PAC hike at Walnut Creek Preserve Friday, November 12

Published 4:18 pm Monday, November 8, 2010

Outdoor enthusiasts and hikers are invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) this Friday, November 12, for the final hike of 2010.

Fall colors will provide a backdrop for a moderately strenuous four-mile hike at Walnut Creek Preserve. Babs Strickland, owner and manager of Walnut Creek Preserve, will start the hike from the new Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center located within the preserve.

The trail leads hikers through the preserves varied natural resource areas, along a loop that follows Walnut Creek and several of its tributaries. Hikers will enjoy mountain views, both open and wooded trail sections highlighting the regions autumn glory; and they can enjoy a respite on a rocky perch beside a waterfall for a picnic or snack. The preserve is private land and the public is only allowed on the property by invitation.

The 2,100-acre Walnut Creek Preserve contains two miles of Walnut Creek, including a waterfall and more than 25 tributaries to Walnut Creek, most of which originate on the preserve. The preserve is comprised of forests and pasture land and is home to a variety of indigenous plant life, including rare and threatened species, as well as a wealth of animal life.

To assure the survival of these native plants and animals, the Stricklands donated a grant of Conservation Easement/Agreement to the Pacolet Area Conservancy, which protects nearly 1,500 acres of the preserve in perpetuity.

This Fridays hike is an opportunity to witness firsthand how conservation easement agreements help protect the well-being of the rural landscape, and how thoughtful development can provide a sustainable balance for the environment. Only 25 wooded and equestrian home sites, averaging 20 acres each, will be developed on the 2,100 acres of Walnut Creek Preserve.

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear; bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water. Be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require. In case of inclement weather, contact the PAC office by 8:15 a.m. on the day of the hike to see if the hike will take place.

If you are interested in attending the PAC hike at Walnut Creek Preserve, contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org. Hikers will meet in Columbus at the BI-LO parking lot at 8:30 a.m. or at McGuinns Exxon (located at the intersection of N.C. Hwy. 9 and McGuinn Road) at 9 a.m. to begin the journey.

Since this is the last hike in PACs Fall Hiking Series, PAC welcomes last-minute participants. If you cannot make this hike, visit www.pacolet.org or follow PACs Facebook page for information regarding PACs Spring Hiking Series planned to resume in February 2011.