New Land Protection at Yellow Spot in Roan Highlands

This summer Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy purchased 234 acres in the Highlands of Roan, securing high elevation wildlife habitat and permanently protecting a corridor linking Tompkins Preserve with Pisgah National Forest in Mitchell County. This acquisition at Yellow Spot protects rare plant and animal habitat, wildlife corridors, scenic views, and sources of clean water along an important high elevation ridgeline.

“This property contains a remarkable combination of features that have made it a conservation priority for decades,” explains Marquette Crockett, SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Director. “We conserve some properties to preserve exceptional water quality and native trout habitat and we protect others because they contain rare, high elevation open areas or exceptional forest habitat – but Yellow Spot has everything. It’s a microcosm of the Roan Highlands. SAHC’s acquisition of this tract secures a perfect puzzle piece, surrounded by National Forest and protecting the main spine of the Roan Massif.”

Located within the state-designated Roan Massif Natural Area, the property rises to 5,100 ft. elevation at the peak of Yellow Spot and will provide a buffer for sensitive habitat in Pisgah National Forest. The Audubon Society’s Roan Mountain Important Bird Area covers approximately two-thirds of the tract.

“Yellow Spot has all the interesting and rare high elevation species you would expect in a property of this caliber – Gray’s lily, Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Eastern Spotted Skunk, Indiana Bat, and more,” continues Crockett. “A biological inventory of the property identified six rare animal species and 12 rare plant species, including Bog Goldenrod and Trailing Wolfsbane.”

The tract contains over 2.5 miles of stream corridor, including 10 headwater tributaries of Cook Creek and Pineroot Branch, both of which are designated as Trout Waters by the NC Division of Water Resources.

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