Sugar Hollow acquisition protects habitat, water, and more

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently purchased 150 acres adjoining Roan Mountain State Park, protecting habitat resources and streams in the Doe River watershed. This important natural area at Sugar Hollow in Carter County will be added to the park in the future, providing potential to expand trails and create backpacking camping sites.
Roan Mountain is one of the most scenic and most beloved parks in the Tennessee State Parks system. This most recent purchase by SAHC is exciting news for Roan Mountain State Park.
The route of the Overmountain Victory Trail passes along the lower edge of the property, and both Sugar Creek and the main branch of Hampton Creek run through it. The Sugar Hollow addition to the park will provide park visitors an opportunity to reach a view of the Roan Highlands via trail access from the park visitor center and will protect critical habitats for sensitive species found throughout the property.
SAHC’s acquisition of this property is a key example of how its passion for land conservation will help protect land for the enjoyment of numerous generations to come. SAHC worked diligently to raise funds and secure the state’s interest in the property.
Since the beginning of January 2020, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has closed on the protection of more than 2,600 acres across the mountains of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. Several of these land and water conservation projects have been in the works for many years.
In 2019 SAHC purchased 62 acres at Doll Branch in the Highlands of Roan, protecting important habitat resources and picturesque mountain view. This park of land in Carter County adjoins Cherokee National Forest and is less than a half-mile from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Earlier in 2017 SAHC purchased and later transferred to the U.S. Forest Service 324 acres of Hump Mountain property in Carter County. The purpose of this property expanded a protected area of the Roan Highlands.
It is a testament to the commitment of SAHC members, staff and conservation-minded supporters that we have been able to complete these projects during extraordinary circumstances.
There is something tangible and reassuring in preserving land — it’s something you can put your hand on. These conservation projects help preserve cultural connections to the past, places to connect with nature, and vital resources we rely on now, and which will be increasingly critical in the future.
From high elevation bird habitat and stunning streams in the Highlands of Roan to in-holdings within national forest land to productive farmland, the diverse projects represent a cross-section of the core goals of SAHC’s conservation mission: protecting native plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, places for people to enjoy recreation, and scenic beauty in North Carolina and Tennessee.
These properties have value and no one entity could have purchased the properties without outside help, and this is where the Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy proves its value and worth to the region. It’s even more important in 2021 as many mountain properties are being bought and developed into resorts.
SAHC has proven to be a friend not only of the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, but especially to Carter County and Roan Mountain in its efforts to preserve mountain lands, clean water, scenic views, plant and animal habitat, and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation.