The project to the headwaters of the East Fork of the French Broad River was initiated in 2009 by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and the owner of the property, former Congressman Charles Taylor. The undeveloped property—the largest remaining contiguous private tract in western NC—is teeming with waterfalls, trout streams, mountain bogs hosting rare species, and more than nine miles of the venerable Foothills Trail system.
Funding for the project has been provided by the United States Forest Legacy Program, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund, NC’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Conservation Fund, philanthropists Fred and Alice Stanback, and a donation of some of the land value by the Taylor Family.
Headwaters State Forest – Over 1,200 acres acquired in 2016
The effort to conserve the East Fork Headwaters in Transylvania County continued in 2016 with the acquisition of an additional 1,208 acres of land. The North Carolina Forest Service now owns approximately 6,200 acres of the future Headwaters State Forest.
The new parcels include some of the uppermost tributaries of the East Fork of the French Broad River and contain stands of white pine and mixed hardwoods. Less than 1,800 acres remain to be purchased.
NCFS Assistant Regional Forester Michael Cheek hopes to complete acquisition of the Headwaters tract in 2017.
“Once the land is acquired, the next phase will be to develop a plan to guide management of the property,” Cheek says. “We then hope to be open to the public in the fall of 2018.”