Protecting the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River was initiated by Conserving Carolina and its landowner, former Congressman Charles Taylor, in 2009. The undeveloped property—the largest remaining contiguous private tract in western NC—is teeming with waterfalls, 25 miles of trout streams, mountain bogs hosting rare species, and more than 9 miles of the venerable Foothills Trail.

Acquisition of phases of this land by Conserving Carolina and its partners the NC Forest Service and The Conservation Fund have led to the creation of Headwaters State Forest, NC’s newest state forest. The new forest now consists of about 5,500 acres of publicly-owned and protected land. Partners are striving to add 2,500 more acres to complete the project in the coming years.