Spring Creek Farming Community

Nestled between Pisgah National Forest, Doggett Mountain, Betsy’s Gap, and Troublesome Gap, the long green valley of Spring Creek community is known both as a farming community, and increasingly, as a destination for agritourism. Many Spring Creek farms operate as CSAs and supply restaurants and farmer’s markets in Asheville, Waynesville, and Marshall with fresh organic produce; hikers are drawn to the area by the section of Appalachian Trail that passes nearby, as well as by beautiful Max Patch.

Disappearing Working Landscapes: A Chance to Protect Ecological and Cultural Heritage

Spring Creek community is an area ripe for conservation. To date, four easements have protected some 215 acres; many more multigenerational farms stand to be protected. While Spring Creek is far enough north from the population center of Asheville to have escaped much of the development that other rural areas have undergone, it still faces the threat of second-home fragmentation as property values climb and sprawl creeps outward from south Buncombe county. As Spring Creek is still very much a cohesive farming community, it is even more imperative to protect the area while possible; western North Carolina otherwise stands to lose a beautiful working landscape and fertile farmland, as well as a wonderful example of the possibilities of a local economy.

Biological Diversity

The Spring Creek area is an important animal habitat for black bear, coyote, wild turkey, bobcat, whitetailed deer and ruffed grouse. The area is also home to Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), Piratebush (Buckleya distichophylla), and Wounded Darter (Etheostoma vulneratum), all federal species of concern listed in the State Wildlife Action Plan.

Cultural Heritage

Farm families from the original land grant settlers still reside in Spring Creek. The area is a repository of knowledge about local agricultural practices, as well as western NC history and traditions, from music to foodways.

Economic Significance

As oil and food transportation prices climb, locally grown food is stepping into an increasingly important economic role. Strategically conserving viable agricultural lands surrounding metropolitan areas not only safeguards local food resources, but protects the area’s tourism economy. The traditional southern Appalachian rural landscape is an American icon, attracting visitors from across the country and globe.

Spring Creek, located in the Newfound/Walnut Mountains in an isolated area of Madison County, is a farmland preservation priority for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) Farmland Program. SAHC has successfully protected over 300 acres in this area that boasts thousands of acres of National Forest, significant portions of the Appalachian Trail, and streams and creeks of high water quality. If the landowners are interested, SAHC is interested in helping them to protect this entire community from the sub-division and development that is seen taking place all over our North Carolina mountains. Since 2000, SAHC has pursued a proactive strategy to protect the Spring Creek area through acquisition of conservation easements and land according to a long-term conservation plan. The North Carolina State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and other data sources are being used to set priorities for land and habitat protection.

Leave Your Legacy

There are few ways that you can leave a greater legacy than through land conservation. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to preserve the magnificent landscape of the Spring Creek farming community. Each donation brings us one step closer to conserving this food production resource and cultural gem for our great-grandchildren and beyond.

Land Trusts Serving the Spring Creek Farming Community

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
34 Wall St., Suite 502, Asheville, NC 28801
828-253-0095 www.appalachian.org