A new nature preserve with old growth forest and exceptional wildlife habitat has been protected in the Hickory Nut Gorge. The 57.6-acre Chestnut Hills preserve in Gerton, NC, adjoins Conserving Carolina’s popular Wildcat Rock hiking trail and is visible from the dramatic rock overlook on that trail.

On Tuesday, Mar. 1, Conserving Carolina purchased the mountain property with plans to protect it forever with a conservation easement. Conserving Carolina intends to manage this land as a nature preserve in order to sustain its rich biodiversity and the beautiful scenery enjoyed by so many hikers. 

Land Protection Director Tom Fanslow says, “The tract is north facing and provides a cool, moist refuge for species adapting to climate change, and the soils support a richer diversity of plants. Because the forest hasn’t been cut in over a century we know this older growth forest is storing many tons of carbon, and as a nature preserve the forest will continue to soak up carbon dioxide for centuries to come.”