This part of the Carolinas is full of wonders. It’s a place of great beauty, full of unique plants and animals. It’s a place that we love and call home. It’s a landscape that we depend on to sustain us, with farms that grow food, rivers that provide water, and forests that we need for clean air and a stable climate. And it’s a place that we urgently need to protect—for people and for all of nature.
Conserving Carolina has helped protect almost 49,000 acres and we are working hard to protect more. At a time of crisis when many plants and animals could go extinct, we are bringing back vital habitat that was lost and we’re connecting vast conservation corridors. At a time when people deeply need more nature in our lives, Conserving Carolina is opening new parks and trails (33 so far), spearheading a 100+ mile trail network, advancing 50 miles of new rails trails, and connecting people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to the great outdoors. At a time when so much of our rural land is being developed, we are working with private landowners to preserve farmland, clean water, wildlife habitat, and scenic views.
We can protect amazing places because of amazing people like you.
Places Conserving Carolina Has Helped Protect
This map shows the nearly 49,000 acres protected so far and highlights some of our most treasured conservation lands.
Meet Conserving Carolina—and Our Amazing Members!
Get to know Conserving Carolina and the people who bring our mission to life.
Conserving Carolina’s Mission
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 Rutherford and other surrounding counties. In South Carolina, we serve the Landrum area, including parts of Greenville and Spartanburg Counties.
The land where we work is the homeland of the Cherokee, the Yuchi, and the Catawba people. We offer our deep gratitude to the land itself, for so many gifts, and we offer our respect to the people who have long cared for this land.
Our Track Record
We’ve been able to achieve a lot so far, with the support of people like you! Here are some highlights from almost 35 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 almost 49,000 acres.
We’ve played a key role in creating beloved public lands, including Chimney Rock State Park, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Headwaters State Forest, as well as additions to the Green River Game Land and 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, Strawberry Gap Trail, Youngs Mountain Trail, and Norman Wilder Forest.
We helped to establish numerous local community parks. We’ve also played a role in five local greenways. Find parks and trails near you.
We are spearheading 50 miles of rail trails, including the future Ecusta Trail and the potential Saluda Grade Trail.
We’re spearheading the 100+-mile Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail, designated by the state legislature in 2017. Over 38 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 are restoring a natural corridor along the French Broad River, with a growing chain of restoration projects that includes Mud Creek, Pleasant Grove, Kings Bridge, and Carolina Memorial Sanctuary.
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 can always use volunteers!
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, with regular talks at six locations.
We lead AmeriCorps Project Conserve, which places around 25 AmeriCorps members at 10-15 environmental organizations throughout Western North Carolina each year.
We offer Summer of Service, an AmeriCorps program for local 17-to-19-year-olds— providing, in many cases, a life changing experience.
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.