Land trust hosts June Jamboree on Roan Mountain

“It’s inspiring to me to look out over these lands we protected,” Marquette Crockett said. “There’s a lot of love poured in here.”

Crockett, the Roan Mountain Stewardship director for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, works for that reaction – to protect the thousands of acres of land in the viewshed of Highlands of Roan and the Appalachian Trail, which slips over its ridge tops.

The nonprofit land trust based in Asheville was launched in 1974 to conserve the Highlands of Roan, a 24,000-acre swath of globally rare mountaintop habitat in Mitchell and Avery counties in North Carolina and Carter County in Tennessee, which the SAHC and its partners have helped protect.

On Saturday, June 11, 2016, SAHC will host its annual June Jamboree, a day of free, guided adventures and social fellowship in the Highlands of Roan, which start to climb from an elevation of 5,500 feet, and timed perfectly to greet the stunning, fluffy, purplish pink Catawba rhododendron blooms that splash the mountainside in color.

“The SAHC got its start because its founders were from the east Tennessee area and hiked on Roan. They were instrumental in getting the Appalachian Trail rerouted across the balds. Before then, it was mostly on roads,” said Angela Shepherd, SAHC communications director.

The founders right away began setting into motion a plan to begin protecting the views from the AT, which was just a ribbon of trail surrounded by privately owned land.

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