When land disturbing activities occur, soil particles (sediment), nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides, and fecal coliform bacteria are transported by surface water and are often deposited into streams, lakes, and wetlands.  These pollutants can affect an aquatic ecosystem in a number of ways.  Excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) can cause algal blooms, fecal coliform bacteria can be an indicator of waste-borne disease, and pesticides can kill or sicken fish and aquatic invertebrates.

The loss of these valuable vegetative zones results in reduced water quality, reduced wildlife and fish populations, causes serious property damage (bank erosion), and  loss of valuable agricultural lands.  It also results in increased water temperatures and decreased dissolved oxygen in the water, decreasing aquatic life.  The loss of shade by clearing along waterways exposes soils to drying by wind and sunlight and reduces the water storage ability of the riparian area.  If there is not a buffer for runoff water to spread over, it can cut channels into the land, allowing the sediment and sediment-attached pollutants to flow directly into a stream or waterway.  Sediment in our waterways is the largest single nonpoint source pollutant and one of the primary factors in the deterioration of surface water quality in the United States.

Riparian buffers are the most stable and effective ways to protect our streams and waterways.  In North Carolina, natural riparian buffers are forested.  They include a combination of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbs that form a plant community adjacent to a stream or water body.

How do riparian buffers work?  Buffer vegetation slows and filters runoff water above ground, causing sediment to settle out and be deposited in the buffer, not in our waterways.  The vegetative buffer allows water to percolate through the soil into the groundwater table, instead of running over the surface of the land, picking up sediment in the process.  In many locations, groundwater moves toward streams, and it often carries nitrate-nitrogen and sometimes pesticides.  Nitrate, a pollutant that moves in groundwater can be diluted in a riparian buffer.  Plants use it, but more importantly, it is changed to nitrogen gas through denitrification, and nitrogen gas poses no harm to the environment.  Riparian buffers that contain a diverse mixture of plants work the best, since different plants have different rooting structures.  Some plants utilize the top several inches of soil, while others, such as taproots penetrate deeper into the soil.  These roots not only remove nutrients but they stabilize steam banks.

What are the benefits of having, preserving, and/or restoring riparian buffers?  Buffers perform many environmentally, economically, and socially significant functions.  They maintain and improve water quality by protecting water resources from nonpoint pollutants from both urban and agricultural activities.  Buffers slow floodwaters, thereby helping to maintain stable stream banks and protect downstream property.  Slowing floodwaters allows the riparian zone to function as a site of sediment deposition, trapping sediments that build stream banks and would otherwise degrade streams and rivers.  By slowing down floodwaters and rainwater runoff, riparian vegetation allows water to soak into the ground and recharge groundwater.  Buffers shade streams and regulate fluctuations in water temperatures which help maintain fish habitat, especially for cold-water fish such as trout.  Buffers can increase the amount and variety of wildlife and songbirds because they provide a wider range of habitat and food and they are an important travel way for wildlife.

What is the best kind of riparian buffer?  The debate continues and there are many schools of thought on the topic.  It can get fairly complex, taking into consideration site characteristics, such as hydrology, topography, geology, land use, and value.  However, the basic rule of thumb is, the wider the buffer, the better for water quality and wildlife, but even a narrow buffer is better than no buffer.   An ideal mountain land buffer consists of a continuous forest along the stream or water body.  However, for non-forested land, you could use a two-part buffer: a primary buffer consisting of a forested strip next to the stream or water source, and a secondary working buffer between the non-forested land use area and the forested buffer.  This secondary buffer can consist of grasses, shrubs, or additional forest, and would be available for nonintrusive uses such as haying, logging, or taking cuttings for horticultural production.

It is important to remember that sediment, fecal coliform bacteria, and nutrient levels all significantly increase when livestock are kept near a stream.  The stream bank and buffer benefit greatly from removing or reducing livestock access in the stream bank buffer.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has worked with the state of North Carolina and area landowners to protect countless miles of streams, creeks, and rivers in the area, preserving a natural riparian buffer.  PAC has also helped to protect thousands of acres of land within the watershed, aiding in the quality of water in our area.  Our beautiful waterways are an asset of the community worth protecting and preserving for future generations.

For more information or to discuss how you can permanently protect a riparian buffer on your property or land within the watershed, contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or e-mail, landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-By Pam Torlina

PAC Logo-color


Polk’s Most Wanted-Northern Pine Snake

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 7/31/13 

This week’s species in our continuing series of articles on ‘Polk’s Most Wanted’ is the Northern Pine Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus).

The Northern Pine Snake is one of the largest snakes in North Carolina, with specimens routinely reaching lengths exceeding four feet. On rare occasions, the Pine Snake may reach six feet in length. These snakes are bulky in appearance, with an overall background coloration of whitish-gray, with black or brown blotches.  In some areas, Pine Snakes may be referred to as ‘Bullsnakes’ due to their resemblance to that species. True Bullsnakes, however, occur west of North Carolina. The Pine Snake should not be easily confused with any other type of snake in our state.

Pine Snakes are non-venomous and completely harmless to humans. However, if cornered or molested, these snakes are capable of putting on an impressive threat display that includes very loud hissing, inflated throat, and striking repeatedly. Unfortunately,  such threat displays often result in the death of the Pine Snake at the hands of uninformed persons.

Pine snakes are usually active in the early morning hours, or late afternoon.  Higher temperatures at mid-day oblige these large serpents to seek shelter underground in the burrows of mammals, or in the interiors of hollow logs or tree stumps. Pine Snakes are also very capable of digging burrows of their own.  Northern Pine Snakes will mate in the spring, and the females will deposit between 5-15 very large eggs in burrows or under logs and stumps.

Northern Pine Snakes are most abundant in our state along certain areas of the Coastal Plain and in the Sandhills region.  This is not surprising, as these areas contain the open Pine forests and dry, sandy soils that this species prefers to burrow in.  The habits of Northern Pine Snakes in the Piedmont and Mountains are shrouded in mystery.  Dry mountain ridges and areas with loose sandy soils, dominated by Pines and Oaks seem to be preferred. Encounters with this species in the western areas of our state are very rare.  However, Pine Snakes are an extremely secretive species, and spend the majority of their time underground. Just because one does not see them, does not mean that these snakes are not there!

The Northern Pine Snake is not known to occur at Polk County- yet!  At the present time, reports of the Northern Pine Snake in North Carolina are confined to the following counties:  Brunswick, Cherokee, Clay, Cumberland, Graham, Harnett, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Richmond, Rutherford, Scotland, and Swain. Some of these reports are many decades old. Also of interest are credible sightings of Northern Pine Snakes just south of the NC state line along the SC Highway 11 corridor. Therefore, the most likely areas for Northern Pine Snake to be found in Polk would be the southern edge of the county, particularly along the south-eastern boundary adjacent to Rutherford County (NC) and Spartanburg County (SC).

Much remains to be learned about this harmless and secretive species in North Carolina, particularly in the Piedmont and Mountains. Alert citizens can aid greatly in this regard by reporting any sightings of this snake to the appropriate authorities.  Those with information concerning Northern Pine Snakes in Polk or nearby counties are encouraged to contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC).

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-By David Campbell

Northern Pine Snake

Northern Pine Snake. (Photo by: © John White – Virginia Herpetological Society)


Riparian Buffers and their importance

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/26/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Polk’s Most Wanted: Northern Pine Snake

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/25/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulliten article.


Wildlife in Western North Carolina

The News Leader, 7/24/13

 The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend “Wildlife in Western North Carolina” on Saturday, August 10, at 10:30 a.m. at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.  The interactive program will be presented by Chimney Rock State Park’s Naturalist, Emily Walker.  Walker promises to bring in some LIVE animals, so this will be a great program for adults and children alike, and there is no charge for the event.

Emily Walker, who had a background as a wildlife rehabilitor before working with Chimney Rock State Management, joined the Park in 2005 in hopes of sharing her passion for the outdoors and wildlife with students and other guests visiting the Park.

In her presentation, “Wildlife in Western North Carolina,” Walker will help participants learn about wildlife indigenous to the area, their characteristics, threats to certain populations, and what you can do to coexist with our sometimes misunderstood neighbors.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward Lake Lure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is private property and guests are only allowed on the property by invitation (a planned event or scheduled group).  Thank you.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation’s Unrestricted Fund.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

– By Pam Torlina

Picture for PAC

Emily Walker with a woodchuck at an education program at Chimney Rock State Park.


Preserving Family Lands: Important legacies we can pass on

 Polk County News Journal, 7/24/13

Land can be permanently preserved through a method called a conservation easement, also known as a conservation agreement.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy has been working with willing landowners for almost 25 years to help people preserve and conserve their special lands. There are criteria that must be met, and restrictions to future uses, but there is flexibility in each agreement. The agreement is legally binding and applies to all future owners of the land.

Right now is there is an enhanced tax incentive in place. The U.S. Congress passed a fiscal cliff deal that renews the enhanced income tax deduction for conservation easements through 2013, and retroactive to the beginning of 2012. This incentive will help land trusts, such as the Pacolet Area Conservancy, increase the pace of land conservation.

Below are some questions and answers to help landowners better understand:

1. How does the enhanced easement incentive change the law for conservation donations?

The enhanced easement incentive:

Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of their adjusted gross income in any year to 50 percent;

Allows qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income (see the above link for more details); and

Extends the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for voluntary conservation agreements from 5 to 15 years (in addition to the year of donation).

2. Can you give me an example?

Without the enhanced easement incentive, a landowner earning $50,000 a year who donated a $1 million conservation easement could take a $15,000 deduction for the year of the donation and for an additional 5 years – a total of $90,000 in tax deductions.

The enhanced easement deduction allows that landowner to deduct $25,000 for the year of the donation and then for an additional 15 years. That’s $400,000 in deductions. If the landowner qualifies as a farmer or rancher, they can zero out their taxes. In that case, they could take a maximum of $800,000 in deductions for their million dollar gift.

The PAC staff encourages interested landowners to contact them at 828-859-5060. As of now, these enhanced tax incentives are only secured until December 31, 2013. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in drawing up a conservation easement, such as site visits, baseline documentation, research and legal documentation. That all takes about five to six months to complete.

article submitted by Mary Walter.


Torlina promoted at Pacolet Area Conservancy

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/18/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article.


Pam Torlina promoted at Pacolet Area Conservancy

Polk County News Journal and The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 7/17/13

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

Torlina has been with the land trust for seven years.  Executive Director, Mary Arrington Walter, says, “Since I’ve been at PAC, I’ve been very impressed with Pam’s work ethic and dedication.  She is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the natural world, excellent in preparing baseline documentations for our protected properties, and has great rapport with our land owners.”

Torlina was born in Trenton, Michigan and received her B.S. degree in Biology from USC Upstate.  She has been at PAC since May of 2006.  When asked what she is most proud of professionally, she replied, “assisting in the protection of nearly 2,000 acres of land in our area.”

She is an active mother to Jade, a Landrum High School junior.  When not out walking PAC protected lands or working on baseline documentation reports at the PAC office, you can find Pam outdoors in some capacity.  She loves hiking, camping, canoeing, and basically anything outdoors.

Pam has some unique skills, too.  She used to live in Ontario, Canada where she used to make traditional snowshoes, cutting, carving, and bending White Ash to form the shoe.  She had area hunt camps donate deer and moose hides for her to turn in to laces for the shoes.  Another interesting job she had was leading “canopy tours” in Ontario.  The trail, which she says is very remote, was suspended 70 feet up in a stand of old growth of White Pine trees.  “I literally got to hang out in the tree tops all day!  It was wonderful!”  She often saw moose and bear and even heard a pack of wolves howling.  Always an avid birder, while in Ontario she observed loons, and grouse, and songbirds.

Another skill she honed while in Canada was maple syrup production.  “I ran a sugar bush and produced nearly 100 liters of maple syrup a year.  You have to understand that the ratio of sap to syrup is 40 liters of sap to 1 liter of syrup!”

Immediate PAC Board Past President, Carole Bartol, sings Pam’s praises by saying “I can’t imagine PAC without Pam!  She is a dedicated professional, doing what she believes in with joy and enthusiasm.  Her new title will better reflect and recognize all that she does for PAC.”

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservation organization founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources. PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.

PAC – saving the places you love.

me

Pam Torlina who has been promoted to Director of Stewardship and Land Protection.


Preserving family lands: Important legacy to pass on

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/17/13

Land can be permanently preserved through a method called a conservation easement, also known as a conservation agreement.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy has been working with willing landowners for almost 25 years to help people preserve and conserve their special lands. There are criteria that must be met, and restrictions to future uses, but there is flexibility in each agreement. The agreement is legally binding and applies to all future owners of the land.

Right now is there is an enhanced tax incentive in place. The U.S. Congress passed a fiscal cliff deal that renews the enhanced income tax deduction for conservation easements through 2013, and retroactive to the beginning of 2012. This incentive will help land trusts, such as the Pacolet Area Conservancy, increase the pace of land conservation.

Below are some questions and answers to help landowners better understand:

1. How does the enhanced easement incentive change the law for conservation donations?

The enhanced easement incentive:

Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of their adjusted gross income in any year to 50 percent;

Allows qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income (see the above link for more details); and

Extends the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for voluntary conservation agreements from 5 to 15 years (in addition to the year of donation).

2. Can you give me an example?

Without the enhanced easement incentive, a landowner earning $50,000 a year who donated a $1 million conservation easement could take a $15,000 deduction for the year of the donation and for an additional 5 years – a total of $90,000 in tax deductions.

The enhanced easement deduction allows that landowner to deduct $25,000 for the year of the donation and then for an additional 15 years. That’s $400,000 in deductions. If the landowner qualifies as a farmer or rancher, they can zero out their taxes. In that case, they could take a maximum of $800,000 in deductions for their million dollar gift.

The PAC staff encourages interested landowners to contact them at 828-859-5060. As of now, these enhanced tax incentives are only secured until December 31, 2013. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in drawing up a conservation easement, such as site visits, baseline documentation, research and legal documentation. That all takes about five to six months to complete.

article submitted by Mary Walter.


New documentary on Leopold showing at Walnut Creek Preserve

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/12/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) in partnership with Walnut Creek Preserve, will host a free screening of Green Fire, the first full-length, high definition documentary film ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold.

The film will be shown at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve on July 19 at 7 p.m.  The event is open to all ages and is free of charge.  Light refreshments will be served.

The Green Fire film explores Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the 20th century and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied all over the world today.

The film portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land — his call for a land ethic — ties modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future

“Aldo Leopold’s legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world,” said Pam Torlina, PAC Land Protection Specialist.

“What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold; it also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it today, by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined. We are certain it will spur residents of Polk County to continue existing land ethic programs and to find new ways we can be stewards of our precious environment.”

Green Fire illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level.

Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. They’ll learn about ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts, and they’ll meet wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived.

For the past 24 years, PAC has served as the local land trust for Polk County and surrounding areas in North Carolina and upstate South   Carolina. The 501(c)(3) non-profit, grass roots organization is dedicated to protecting and conserving the area’s precious natural resources (PAC’s mission).

PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and the goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements. To date the organization has helped to protect over 8,400 acres of land in the area, and it has the support of over 1,500 community members. PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation and was purchased with funds obtained from a native plant rescue and sale done in collaboration with the Tryon Garden Club.

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit PAC’s website at www.pacolet.org and check out “Upcoming Events.”

Green fire


Polk County’s Most Wanted: Marshallia grandiflora

Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 7/10/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plant,” Marshallia grandiflora, also known by the common names, Barbara’s Buttons, Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons, Large-flowered Barbara’s-buttons, Large-flowered marshallia, and Monongahela Barbara’s buttons, to name a few.

Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is known throughout central Appalachia – from Pennsylvania south to Tennessee with the largest populations occurring in West Virginia.  Historically, it grew in North Carolina where it is ranked as “SH-State Historical” and “G2-Globally Imperiled” throughout the world, due to the rarity and/or vulnerability of the plant.  It is historically known from Henderson and Polk Counties in North Carolina, and there is an historic record of the plant from Polk County.  The first, and only, record of this plant in Polk County was made in 1898 and found in “dry soil near Saluda.”  There was a specimen collected and it is housed at the state herbarium.   Unfortunately, there have been no reports of this plant in the county since then, but that does not mean that it is not here.  That is why this plant has been chosen for this month’s “Most Wanted.”  The public is asked to keep a keen eye on the landscape over the next few months and to contact PAC if they think that they see this plant in the county.

Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is a perennial herb that grows 1-2 feet tall, singly or in clusters from a low, woody base.   The leaves are narrowly oblong and tapering and have three parallel veins.  Leaves near the bottom of the stem have a short petiole (stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem), but farther up the stem, the leaves are attached directly to the main stem.  It is a member of the Asteraceae family, and the solitary, disk-shaped flower heads are about 1-2 inches wide and range in color from white, pale purple, to pink.  They bloom from May through August.

The plant prefers wet forests or meadows and also occurs on stream banks.  It tolerates partial shade, but flowers best in direct sunlight.  It is most commonly found in habitat that has been scoured by flooding.  Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is historically known to grow in bogs.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

by Pam Torlina

Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia grandiflora)

Marshallia grandiflora. (photo by Thomas H. Kent)


PAC and Hunting Country POA Protect a Piece of Hunting Country

The News Leader & Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 7/10/13

On July 3, 2013, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) worked with the Hunting Country Property Owners Association (HC POA) to finalize a conservation easement on a 2-acre parcel of land at the intersection of Hunting Country Road and Blockhouse Road.  The conservation easement will ensure that this parcel of land remain in its natural state, adding to the scenic beauty and character of the Hunting Country, in perpetuity.  Both PAC and the HC POA are indebted to the late Burt Baer for his drive, perseverance, and dedication to this project.   The HC POA would like to express a big thanks to Pam Torlina of PAC and to members of the HC POA Board, Madeline Clas, Emily Clark, Cheryl Every, Warren Board, Carol Bartol, Mari Cartwright, and Robert Williams for making this happen.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.  For more information, contact PAC at (828)859-5060 or www.pacolet.org.

by Pam Torlina with input provided by Phil Burrus (HC POA President)

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From left to right: Elizabeth Lamb (PAC president), Phil Burrus (Hunting Country Property Owners Association president) and Mary Walter (PAC executive director) at the closing of the Hunting Country POA conservation easement, protecting 2-acres of land in the Hunting Country. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Tryon kudzu-eating goats complete their job

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/10/13

The kudzu-eating goats, after three weeks and two days, have finished their job at the two-acre town lot in Tryon for the summer. They have moved on to munch on more kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) in the area. The goats will return this fall to eat any new growth. (photos submitted by Pam Torlina) The kudzu-eating goats, after three weeks and two days, have finished their job at the two-acre town lot in Tryon for the summer. They have moved on to munch on more kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) in the area. The goats will return this fall to eat any new growth. (photos submitted by Pam Torlina)

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Before.


PAC and Hunting Country POA protect a piece of Hunting Country

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/9/13

On July 3, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) worked with the Hunting Country Property Owners Association (HC POA) to finalize a conservation easement on a 2-acre parcel of land at the intersection of Hunting Country Road and Blockhouse Road.

The conservation easement will ensure that this parcel of land remain in its natural state, adding to the scenic beauty and character of the Hunting Country, in perpetuity.  Both PAC and the HC POA are indebted to the late Burton Baer for his drive, perseverance and dedication to this project.

Pam Torlina of PAC and HC POA Board members, Madeline Clas, Emily Clark, Cheryl Every, Warren Board, Carol Bartol, Mari Cartwright and Robert Williams helped make this happen.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).

PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state and local tax benefits.

PAC’s vision is a community living and growing in harmony with its natural resources: and PAC’s goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.  For more information, contact PAC at 828-859-5060 or www.pacolet.org.

– article submitted by Pam Torlina

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From left to right: Elizabeth Lamb (PAC president), Phil Burrus (Hunting Country Property Owners Association president) and Mary Walter (PAC executive director) at the closing of the Hunting Country POA conservation easement, protecting 2-acres of land in the Hunting Country. (photo by Pam Torlina)


PACOLET AREA CONSERVANCY

Life in our Foothills (magazine), July 2013

trail

The folks over at the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) are about the nicest tree-hugging watchdogs you’d ever hope to have protecting Mother Nature in and around Polk County.

They’d love to take you on a nature hike, show you a pro-nature film, or help you pull Kudzu out of your indigenous trees.  They don’t even take exception to being referred to as “tree huggers” or “watchdogs of the land.”  But make no mistake about it: When it comes to guarding the natural integrity of the land, they will draw a line in the fertile soil.

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Hikers enjoy a regular Friday morning hike with PAC in the fall.

As an agency, a rather small organization, PAC only has one and a half staffers in a small somewhat over-stuffed office just outside Tryon’s town limits on U.S. 176, before you get to Harmon Field.  Pam Torlina is officially the land protection specialist, but she does whatever needs to be done, a Jane-of-all-trades.  She leads hikes, organizes volunteers, inspects property, identifies plants and animals, and knows the law of the land when it comes to people abusing Mother Nature.

Upper_Bridal_Veil_Falls

The Board of Trustees is very active and led by President Elizabeth “Dibbit” Lamb.  She is fond of natural fibers and takes land preservation very seriously.  When these ladies talk the talk, it goes far beyond polite conversation about pruning roses.

It is the passionate protection of nearly 8,500 acres, the moral management of 52 protected properties (known legally as [conservation] easements), and inclusive involvement of some 1,500 supporters, who are either donors and/or volunteers.

mary, carole, gretchen2 PAC volunteers clean brush from a trail so other nature enthusiasts can safely enjoy the great outdoors.

Technically, PAC is a “land trust,” endowed with the ways and means to hold people accountable to how they use their land.  Not all people and not all land: just the people who at some point willingly gave PAC the authority to inspect the land and make sure they are using it in accordance with a legally binding agreement that favors preserving the land in as much of its natural state as possible.  In other words, if Mr. Bill lets PAC enact an easement on his land, he and PAC agreed the land can only be used in certain mutually agreed upon ways, such as banning commercial development.  This is something Mr. Bill wanted because he likes clean water, big trees and little furry animals, and he wanted to protect his land’s natural beauty.

Table rock

PAC also leads a variety of hikes to beautiful spots around Polk County and western North Carolina and the Upstate to show people the importance of conservation.

In addition, landowners might qualify for now bigger-than-ever tax incentives.  Currently, PAC is pretty excited that the Feds upped the ante in 2013 when it comes to giving landowners better tax breaks.  It can get pretty financially technical, but that’s where PAC excels: When land is being considered for easement, they want to make sure all the considerations are made upfront, exceptions are dully noted, tax breaks put in place, and that all concerned parties are happily moving forward.  It can be a lengthy (a year or more) and thoughtful process.

As long as Mr. Bill and anyone else who might ever own land abides by the easement, all’s good.  But, if somewhere down the line Mr. Bill has a change of heart and wants to clear the land for a shopping center, well…a contract is a contract and a legally binding document, and PAC knows its rights and isn’t afraid to stand up for Mother Nature.

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But that would be a somewhat worse-case scenario.  Torlina sends a gentle reminder to landowners each year, telling them that she’ll be coming around soon just to see how things are going.  It’s good when landowners join her for the inspection.  In most cases, all is good, and any misdeeds are usually minor matters of misunderstanding that cam be easily corrected.

“Ah, Mr. Bill, you really should not have cut down that 100-year-old oak tree.  In keeping with the spirit of the easement, you’ll need to replace it.  No, you can’t plant an Australian Eucalyptus tree there.  You’ll need to plant something indigenous to our region, like another oak.  Too bad it will be a sapling, but replacing a 100-year-old oak with another 100-year oak just isn’t possible.  We’ll just all do the best we can and ive and let live.

Good thing Mr. Bill didn’t inadvertently build a shopping center.

For nearly 25 years, PAC has been the voice of authority for Mother Nature.  But like all good mothers, PAC knows the best way to get desired results is to plant seeds of good intentions rather than harvest ill will.  Through education programs and community outreach, PAC is a favorite green-haired child among the local non-profits and stays financially healthy through the good graces, i.e., donations, of local like-minded citizens.  The annual budget is between $100,000 and $150,000, and 90 percent of it comes in through donations.

Annually, early in May, PAC sponsors PACWalk and PACRun, awareness and fundraising events that can accommodate even the most sedentary supporter.  You can run five kilometers along a nature trail, take a brisk two-mile walk or jog around Lake Laurel and the surrounding woods, stroll 3/4 of a mile around the lake, or “Phantom Walk,” where all you have to do is just think good thoughts about conservation.  Run, walk or think, you still must pay the $20 registration fee for an event T-shirt, lunch and a warm fuzzy feeling of doing your part to save the trees.

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Hikers set off on the annual PACWalk.

Other well-attended community programs include Kudzu Warriors, where citizens don work gloves and attack the much-hated invasion of the Japanese vine that has overtaken the South, very much like Godzilla trampled Tokyo.  There seems to be no stopping it.  Or, citizens can help clear land of unnatural plant life, such as Privet, Nandina, English Ivy and Wisteria, just enough to give goats a fighting chance of munching the flora back into balance.  And just because the supporters would rather live in harmony with nature, rather than beat the concrete sidewalks of urban life, that doesn’t mean they don’t stay abreast of technology.  PAC endorses geocaching, a real-world outdoor treasure hunt that uses smartphones and GPS coordinates to find goodies and favors, but mostly to find another excuse to spend time under open skies.  In the fall and spring, Torlina leads hikes of varying degrees of ease and difficulty to nearby trails.

geo

The region surrounding the North Green [Pacolet] River, the area of PAC’s concern, is unique in many ways, including a thermal belt that naturally extends the growing season beyond that of nearby areas.  There are landscapes, plants and animals under PAC’s watchful eye not found anywhere else in the world, including orchids and bog turtles and green salamanders.  When progress wins out over preservation, PAC is there rallying its troops to rescue and relocate endangered native plants and animals before man and machines turn green space into retail space.  Indeed, PAC has its own “most wanted” lists of plants and animals.

bog_turtle

A bog turtle is just one of many species the Pacolet Area Conservancy strives to protect through conservation of land.

Torlina and Lamb stress that PAC is not against progress and development: Rather, PAC is here to foster peaceful coexistence with man’s need to carve out living and work space and at the same time preserve all that can be preserved so that the very things that bring people to this neck of the woods will be here for generations to come.

Male Diana Fritillary

written by Steve Wong

Click here to see the entire magazine.


Pacolet Area Conservancy presents Green Fire documentary

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 7/3/13

PAC brings back Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, a film that connects legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold with modern environmental projects.

PAC and Walnut Creek Preserve have partnered to offer an encore showing of the documentary.

If you missed it the first time, join PAC July 19 at 7 p.m. at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

The event is open to all ages and is free of charge.  Light refreshments will be served.

Check out PAC’s website, Pacolet.org/upcoming-events-hikes/, for more information or call 828-859-5060.

This PAC/WCP program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.

article submitted by Pam Torlina


Polk County’s Most Wanted Plant: Barbara’s Buttons

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/27/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plant,” Marshallia grandiflora, also known by the common names, Barbara’s Buttons, Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons, Large-flowered Barbara’s-buttons, Large-flowered marshallia, and Monongahela Barbara’s buttons, to name a few.

Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is known throughout central Appalachia – from Pennsylvania south to Tennessee with the largest populations occurring in West Virginia.  Historically, it grew in North Carolina where it is ranked as “SH-State Historical” and “G2-Globally Imperiled” throughout the world, due to the rarity and/or vulnerability of the plant.  It is historically known from Henderson and Polk Counties in North Carolina, and there is an historic record of the plant from Polk County.  The first, and only, record of this plant in Polk County was made in 1898 and found in “dry soil near Saluda.”  There was a specimen collected and it is housed at the state herbarium.   Unfortunately, there have been no reports of this plant in the county since then, but that does not mean that it is not here.  That is why this plant has been chosen for this month’s “Most Wanted.”  The public is asked to keep a keen eye on the landscape over the next few months and to contact PAC if they think that they see this plant in the county.

Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is a perennial herb that grows 1-2 feet tall, singly or in clusters from a low, woody base.   The leaves are narrowly oblong and tapering and have three parallel veins.  Leaves near the bottom of the stem have a short petiole (stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem), but farther up the stem, the leaves are attached directly to the main stem.  It is a member of the Asteraceae family, and the solitary, disk-shaped flower heads are about 1-2 inches wide and range in color from white, pale purple, to pink.  They bloom from May through August.

The plant prefers wet forests or meadows and also occurs on stream banks.  It tolerates partial shade, but flowers best in direct sunlight.  It is most commonly found in habitat that has been scoured by flooding.  Appalachian Barbara’s-buttons is historically known to grow in bogs.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia grandiflora)

Marshallia grandiflora. (photo by Thomas H. Ken)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Financial costs of ‘Goats versus Kudzu’ Tryon project

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/26/13

As was published by the Tryon Daily Bulletin on June 13, in the article, “Goats versus Kudzu,” the goats have returned to the 2-acre lot in Tryon, near IGA, to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) from the site.

The 25 Kiko goats have been joined by Reba, an Anatolian Shepherd, who is at the site to protect the goats.  The animals will be at the site for about a month and will return for about a week in the fall to eat any new growth.

Through a grant awarded to the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) from the Polk County Community Foundation’s Kudzu Eradication Initiative, the project will continue this pattern; the goats will spend a month at the site at the beginning of summer and a week in the fall, for a total of three years.

This project has received a lot of press.  Not only did the Tryon Daily Bulletin cover the story, but channel 7 news did a short piece on the project in their evening broadcast on June 12, and WLOS did a story on the project on June 18.

Unfortunately, there was an error in the WLOS story.  They reported that the cost of the project was $12,000 a month; that is inaccurate.  The project will cost approximately $3,000 per year; $9,000 for 3-years. This includes the transport of the goats, to and from the site, twice a year, “goat rental,” [and] erection and removal of the fence. Wells Farm cares for the animal (including vetting) and assumes responsibility if anything unforeseen should happen to the animals.

PAC apologizes for any confusion from the WLOS broadcast and is grateful for the support of the community on this project.  PAC is especially appreciative of the partnerships with the Town of Tryon, the NC Cooperative Extension in Polk County, and the Polk County Community Foundation.   TJ’s restaurant for use of an outlet for the fence, the Sign Shop created the sign, and Re/Max provided a brochure box on site to provide information about the project.

For more information about this and other PAC efforts, visit www.pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission). PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love. – article submitted by Pam Torlina

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Goats are currently working to eradicate kudzu near IGA. (Photo by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Polk County’s Most Wanted Animal

Polk County News Journal/Upstate Newspapers, 6/19/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Animal,” Speyeria diana, also known by the common name,  Diana Fritillary.

Diana Fritillary is an impressive and large forest dwelling butterfly.   It is uncommon in North Carolina, a species of “special concern,” but it may be found in rich cove habitats in the mountains.  It is ranked as “very rare” globally.

The distribution of this species is centered in the southern Appalachians, from central West Virginia and Virginia through the mountains of northern Georgia and Alabama.  It can also be found west of this region, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma.  Although the range of the Diana Fritillary seems widespread, its populations are dispersed and fluctuate from year to year.

Adults fly from mid-May until early October; males emerge 2-3 weeks before the females.  Look for a large butterfly with a wingspan of 3-4 1/8 inches.  On the upper side of the wings on males, the upper portions of the wings are black and the outer edges are orange.  The males are smaller and mostly orange on the underside.  On the upper side of the wings of females, the upper portions of the wings are black with blue on outer portion of the hindwing.

In North Carolina, this forest-dependent butterfly is uncommon in the mountains and rare in the piedmont.  Look for it along mountain roads near creeks at lower elevations, and at higher elevations, it can be found near glades along mountain forests or woods.  Also look for it near fields, forest edges, and openings in moist, rich, forested mountains and valleys.  Adults feed on dung and flower nectar from plants including common and swamp milkweeds, ironweed, red clover, and butterflybush.

Males patrol for females in deep woods.  Females walk along the ground laying single eggs on dead twigs and leaves near violets.  The caterpillars hatch and overwinter without feeding.  In the spring, they feed on leaves and flowers of violets.

The bluish black female Diana fritillary mimics the Pipevine Swallowtail and can sometimes be confused with the much smaller Red-spotted Purple.  The males can be mistaken for the Great Spangled Fritillary.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

– by Pam Torlina

Female Diana Fritillary

Female Diana Fritillary

Male Diana Fritillary

Male Diana Fritillary

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


PAC and summer camp work together to protect important lands

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/19/13

This is the time of year when lots of parents are sending their children off to summer camps.

Ah, to be young again…to swim in the cold mountain lakes, try for that bull’s eye in archery, fall in love with that really cute counselor…

What do summer camps and land trusts have in common?  A love of land and the natural world.

The Pacolet Area Conservancy partnered with Gwynn Valley Camp, in Brevard, N.C. in 1995 and its one of the projects PAC is most proud of.

The owners of the camp at the time were Howie and Betty Boyd and it was their dream to help enable the camp to continue far into the future and at the same time preserve the natural environment of the camp.

The grounds are home to several rare and endangered plants and even a unique spider. Three hundred acres are forever preserved, while 43 acres were intentionally left out of the easement so there would be room to build additional structures for the operation of the camp.

Anne and Grant Bullard are the new owners of Gwynn Valley Camp and fully support the conservation agreement.

“We are pleased to have our land protected and to know that Gwynn Valley will be home to many future generations of campers,” they said.

Located on the north-facing slope of Jim Raines Mountain, Gwynn Valley Camp is beautifully situated to the south of Pisgah National Forest, providing a natural viewshed for visitors to the National Forest.

The camp has a nearly 1,000-foot  elevation change and provides watershed protection for Carson Creek, a beautiful, cold mountain creek with a waterfall and cascades and is a tributary to the French Broad River.

With the varied elevation, north-facing orientation, and high moisture content, this property has a high diversity of native plant and animal species.

PAC’s Land Protection Specialist, Pam Torlina, has the privilege of monitoring this jewel each and every year and states, “It is truly a treasure for those visiting the camp to have the opportunity to discover some of the things that make this property so special and to know that it will be preserved, for their children, and many generations come,” Torlina said.

PAC is pleased to be the local land trust.

article submitted by Mary Walter

Gwynn Valley Camp

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Goats Versu Kudzu

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/13/13

A trailer pulled up to property across from Tryon’s IGA grocery store Wednesday, June 12 and released a load of goats to munch to pulp the kudzu and other invasive plants covering the ground and trees.

The effort is being made by the Pacolet Area Conservancy in conjunction with the Town of Tryon and the Polk County Extension Office to eradicate kudzu. The Polk County Community Foundation is funding the project through a grant from its Kudzu Eradication Initiative.

Goats from Ron and Cheryl Searcy brought the goats from Wells Farm of Horseshoe, N.C. The goats will work to eat the kudzu at the site for three weeks and will come back twice a year for three years.

According to the Pacolet Area Conservancy, kudzu can grow up to one foot per day and “creates a solid blanket of leaves and vines that smother out and compete with our native species.”

A flier provided by PAC said goats are used for several key reasons: they are versatile, are cost effective, are environmentally safe, create less noise than machinery and do a good job at eradicating the weed.

Kudzu was classified as a weed in 1972 after being introduced in the 1920s and 30s as fodder for animals and erosion control.

A Great Pyrenees named Reba stays with the goats, which range from 1 to 8-years-old. Reba protects the goats from random coyotes or other loose dogs, the Searcy’s said.

TDB 6-13-13

– by Leah Justice Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


PAC gets new executive director

Polk County News Journal, 6/12/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) announced Tuesday, May 21 the appointment of Mary Arrington Walter as the organization’s new executive director.

Walter formerly served as executive director of SPACE, the Spartanburg Area Conservancy, a conservation land trust based in Spartanburg, S.C.

There she led that organization to national accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the field of conservation to PAC.

Walter, who was born in Greenville, S.C. is a graduate of Presbyterian College.

She currently lives in Spartanburg, and has ties to the Tryon area. She said she knows and loves the foothills, and her career has been focused on preserving the natural resources of the area.

She was named an Outstanding Woman in Conservation by Audubon of South Carolina in 2005.

“I am delighted to be joining the team at PAC. I have long admired the great land conservation work that has been done here,” Walter said. “The Pacolet watershed and its headwaters are such an incredibly beautiful part of our world that must be preserved. To know that PAC has already permanently protected over 8,400 acres is amazing. I’d like to see that number greatly increased in the coming few years. With the help of willing landowners and a community that supports the efforts of the conservancy, this goal can certainly be attained!”

PAC, the Pacolet Area Conservancy is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).

PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable, landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources: open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland and stream banks . . .  saving the places you love.

– article submitted

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[PAC board members with new executive director Mary Arrington Walter, center, Elizabeth Lamb, president; Tommy Lytle, treasure; Jay Geddings, vice president; Pam Torlina, land protection specialist. (photo submitted) [photo by Heather Bowers]]


‘Salamanders of western North Carolina’ program June 8

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/7/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend “Salamanders of Western North Carolina” on Saturday, June 8, at 10:30 a.m. at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

The program will be jointly presented by naturalist, Tim Lee and citizen-scientist, Alan Cameron. This will be a great program for adults and children alike, and there is no charge for the event. North Carolina is home to 66 (known) species of salamander, more than any other place on earth.

The presentation will highlight North Carolinas salamander diversity, highlighting many of the species found in the area and then center on the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus), federally listed as a species of special concern and the only North Carolina salamander listed by the state as rare and endangered.

The Green Salamander has been found in many of the counties surrounding Polk County, in western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.  Historically, there was a known population of Green Salamanders in Polk County, but the habitat where this population was found has been destroyed and there are now no known locations of this species presence in Polk.

Polk County should have appropriate habitat to support the species, and the public is asked to contact PAC at the number or e-mail below if they think that they might have, or know where there might be, habitat that may be suitable for the Green Salamander.

Tim Lee has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 20 years.  For the past 13 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults.

Alan Cameron is retired and has been volunteering with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for eight years.  He has worked on several threatened or endangered animal species, but his specialty has been the Green Salamander.  Alan has found hundreds of new sites for this salamander and has greatly increased the known range of the species.

Both Lee and Cameron plan to bring live specimens for participants to view up close.

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is privately owned and visitation is by invitation only.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s NatureCenter from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward LakeLure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Green Salamander 4

Green Salamander. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Salamanders of Western North Carolina

Polk County News Journal, 6/5/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) invite the public to attend “Salamanders of Western North Carolina” on Saturday, June 8, at 10:30 a.m. at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.  The program will be jointly presented by naturalist, Tim Lee and citizen-scientist, Alan Cameron. This will be a great program for adults and children alike, and there is no charge for the event.

North Carolina is home to 66 (known) species of salamander, more than any other place on earth.  The presentation will highlight North Carolinas salamander diversity, highlighting many of the species found in the area and then center on the Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus), federally listed as a species of special concern and the only North Carolina salamander listed by the state as rare and endangered.

The Green Salamander has been found in many of the counties surrounding Polk County, in western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.  Historically, there was a known population of Green Salamanders in Polk County, but the habitat where this population was found has been destroyed and there are now no known locations of this species presence in Polk.

Polk County should have appropriate habitat to support the species, and the public is asked to contact PAC at the number or e-mail below if they think that they might have, or know where there might be, habitat that may be suitable for the Green Salamander.

Tim Lee has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 20 years.  For the past 13 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults.

Alan Cameron is retired and has been volunteering with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for eight years.  He has worked on several threatened or endangered animal species, but his specialty has been the Green Salamander.  Alan has found hundreds of new sites for this salamander and has greatly increased the known range of the species.

Both Lee and Cameron plan to bring live specimens for participants to view up close!

Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is privately owned and visitation is by invitation only.  Thank you.

To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s NatureCenter from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy 108 E and turn left on Hwy 9 toward LakeLure.  Follow Hwy 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon Station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden Green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center.

For more information or directions from another location, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Green Salamander 4

Green Salamander


Polk County’s Most Wanted – animal: Diana Fritillary

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 6/5/13

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Animal,” Speyeria diana, also known by the common name,  Diana Fritillary.

Diana Fritillary is an impressive and large forest dwelling butterfly.   It is uncommon in North Carolina, a species of “special concern,” but it may be found in rich cove habitats in the mountains.  It is ranked as “very rare” globally. The distribution of this species is centered in the southern Appalachians, from central West Virginia and Virginia through the mountains of northern Georgia and Alabama.  It can also be found west of this region, in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma.

Although the range of the Diana Fritillary seems widespread, its populations are dispersed and fluctuate from year to year. Adults fly from mid-May until early October; males emerge 2-3 weeks before the females.

Look for a large butterfly with a wingspan of 3-4 1/8 inches.  On the upper side of the wings on males, the upper portions of the wings are black and the outer edges are orange.  The males are smaller and mostly orange on the underside.  On the upper side of the wings of females, the upper portions of the wings are black with blue on outer portion of the hindwing.

In North Carolina, this forest-dependent butterfly is uncommon in the mountains and rare in the piedmont.  Look for it along mountain roads near creeks at lower elevations, and at higher elevations, it can be found near glades along mountain forests or woods.  Also look for it near fields, forest edges, and openings in moist, rich, forested mountains and valleys.

Adults feed on dung and flower nectar from plants including common and swamp milkweeds, ironweed, red clover, and butterflybush. Males patrol for females in deep woods.  Females walk along the ground laying single eggs on dead twigs and leaves near violets.  The caterpillars hatch and overwinter without feeding.  In the spring, they feed on leaves and flowers of violets.

The bluish black female Diana fritillary mimics the Pipevine Swallowtail and can sometimes be confused with the much smaller Red-spotted Purple.  The males can be mistaken for the Great Spangled Fritillary.

If you think that you have seen this species or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org.

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

Male Diana Fritillary

Male Diana Fritillary

Female Diana Fritillary

Female Diana Fritillary

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Pacolet Area Conservancy annual walk and 5k run deemed successful

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/30/13

PAC held its ninth annual PACWalk and third annual PACRun 5K Trail Run for Preservation at Tryon Estates in Columbus on May 4. PAC appreciates Tryon Estates for hosting the event again this year. “As always, thank you to the community for your support of PAC and our mission of “Saving the Places You Love,” said PAC executive director Mary Walter. Blake Butler came in first place in the 5K Run, Ella Dockendorf took second and Lori Geddings took third. In the PACRun, there was a good turnout despite the unusually cold weather. The Tryon Kiwanis Club was the first group to finish. Carroll Rogers was the oldest to participate. He is 100 years young. Larry Poe led the walk. – article submitted by Mary Walter IMG_3297

Larry Poe. (photo submitted by Mary Walter)


 PAC holds a native plant sale

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/29/13

 The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will be holding a native plant sale to benefit conservation, Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m-2 p.m. at the PAC office, 850 North Trade Street in Tryon.  All plants are native to the area and are being rescued from a building site.

Some of the species for sale will include: Solomon’s Seal, Dwarf-crested Iris, Black Cohosh, and many more!

PAC and Tryon Garden Club volunteers have partnered to rescue these native plants from certain destruction.

Some of the benefits to landscaping with native species are: once the plants are established, they require minimal care, they are ecologically valuable, sustaining native butterflies, beneficial insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and other native species, and landscaping with natives helps restore the character of the land and places fewer demands on resources.

For more information, contact PAC by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.

by Pam Torlina

PAC-Native Plant Sale

PAC and the Tryon Garden Club have been working to rescue native plants from a site at Pearson’s Falls where the Garden Club will be installing “Green,” compostable restrooms. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Pearson’s Falls eyes a ‘green’ restroom

Times-News, 5/29/13

Pearson’s Falls is one of the most popular destinations in Polk County — more than 18,000 visit each year — and those visitors find a well-preserved wildlife and bird sanctuary on more than 260 acres of native forest, including the 90-foot waterfall. What they have not found are facilities other than portable toilets.

Want to go?

What: Pearson’s Falls Where: Off Highway 176 between Tryon and Saluda When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sundays, with gates closing at 5:15 p.m. each day during summer months Admission: $5 for adults; $1 for children 6 to 12 years of age. Info: Call 828-749-3031 or visit www.pearsonsfalls.org With a recent grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, construction will begin Monday on a building near the Garden House with composting toilets and a living roof.

The lack of facilities has been the most prevalent complaint over the years, said Carol Meeske, past president and now project manager for the Tryon Garden Club, which has owned and maintained the preserve since 1931. Going “green” was not only important to members of the club, she said, but also necessary to avoid giving over a large area of the sanctuary to a septic system. The group has chosen the Clivus Multrum toilet system, which is waterless and yields over time a compost material that may be used as a fertilizer/soil conditioner. The composting toilets use aerobic decomposition to break waste products into stable compounds. A continuously operating fan pulls air into the toilet fixture and out through a vent stack, allowing for an odorless bathroom. The 13×13-foot building of HardiPlank, a fiber/cement siding, will house two separate rooms, one for men and one designated as a family unit, complete with a changing table. The faucets and electricity will be touchless, helping to keep costs down. The building will not have air conditioning, but will be heated. A water fountain will be located out front. This facility will be the only one in the western Carolinas using the Clivus system, as well as the only building in Polk County with a living roof. The living roof, composed of boxed units of plants, is self-sustaining, except in times of drought, and provides insulation for the building, helping it to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Meeske said the Tryon Garden Club provided the contractor with a copy of Donald C. Peattie’s book “Pearson’s Falls Glen: Its Story, Its Flora.” Peattie was a noted botanist and naturalist who lived in Tryon and published many books, including the one on Pearson’s Falls in 1933. The contractor was pleased, Meeske said, to see the variety of plants native to the area that could be featured on a living roof. Plant life is part of what makes Pearson’s Falls a destination for nature-lovers. Concern for the area’s more than 200 varieties of plants, some of them rare, led to combined efforts by the garden club, the Pacolet Area Conservancy and the South Carolina Native Plants Society to rescue plants in the area where construction will take place. Volunteers, under the guidance of the conservancy’s land specialist, Pam Torlina, met to remove plants from the area and move them to a hillside where erosion had occurred. Plants rescued included Christmas ferns, Solomon’s seal and native iris. Some plants were also moved to some of Pacolet Area Conservancy’s conservation easements in the county. “It is vital to move as many as we can,” said Meeske, adding that club members try to educate the public in the use of native plants. There are plans to schedule one more plant rescue day this week before construction begins. Interested volunteers are asked to check the website, www.pearsonsfalls.org, or the conservancy’s website, www.pacolet.org, to find dates and times. Construction of the green restrooms also requires the removal of large rocks from the area and the removal of several trees. The Tryon Garden Club will donate the firewood from the cut trees and will allow landscapers to remove rocks for their own use. Construction should take two to three months, Meeske said, and plans are to keep the park open throughout this time. However, she does recommend checking the website before planning a trip, in case closing is necessary. Pearson’s Falls Glen was named after Capt. Charles William Pearson, a railroad engineer and Civil War veteran, who bought the large tract for his family and others to enjoy. A group of women who formed the Tryon Garden Club purchased the land when it went on the market in 1931 in order to preserve the area. The story goes that a timber company wanted to buy the property at the time. Today, the Tryon Garden Club, as a nonprofit, receives no tax money, relying on admissions, donations, grants and fundraising to cover operating expenses, which include the salaries of a full-time caretaker and gatekeeper. In August, the garden club will hold a Four Seasons of Creativity exhibit and auction of artwork celebrating Pearson’s Falls. Artists from Polk County and Landrum, S.C., have been provided access to the area since September in order to produce works for the event, which will showcase the area in all seasons of the year. Located off Highway 176 between Tryon and Saluda, the park has picnic tables and offers a quarter-mile hike to the waterfall. Summer hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, with gates closing at 5:15 p.m. each day. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children 6 to 12 years of age. No pets are allowed. Check the website for more information or call 828-749-3031. 5-24-13 image by Patrick

Pam Torlina removes some native plants Friday at the location where the Tryo Garden Club will build green restrooms at Pearson’s Falls. (photo by Patrick Sullivan)

Click here to read the Times-News article


Introduction to Geocaching

The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/22/13

On May 25, PAC Volunteer, Wally Hughes, will present an “Introduction to Geocaching” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve at 10:00 a.m. Geocaching is a free, real-world, outdoor treasure hunt.  Using a smartphone or GPS, participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates, trying to locate hidden containers, called geocaches.  Players can then share their experiences online.  This is a great way to get out and explore in the local area and abroad, and a great way to figure out how to use your GPS! To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy. 108 E and turn left on Hwy. 9 toward Lake Lure. Follow Hwy. 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is privately owned and visitation is by invitation only.  Thank you. For more information or directions from another location, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, email landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit the website, www.pacolet.org. PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

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Pacolet Area Conservancy announces new director

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/22/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Arrington Walter as Executive Director. Walter formerly served as Executive Director of SPACE, the Spartanburg Area Conservancy, a conservation land trust based in Spartanburg, S.C. 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. Walter, who was born in Greenville, S.C. is a graduate of Presbyterian College. She currently lives in Spartanburg, and has ties to the Tryon area as well.   She knows and loves the foothills, and her career has been focused on preserving the natural resources of the area. She was named an Outstanding Woman in Conservation by Audubon of South Carolina in 2005. “I am delighted to be joining the team at PAC.  I have long admired the great land conservation work that has been done here.  The Pacolet watershed and its headwaters are such an incredibly beautiful part of our world that must be preserved.  To know that PAC has already permanently protected over 8400 acres is amazing.  I’d like to see that number greatly increased in the coming few years. With the help of willing landowners and a community that supports the efforts of the conservancy, this goal can certainly be attained!” PAC, the Pacolet Area Conservancy is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission). PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources: open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks . . .  saving the places you love. -article submitted

IMG_3132 (3)

PAC board members with new executive director Mary Arrington Walter, center, Elizabeth Lamb, president; Tommy Lytle, treasure; Jay Geddings, vice president; Pam Torlina, land protection specialist. (photo submitted) [photo by Heather Bowers]

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


‘Introduction to Geocaching’ at Walnut Creek Preserve

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/20/13

On May 25, PAC Volunteer, Wally Hughes, will present an “Introduction to Geocaching” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve at 10 a.m. Geocaching is a free, real-world, outdoor treasure hunt.  Using a smartphone or GPS, participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates, trying to locate hidden containers, called geocaches.  Players can then share their experiences online.  This is a great way to get out and explore in the local area and abroad, and a great way to figure out how to use your GPS. To get to Walnut Creek Preserve’s Nature Center from the Tryon and Columbus area, take Hwy. 108 E and turn left on Hwy. 9 toward Lake Lure. Follow Hwy. 9 N for 5 miles and turn right onto McGuinn Road (at the Exxon station).  Go 1 mile to the intersection with Big Level Road; turn left, go 2/10ths of a mile and take the first right onto Aden Green Road.  Follow Aden green for 4/10ths of a mile and turn left on Herbarium Lane and into Walnut Creek Preserve.  Take the first left onto Conservatory Lane, which takes you to the parking area for the nature center. Please note, Walnut Creek Preserve is privately owned and visitation is by invitation only.  For more information or directions from another location, please contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, email landprotection@pacolet.org, or visit the website, www.pacolet.org. PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

-article submitted by Pam Torlina

geo

Geocaching Kit 

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


PAC talks geocaching at Walnut Creek Preserve

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/16/13

On May 25, Pacolet Area Conservancy volunteer, Wally Hughes will present on “Geocaching” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve at 10 a.m. Geocaching is a free, real-world, outdoor treasure hunt.  Using a smartphone or GPS, participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates, trying to locate hidden containers, called geocaches.  Players can then share their experiences online.  This is a great way to get out and explore in the local area and abroad, and a great way to figure out how to use your GPS.

Visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, for more information or call 828-859-5060.

-article submitted by Pam Torlina 


 PAC adds important piece to protected watershed area

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/14/13

The dedication of a property owner and a number of volunteers from the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) has ensured that a significant piece of land has been protected in the North Pacolet River watershed. 

Although the tract, at 8.5 acres, is relatively small, it includes a stream which flows into the North Pacolet, mature forest and abundant native plant species.  The landowner, who wishes to be anonymous, recognized the conservation value of the property and approached PAC to see if there would be interest in purchasing it. 

In order to make sure the property would be protected, the owner was willing to sell at a price below market value, and PAC made the decision to purchase the property.  PAC normally does not purchase properties but looks to landowners for voluntary conservation easement agreements on their property.  Due to a generous bequest from the Tom and Muriel Nash estate and contributions from other donors, PAC was able to purchase this valuable property.

The newly protected property is contiguous with 88.4 acres of land already permanently owned and/or protected by PAC.  This ecologically significant area within the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment contains some of the highest natural diversity of rare plants and animals found anywhere in the world, according to the Nature Conservancy.  It has been identified as a North Carolina Natural Heritage high priority site, and conservation of this irreplaceable natural heritage is considered crucial.

PAC is grateful to the landowner for his generosity and commitment to protecting the natural resources of our area.  PAC is also indebted to PAC volunteer and attorney Alan Leonard, who did much of the initial research; PAC Land Protection Specialist Pam Torlina; PAC volunteers Carole Bartol and Robert Williams; and attorney Phil Feagan, who prepared the legal documents. 

The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the natural resources of the area. 

For more information about PAC programs and/or conservation easement agreements, visit the website at www.pacolet.org, email info@pacolet.org, or call 828-859-5060.

IMG_1833A stream runs through forest and native flora on PAC’s newly protected tract of the North Pacolet watershed. (photo submitted)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


PAC and the Tryon Garden Club team up for native plant rescue

Polk County News Journal & the The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/8/2013

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Tryon Garden Club are teaming up to rescue native plants again.

On Friday, May 10th, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., volunteers are asked to come out to Pearson’s Falls and help rescue native plants and reestablish the them in another location at Pearson’s Falls.

Those interested can volunteer for as long as they would like during the four hour work day. Plant rescuers are asked to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring your own tools (shovels, work gloves, etc.), and bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Volunteers can park in the parking lot at Pearson’s Falls, just tell the gate keeper that you are there with the plant rescue group. If you are interested in helping with the native plant rescue at Pearson’s Falls, please contact the PAC office by phone at (828)859-5060 or e-mail Pam Torlina at, landprotection@pacolet.org.

For the past 24 years, PAC has served as the local land trust for Polk County and surrounding areas in North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. The 501(c)(3) non-profit, grass roots organization is dedicated to protecting and conserving the area’s precious natural resources (PACs mission). PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and the goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come. PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements. To date the organization has helped to protect over 8,400 acres of land in the area, and it has the support of over 1,500 community members.PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.  To find out more about PAC, please visit www.pacolet.org.

 The Tryon Garden Club is the fourth oldest garden club in North Carolina, celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.  A 501(c)(3) organization, members are active in preserving, protecting, and treasuring Pearson Falls, contributing to the beautification of Tryon, educating members and the community, and collaborating with others, fulfilling the organization’s mission to foster awareness and appreciation of the natural world.For more information about the Tryon Garden Club and Pearson’s Falls, please visit www.pearsonsfalls.org.

mary, carole, gretchen2Mary Savard, Carole Bartol, and Gretchen Morris are shown working hard to rescue native plants. [photo by Donna Southworth]


Pacolet Area Conservancy preps for native plant sale

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/8/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


The Goats are Coming!

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/6/13 

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) recently received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundations Unrestricted Fund – Kudzu Eradication Initiative, for Kudzu eradication on the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot near IGA. The grant will fund the use of goats on the site, twice a year, for three years. 

The public may have noticed that a fence has been erected around the perimeter of the site.  This fence was put in place by Wells Farm, the company that PAC has engaged to bring goats back to the site to help with the eradication of Kudzu at the site.  The goats are scheduled to arrive sometime near the beginning of June.

In preparation for the arrival of the goats, PAC volunteers have begun preliminary work at the site, cutting Kudzu vines, large Chinese Privet shrubs, and other non-native and invasive plants that have taken over the site. 

 “Although the goats will eat these non-native and invasive plants, many of them have gotten so tall that the goats will only be able to reach part way up the plants, and the tops of the plants will continue to photosynthesize, feeding the roots, and allowing the plants to persist.  We hope that, by cutting the non-native and invasive vines and shrubs, the goats will eat the new growth that will sprout from the stumps, ultimately starving the plant,” said Torlina. 

The public is invited to help with the project and attend scheduled work days on the site.  Interested parties should contact PAC by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org.  Information about the project and scheduled work days will be posted on PACs website, www.pacolet.org, or on PACs Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pacoletarea.conservancy.  PAC will also be hosting an educational program at the site in the near future.       

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PACs mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

article submitted by Pam Torlina

IMG_2954

The fence erected at the 2-acre Town of Tryon lot to contain goats used for Kudzu eradication. (photo by Pam Torlina)

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


POWER UP TO PRESERVE

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/3/13, Front Page – PACWalk/Run 2013

Pacolet Area Conservancy invites walkers and runners to take part in the ninth annual PACWalk and third annual PACRun5K Trail Run at Tryon Estates, located at 617 Laurel Lake Dr., Columbus. Check-in from 7:15-7:45 a.m. for the run, which begins at 8 a.m. Check-in from 9-9:45 a.m. for the walk, which begins at 10 a.m. the event raises money for PAC, which aims to preserve our area’s natural resources. For more information, visit www.pacolet.org or call 859-5060.

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Polk County’s most wanted plant: Small Whorled Pogonia

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/3/13, page 26 & 27

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and botanist, David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plant,” Isotria medeoloides, also known by the common name,  Small Whorled Pogonia. Small Whorled Pogonia is a rare native orchid in North Carolina.  Its status in the state is “Endangered” and it is ranked as “Imperiled,” with 6-20 known populations in the state.  The plant occurs in the mountains and piedmont.  It is found in forests, especially where White Pine is also growing.  This orchid seems to require small openings in the canopy and prefers areas with moderate to little ground cover.  This orchid typically grows under canopies that are near breaks in the canopy, such as a road or a stream.  It prefers acidic soils with a thick layer of dead leaves, often on slopes. Small Whorled Pogonia has a single, greenish-white stem that grows about 10 inches tall when in flower and about 14 inches when bearing fruit.  It gets its common name from the five or six grayish-green leaves that form a single whorl around the stem, beneath the flower and/or fruit.  The leaves are somewhat oblong and 1 to 3.5 inches long. The flowers are yellowish-green with a greenish-white lip and are about 0.5 to 1 inch long and appear mid-May through early-June.  Each flower has three sepals of equal length that spread outward.  The flowers are scentless, lack nectar, and are primarily self-pollinating. The fruit, an upright ellipsoid capsule, appears later in the year. Small Whorled Pogonia is found sporadically across the eastern United States and Canada. In North Carolina, there are no known records of this orchid from Polk County, but it has been located in several counties, including the neighboring Henderson and Rutherford counties, as well as Burke, Cherokee, Haywood, Guilford, Jackson, Macon, Surry, McDowell, and Transylvania counties. If you think that you have this species growing on your property, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org. Please rest assured that if this plant is located on your property, PAC, David Campbell, nor anyone else is interested in “telling you what you can/cannot do on your property”.  That is the choice of the landowner; however, should a landowner be interested in managing the site to encourage the persistence of the species and/or preserving the land containing the species, PAC would be happy to assist. The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora in Polk County, document the species present in the county, and to make sure that the flora of Polk County is well represented in state records and herbaria (it currently is not). PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love. – article submitted by Pam Torlina

This photo from a public domain site is of Small Whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides).


9th annual PACWalk and 3rd annual PACRun, May 4

Polk County News Journal & The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/1/13

All ages are invited to PACWalk for Preservation, which will be held Saturday morning, May 4, around the pastoral Tryon Estates lake and woodlands. The event offers three options for PACWalkers: a mile-long amble around the lake, a more challenging two-mile hike around the lake and through the woods or you can choose to support PAC/PACWalk and walk in spirit by becoming a “phantom walker.” “This year’s course is extremely beautiful,” comments PAC President Elizabeth “Dibbit” Lamb. “PAC is grateful to Tryon Estates for hosting this event.” This will be the ninth year the ACTS retirement community has mounted a full-fledged, grass roots campaign to make the Pacolet Area Conservancy’s spring fundraiser a success. The staff and residents of Tryon Estates have raised more than $5,000 PACWalk dollars each of the past several years, “putting PACWalk over the top,” according to Lamb. “These dedicated citizens have ‘owned’ conservation, and PACWalk is the event to provide the forum for that.” “The altruistic spirit embraced by both staff and residents of Tryon Estates is inspiring and amazing.” emphasizes Pam Torlina, land protection specialist for the Pacolet Area Conservancy. The relationship between PAC and Tryon Estates started in 2004 when resident, Bob Dockendorf called PAC to see if the organization would be receptive to having Tryon Estates take up the cause of conservation through the very first PACWalk. “Of course we were thrilled,” says Carole Bartol, immediate past president of the board of directors of PAC, “but we had no idea that they would turn out by the busload to walk, to cheer others, and to make a visible statement that our natural environment is important to preserve for future generations.” Since the inception of PACWalk, three years ago another event was added, PACRun, a 5K Trail Run on the Tryon Estates grounds.  The run has increased in popularity and promises a challenging, yet beautiful run on the property. “PACRun is a fun, challenging course, with lots of twists, turns, and hills. Everyone is always surprised at the level of difficulty. The race course was designed by Tryon Estates resident and former runner, Tryon Lindabury. I think the beauty of Tryon Estates is best seen through our trails,” said Caroline Eller, recreation coordinator for WillowBrooke court at Tryon Estates and a runner herself. Check-in for PACRun begins at 7:15 a.m., and the race starts at 8:00 a.m.  PACWalk registration will open at 9:00 a.m., and the walk begins at 10:00 a.m. Tryon Estates has invited all PACWalk and PACRun participants to a free lunch during the awards ceremony in the formal dining room, beginning at 11:00 a.m. All tax deductible proceeds will go toward protecting and conserving this area’s natural resources. Runners may register online at strictlyrunning.com, or runners and walkers can visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, to download and print registration forms for either the run or the walk. Forms are also available at the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon.  For more information please call the PAC office at 828-859-5060, visit the website, www.pacolet.org, or come by the office.  After May 3rd, there will be a late registration fee for PACRun only. PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits. PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.


Annual PACWalk and PACRun May 4

The News Leader/Upstate Newspapers, 5/1/13

The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) will hold its 9th Annual PACWalk for Conservation on Saturday, May 4, at Tryon Estates in Columbus.  Since May of 2005, the PACWalk has become a springtime tradition for many who enjoy spending a couple of hours outdoors with friends and family in support of conservation. PACWalk can be enjoyed by folks of all ages.  To date, the oldest participant was 100 years old and the youngest was just a few months old, spanning a century!  Walkers can choose the paved path around the lake, a distance of ¾ mile.  This option is called the Sam White Stroll, named for a founder of the Pacolet Area Conservancy and former resident of Tryon Estates.  Another choice is a lovely, 2 mile trail along the lake and through the woods.  If neither of those appeals, one can choose the Phantom Walk and be part of the event from anywhere!  Check-in for PACWalk is from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., followed by the walk of your choice at 10:00 a.m. Also on May 4, the Pacolet Area Conservancy will present its 3rd annual PACRun, a 5K trail run.  In its first year, runners enjoyed the race because of the beautiful trails through the woods, carefully chosen and marked.  The race is timed and medals are awarded for winners in each category.  Check-in begins at 7:15 a.m. for PACRun, and the race starts at 8:00 a.m. Following the walk, at approximately 11:30 a.m., walkers and runners are invited to lunch and an awards ceremony in the Tryon Estates dining room. Runners may register online at strictlyrunning.com, or runners and walkers can visit the PAC website, www.pacolet.org, to download registration forms for either the race or the walk.  Forms are also available at the PAC office, at 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon.  For more information please call the PAC office at 859-5060, visit the website, or come by the office.  Registration is $20.00 for each event.  After May 3rd, there will be a $5.00 late registration fee for PACRun only. PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

Larry Poe leads the way for last year’s PACWalk. (photo by Chris Bartol)

The 2012 PACRun getting underway. (photo by Pam Torlina)


Ninth annual PACWalk and third annual PACRun, May 4

Tryon Daily Bulletin, 5/1/13

Click here to read the Tryon Daily Bulletin article


Walk or Run for Pacolet Area Conservancy on May 4

The Laurel of Asheville, 4/29/13

http://www.thelaurelofasheville.com/img/May2013/WebExclusives/pacolet/photo3.jpg Story by FRANCES FIGART Pam Torlina is one of those people who can truly say she loves her job. The land protection specialist at Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) based in Tryon, Pam wears the hats of naturalist, field biologist, and outdoor educator, spending much of her time outdoors on the 4,500 acres that PAC is responsible for monitoring each year. “I am fortunate that I am able to work with landowners to help them understand the conservation easement process andshare with them the unique conservation values on their property,” she says. “Through our numerous education outreach programs, I am also able to educate the community, not only about conservation and its importance, but alsoaboutthe plants and animals that call this area home.” Community is a huge focus of Pacolet Area Conservancy, which has helped protect more than 8,400 acres, holds conservation easements on 52 protected properties and owns 24 properties in Polk County and surrounding areas in North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. In fact, the centerpiece of its community outreach is coming up this weekend: the 9th Annual PACWalk for Preservation and 3rd Annual PACRun 5K Trail Run on Saturday, May 4. “PACWalk is a tremendously popular community gathering here in Polk County,” says Robert Williams, PAC board member. “It’s grown over nine years to become a first-rate event. We’ve added a challenging 5K run. Various groups put teams together. And it’s for everyone from children to the elderly to long distance runners to people who just want to go out and walk to help PAC preserve our mountains, farms, forests, waterways and green spaces.” The 9th Annual PACWalk for Preservation and 3rd Annual PACRun 5K Trail Run are on Saturday, May 4. Photo by Chris Bartol. One of the green spaces that PAC protects is Norman Wilder Forest, which is home to abundant wildlife, diverse habitats, and a system of hiking trails right across from the Pacolet River on Little Warrior Mountain. One of the biggest challenges to keeping this landmark’s flora protected is the threat of an invasive species: the dreaded kudzu vine. Enter the Kudzu Warriors, a group of concerned citizens who converge upon Norman Wilder Forest every Monday for an ongoing two-hour eradication effort. Carole Bartol, a past president of the PAC board, is excited about the Warriors’ latest secret weapon for kudzu removal on another property where PAC holds an easement, a two-acre site owned by the town of Tryon. “We recently received a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, which is a wonderful treasure for this area, to bring in some helpers twice a year for three years,” she says. “And so in June we will bring in the goats.” PAC will use the vine-munching billies and nannies as an education opportunity. “We know they attract attention so it will give us a wonderful chance to teach people about the importance of getting rid of the non-native invasive plants, kudzu prime among them, and also Chinese Privet,” Carole says. In an effort to continue learning as well as teaching about the region, and to gain a better understanding of the natural history of Polk County, PAC has begun an initiative to identify rare and unique plants, habitats, and animals that have been found in the county at some time in the past, but not reported for many years. image_2-Helen Clark“This biodiversity and floristic study is one of our priorities right now in part because we need an official baseline report for the future,” Robert points out. As part of this ongoing effort, Pam writes “Polk County’s Most Wanted,” a series of articles highlighting the rare and unique plants, animals and habitats that have been known to occur in Polk County. The articles are published in local news media as well as online. “I love having a positive impact on the future of our planet,” Pam says, “ensuring that there are protected andwild spaces that guarantee habitat for native plants and animals…forever.” The 9th Annual PACWalk for Preservation and 3rd Annual PACRun 5K Trail Run are on Saturday, May 4 at Tryon Estates, 619 Laurel Lake Dr., Columbus. PACRun starts at 8:00 a.m. and PACWalk begins at 10:00 a.m. For more information visit onlinewhere you can register on-li