Join PAC, Foothills Humane Society for a hike and to walk a shelter dog

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hikers and their dogs are invited to join the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and the Foothills Humane Society (FHS) on Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. for a 5.5-mile hike at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve in Gowensville, S.C. PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, will lead the hike from the trailhead off of Oak Grove Road to the South Pacolet River.

Participants interested in walking a shelter dog for the day are encouraged to contact FHS. This is a great opportunity to give a shelter dog a break from the shelter and allow them to enjoy a nice, socializing walk in the woods. If you are interested in walking a shelter dog, please contact Sam Austin of FHS several days before the hike for an interview and pairing with the appropriate dog. There is a limit to the number of dogs that can come, so contact Sam right away. Sam can be reached at 828-863-4444, or email

The 5.5-mile hike is 2.75-miles out and 2.75-miles back and it starts out as relatively easy, winding through new growth forest and along several streams, gradually becoming moderately strenuous as the trail ascends Squirrel Mountain through a rich hardwood forest with beautiful rock outcroppings. After reaching the ridge top, the trail descends Squirrel Mountain through a lush cove forest to the South Pacolet River, at the base of Chestnut Ridge.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve is a 1,881-acre preserve in northern Greenville County, named for the mountain within its boundaries that protects White Irisette (Sisyrinchium dichotomum), a federally endangered plant. White Irisette is found on only a few scattered mountain slopes in western North Carolina and northern South Carolina and flourishes on several of PAC’s protected properties. Difficult to distinguish in the best of circumstances, the tiny irisette will not be blooming this time of year, but many spring ephemerals will be open for hikers to enjoy.

The forest at Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve varies from early successional to mature upland and cove hardwoods, and hikers may see and hear songbirds that have recently returned from their wintering grounds in South America. The property is part of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Management Area program, allowing hiking, nature viewing, fishing, and some types of hunting.

If you are interested in attending the PAC/FHS hike at the Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve, free of charge, contact the PAC office to sign up by phone at 828-859-5060 or e-mail and contact Sam Austin at the FHS office by phone at 828-863-4444 or e-mail

Hikers should wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and dogs must be on a leash and accustomed to being around many other dogs. Bring a bag lunch and/or snack and plenty of water (don’t forget snacks for your pooch!). Be sure to bring any personal medication that you may require.

Hikers will be meeting at the Gowensville Spinx (at the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 11) at 10 a.m. to check in, arrange carpooling and start the approximately 15-minute journey to Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve. Hikers should be prepared to return to the area in the mid-afternoon.    

In case of inclement weather, contact the PAC office by 9 a.m. on the day of the hike, check the PAC website,, and/or the PAC Facebook page,, to see if the hike will take place.

– article submitted by Pam Torlina