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Earn patch, gift card for hiking

A hiker takes in the view from World's Edge. A hiker takes in the view from World's Edge.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is challenging outdoor enthusiasts to support land conservation simply by hiking.

The CMLC Hiking Challenge encourages all those who enjoy the beauty of western North Carolina's mountains to explore and discover the breathtaking scenery of CMLC's preserved lands, up close and personal.
By completing just eight hikes among CMLC's most spectacular conserved lands, hikers can earn rewards while having fun outdoors. Hikes range from easy to moderate difficulty and are one-quarter mile to six miles in length. Destinations reveal stunning natural features including pristine waterfalls and awe-inspiring vista s.
Completers of the eight hikes will earn a badge of honor: CMLC's now regionally famous white squirrel embroidered hiking patch. The white squirrel represents the local wildlife oddity unique to Henderson and Transylvania counties, CMLC's primary protection areas. Those who complete the Challenge will also earn a $10 gift certificate for hiking gear at the Hendersonville Mast General Store.
Hikes may be completed at the participant's own pace and schedule, and there is no deadline to complete the eight hikes.Challenge hikes may be completed individually or as part of monthly guided outings led by CMLC staff and volunteers.
The Challenge hikes include scenic locations such as the 360-degree view from the summit of Bearwallow Mountain and the old growth forests of CMLC's 600-acre Florence Nature Preserve. Also featured in the Challenge are several waterfalls, including Bridal Veil Falls in DuPont State Recreational Forest—a filing location in the recent movie The Hunger Games. Participants also have the opportunity to hike to Worlds Edge—a nearly 1,600-acre tract protected by CMLC in 2006. The tract was instrumental component in the ultimate creation of Chimney Rock State Park.
Version 2.0 is CMLC's second release of the program following a successful first year that achieved 80 challenge completers and more than 900 hikes taken on conserved lands. This year's version 2.0 of the Challenge features a new lineup of eight hikes on more lands protected by CMLC.
"CMLC works very hard to protect our beautiful mountain lands and facilitate access for people to enjoy them. We believe that by getting out and exploring these places, you will discover why land conservation is so important," says CMLC executive director Kieran Roe. "You'll have a lot of fun doing it, too."