Stevens Creek land protected near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy recently purchased 147 acres at Stevens Creek, a quiet cove on the eastern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The acquisition permanently protects important habitat and water resources near the remote Cataloochee Valley area of the park.

“Wrapped on three sides by publicly owned land, this pocket of prime forest and open pasture habitat will remain undeveloped for future generations,” says Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “The acquisition presents a wonderful opportunity for SAHC to deepen our connection to America’s most visited national park.”

Located at the northern end of Cataloochee Ridge in Haywood County, North Carolina, the recently purchased Stevens Creek conservation land shares over 7,000 feet of boundary with a portion of the national park that serves as a key wildlife corridor for rare and threatened species. SAHC and its partners at the National Parks Conservation Association, the Wilderness Society and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation considered the tract a high conservation priority because of its location and exceptional habitat.

“Protecting this land is critical for the elk, black bear and other animals moving in and out of Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” said Jeffrey Hunter, Southeast regional program manager for National Parks Conservation Association. “Wildlife aren’t aware of park boundaries and protecting lands adjacent to the Great Smokies provides protection for the animals, and creates corridors for them to move freely. This land acquisition is a critical step in preserving the biodiversity of this special region.”

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