Conserving High Knob

An additional 150 acres of land in Jackson County has been conserved with Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust (HCLT). High Knob, a 5,200 foot elevation peak of climate resilient landscape will be protected forever by a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between the land owners, in this case Patrick Horan and Noel Thurner, and a qualified organization, in this case HCLT.

This landscape is home to 6,350 linear feet of streams, rare high elevation seep communities, rare boulder fields, a mix of oak forests, and the rare high elevation rocky summit community. Also found there are the eastern small-footed bat, the N.C. state rare/threatened small yellow lady’s-slipper orchid, and tawny crescent butterfly. Brown creepers, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and winter wrens have also been sighted.

High Knob is home to nearly 1,300 feet of elevation change that makes it an ideal location for a landscape that is resilient, a landscape that can adjust to climatic change without man made barriers such as roads, powerlines, or buildings getting in the way. This protects critical habitat for plants and animals.

From this property, one can see the Blue Ridge Parkway. By conserving this site HCLT will aide in the protection of the Blue Ridge Parkway view-shed forever.

This project has been supported by funding from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and through the Open Space Institute’s (O.S.I.) Resilient Landscapes Initiative. Peter Howell, executive vice president of the Open Space Institute said, “The High Knob property’s rugged landscape not only hosts incredible biodiversity today, but will continue to be a haven for plants and animals into the future, even as the climate changes. OSI is proud to have partnered with the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust to protect this land, once slated for development, which is an important inholding in the Nantahala National Forest.”

High Knob is the latest of over 3,000 acres permanently conserved through Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. HCLT is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is the oldest land trust in the state and one of the oldest in the nation. To learn more about the work HCLT is doing in Jackson and Macon Counties or how you can be involved visit: or contact them at or 828-526-1111.



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