Western North Carolina, specifically this region, has a very high density of waterfalls. High rainfall, geology and climate are all contributing factors.
Waterfalls are important from an ecological standpoint because they provide healthy habitat for a number of rare and endangered species of plants and wildlife. Highlands- Cashiers Land Trust, (HCLT) whose mission is to conserve land resources, conserves a number of properties in the area that are home to some special waterfalls.
On Friday, July 12, the public will have the opportunity to participate in a guided adventure to learn more on a “Trio of Waterfalls Eco Tour.”
One stop on the tour is Pinky Falls, a wellloved spot for locals that is owned and protected by the HCLT.
Big Creek Gorge is a new property with an unnamed waterfall, recently conserved by the Land Trust via a conservation easement. The HCLT has been granted special permission by the landowner of Big Creek Gorge to bring guests to this property. A conservation easement is a tool commonly used by land trusts to help landowners conserve their property. The landowner retains ownership of their property but donates some or all of their development rights, ensuring that their land will remain conserved forever.
The responsibility of the land trust is to be good stewards of that property in perpetuity. It is a common misconception that property in a conservation easement is public property; this is not the case.