The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has bought 601 acres in the Roan highlands adjacent to Pisgah National Forest and the Appalachian Trail.
The Grassy Ridge tract in Avery County borders one of the highest ridges of the Southern Appalachians. It had been a top priority for the Asheville-based conservancy for four decades.
The property, a large, forested bowl within three ridges, is prized for its size and location amid other protected, high-elevation lands. Rising to 6,150 feet, the tract touches the Pisgah forest on the north and North Carolinas Yellow Mountain State Natural Area on the south.
Some of the states largest concentrations of rare species are found on Grassy Ridge and adjoining lands. The nearby Grassy Ridge bald, or open summit, is considered the most pristine in the Southern Appalachians.
Loans from the Open Space Institute allowed the conservancy to close the purchase, which was supported by private donors, by the end of 2012.
Henderson: 704-358-5051 Twitter: @bhender
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