SAHC scheduled two habitat work management days in Roan Highlands

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) will host two sets of habitat management work days in the Highlands of Roan during July, welcoming volunteers of various skill levels and ages. No prior experience is necessary. The volunteer work days will focus on habitat management of the Roan’s iconic Appalachian grassy balds, the stunning mountain-top open spaces that people love to visit and photograph.
The “Round Bald Rubus Roundup” on July 15-16 is perfect for those new to habitat management activities. Volunteers will help remove Canada Blackberry (Rubus canadensis) and other woody vegetation from Round Bald by hand-mowing brushy areas (using weed-whackers) to maintain globally rare, grassy habitat atop the balds.
“This is a great chance to learn about what SAHC does to manage these rare habitats, without the commitment of a long hike in,” says Marquette Crockett, SAHC’s Roan stewardship director. “In general, we will be working within less than a 0.25 mile from the Carver’s Gap parking area. We encourage anyone who is new to conservation or to the Roan to join us for these events. This work is especially important this year, as a campfire caused a winter “grass fire” on Round Bald. Because of this, it is imperative that we concentrate our efforts on mowing that area this year.”
Volunteers will meet at Carver’s Gap at 9:30 a.m. and should bring water and lunch, leather work gloves and eye protection. SAHC will provide cutting equipment and individually packaged ear protection. Pre-registration is required — for more info and to sign up, please visit https://appalachian.org/event/2022-grassy-balds-management-round-bald-burn-area/
The Grassy Ridge Mow-Off on July 23-24 is SAHC’s annual group work-and-camp volunteer weekend, a fun experience and important habitat management effort. Backpackers and day trippers are both welcome — volunteers can come out to work for just one day or camp out to enjoy stunning sunset/sunrise on Roan’s “sky islands.”
“Join other volunteers as we work to maintain the globally rare grassy and shrub balds found on Grassy Ridge, one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant sites in the Roan Highlands,” says Crockett. “We’ll cut invasive blackberries and other shrubs using weed whackers and brush cutters. Enjoy great company and great job satisfaction! Our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is more than just a work day — it’s an incredible way to experience the Highlands of Roan and to share cherished moments with friends. The hike to Grassy Ridge is about 2.5 miles one way, the views are gorgeous, and we have a job suited to almost everyone.”
Volunteers will help with flagging rare plants, cutting or raking blackberries, camp organization, taking photographs, and more. Pre-registration is required. More info with schedule and sign-up at https://appalachian.org/event/2022-grassy-ridge-mow-off/

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