The Carolina Mountain Club hike on Sunday was not at all routine. The area was in the news yesterday.
We started at the new trailhead at Florence Preserve in Hickory Nut Gorge – US 74A. I had scouted that hike in November for a new printing of Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage. At that time, the trail at the beginning went straight up.
But since then, the owners of the land, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, rerouted the trail to make it more friendly. They hired some mechanical help (read – a guy with a bulldozer) to switch back the trail. CMC trail crew put in several log bridges.
Once out of Florence Preserve, we walked on a road up to the top of Little Pisgah Mountain. I spotted several Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) signs. And also a bathtub on the side of the road – see the top photo. Where did that come from?
According to the Asheville Citizen Times, the Fisher family owns the property along with a summer home on Little Pisgah Mountain. SAHC, the conservancy, arranged for a conservation easement that is supposed to be valued at $1.5 million. The property remains with the family but the land can’t be sold for development – ever. In return, they save on property taxes. Well, that makes sense. The land is now worth less if you can’t develop it.
For some reason, they can still put six homes somewhere on the property.
Here’s the full article in the Citizen-Times. Read it quickly because articles on the Citizens-Times website disappear after a week.