Tuesday, April 15, 2014
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Conservancy preserves 59 acres in Flat Rock

FLAT ROCK — Hendersonville-based Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has permanently protected 59 acres of unspoiled forest and scenic waterfalls adjacent to Kenmure and Camp Tonawanda in Flat Rock.

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The newly conserved land is on the slopes of Rush Mountain. The 59 acres were entered into a conservation easement co-held by CMLC and Historic Flat Rock Inc. Landowners David and Merrily Thomas, of Flat Rock, conveyed 55 of those acres to CMLC via purchase at a reduced price. The tract was initially purchased and privately held by the Thomases in an effort to keep it in its natural state.
"We have enjoyed living adjacent to this undeveloped, wooded land with its variety of wildlife," David Thomas said in a news release. "When we learned it was going to be offered for sale, we decided to try to preserve it in this condition for the future. CMLC has the ability and experience to make this happen for the benefit of all."
In addition to protecting wildlife habitat, the easement will safeguard water quality downstream. The tract hosts a third of a mile of a tributary of Mud Creek. And by ensuring that it remains forested in perpetuity, the easement also protects the scenic views from nearby Little River Road, designated as part of the Flat Rock Scenic Byway.
The project was funded by the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund and a private donation by Fred and Alice Stanback.
Future plans for the tract may include development of a publicly accessible park with hiking trails. The park would complement CMLC's 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve and five miles of public trails located in Gerton.