Who We Are
Conserving Carolina is made up of people who love our home in the mountains and foothills of Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.
We love the way nature lights people up! So, we’re helping make sure that everyone has opportunities to get outside. We’re creating parks and preserves, building trails, leading field trips, and helping young people discover their connection to the great outdoors.
We’re inspired by the beauty of mountain vistas, rushing waterfalls, and rolling countryside. We’re working to make sure that coming generations—our children and grandchildren—will be able to experience these wonders too.
We live among some of the greatest biodiversity in the United States! We appreciate our connection with creatures from hellbender salamanders to monarch butterflies. And we love coming across so many unique wildflowers, animals, and birds. So, we’re helping to restore habitats where they can live.
We know we need people—all kinds of people—to help protect this incredible part of the world. The challenges we face are serious, but it’s a labor of love. Be a part of it!
Where We Work
We serve part of Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. In North Carolina, our region includes Polk, Henderson, and Transylvania Counties, and parts of surrounding counties. In South Carolina, we serve the Landrum area, including parts of Jackson and Spartanburg Counties.
Our History: Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Pacolet Area Conservancy
Conserving Carolina was formed in 2017 by the merger of two local land trusts with deep roots in our communities—Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Pacolet Area Conservancy.
The two land trusts served overlapping areas. Pacolet Area Conservancy was founded in 1989, with a focus on the Southeast portion of our current region. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, which served the North Carolina portion of our current region, was founded in 1994 as the Natural Heritage Trust of Henderson County.
After partnering successfully on several conservation projects, the two land trusts decided to join forces, combining our expertise, talents, and resources in order to strengthen our impact.
We’ve been able to achieve a lot so far, with the support of people like you! Here are some highlights from almost 30 years protecting land and water, for nature and people. Help us keep conservation going strong in our part of the Carolinas.
- We’ve helped to protect over 44,000 acres.
- We’ve played a key role in creating beloved public lands, including Chimney Rock State Park, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Headwaters State Forest, and parts of Pisgah National Forest.
- We’ve created numerous preserves and trails, including Bearwallow Mountain Trail, Florence Nature Preserve, Wildcat Rock Trail, Weed Patch Mountain Trail, Trombatore Trail, and Norman Wilder Forest.
- We helped to establish numerous local community parks and greenways. Find one near you.
- We’re spearheading the 100-mile Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail, designated by the state legislature in 2017. Over 35 miles are completed and more are underway.
- We hold over 200 conservation easements, which give private landowners a way to protect their land forever.
- We support good stewardship of our conservation lands—partnering with landowners and managing our own properties. We help to remove invasive plants, restore wildlife habitat, and protect streams and wetlands.
- We’ve helped create multiple preserves for research and education, which host public events, school groups, college classes, and field researchers.
- We support free speaker series on environmental and naturalist topics at Walnut Creek Preserve and Landrum Library.
- We lead AmeriCorps Project Conserve, which places 33 AmeriCorps members at 18 environmental organizations throughout Western North Carolina.
- We offer Summer of Service, an AmeriCorps program for local 17-to-19-year-olds— providing, in some cases, a life changing experience.
Conserving Carolina is dedicated to protecting and stewarding land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life and to fostering appreciation and understanding of the natural world.