Stone Mountain

Located in northwestern North Carolina, the Stone Mountain focus area includes thousands of acres of economically productive and scenically attractive working farmlands, biologically rich natural areas, and over 30 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  These features all contribute to the area’s diverse assemblage of culturally and naturally significant lands, which help to make this an important focus area for protection.

Threatened Cultural and Natural Heritage

In northern North Carolina, the Stone Mountain focus area straddles the oldest section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The original 12 miles of our nation’s first recreational highway is in this area’s northeastern section at Cumberland Knob Recreation Area.  The rural and mountainous landscape is prime for both farming and backcountry recreational experiences.  Although the area includes significant acreage already permanently conserved under government or private ownership, critical lands remain to be preserved in order to protect the cultural and natural heritage that this region boasts.

Biological Diversity

The  Stone  Mountain  focus  area contains  a  16,500-acre  Audubon Important Bird Area and the North Carolina  Natural  Heritage  Stone Mountain   Escarpment   Complex Macrosite.  Also  of  significance, Stone  Mountain  contains  several federal   and/or   state   endangered, threatened   and   species   of   concern,  such  as:  bog  turtle,  swamp pink,  Grayson  crayfish  ostracod, hellbender,    appalachian    cotton-tail,  Gray’s  lily,  peregrine  falcon, Keever’s  bristle-moss,  robin  run-away,   Wehrle’s   salamander,   and bog fern.

Cultural Heritage

This  region  boasts  many  proper-ties  listed on the National Register of  Historic  Places,  including:  the Rock  House  and  the  William  T. Volger Cottage in Roaring Gap; the Brinegar  Cabin  in  Whitehead;  the Robert L. Doughton House in Laurel Springs; and, the Elbert Crouse Farmstead   in   Whitehead.   Stone Mountain  State  Park  encompasses nearly  14,000  acres  of  excellent backcountry  opportunities,  including  rock  climbing,  Stone  Mountain, which offers 600 feet of bare, smooth granite for climbing.  Trout fishing opportunities are abundant.

Economic Significance

The hundreds of farms in Alleghany County, one of the three counties included in this focus area, brought in over $42 million in cash receipts in 2010.  The area also realizes significant income from tourists, who are  drawn  to  the  area  by  the  abundant trout fishing opportunities and such attractions as Stone Mountain, a climber’s favorite, and the pastoral hiking trails of the Blue Ridge Park-way’s  Doughton  Park  Recreational Area.

To date, over 21,000 acres of land have been brought under private, state or federal conservation ownership in the Stone Mountain Area.  Among these protected acres is the 220-acre Bullhead Mountain.  Blue Ridge Conservancy cooperated with the State of North Carolina to permanently protect this bio-logically significant and stunningly scenic area from development.  The North Carolina State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and other data sources are being used to set priorities for land and habitat protection.  In addition, Blue Ridge Conservancy has protected over 2,700 acres of working farmland.

Future protection plans include the protection of working farmland, the majority of which are within view of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The Stone Mountain focus area represents important agricultural, biological, cultural and recreational opportunities in need of permanent protection.  Cooperation of willing landowners, Blue Ridge Conservancy, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, and local and state governments has protected many important parcels of land in this focus area.  Such cooperation and the generosity of private donors will be essential in the future protection of additional property.

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 Stone Mountain Focus Area. Each donation brings us one step closer to conserving this irreplaceable natural resource for future generations. Whatever your ability to give, we welcome your gift and thank you for caring about North Carolina’s invaluable and fragile mountain landscape.

Land Trusts Serving Stone Mountain

Blue Ridge Conservancy
PO Box 568 Boone, NC 28607