Valle Crucis

valle-crucis-hcc-jason-connelly-11In 1840 Bishop Ives of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina came to this remote farming area to establish a school “to teach the rudiments of knowledge and preach the word of God.” When the Bishop saw how Dutch Creek and Clark’s Creek came together in the upper valley, he named the area Valle Crucis, latin for “valley of the cross”.

Conserving The State’s first Rural Historic District Valle Crucis has been successful in maintaining much of its rural character. In fact, the whole community has been designated as North Carolina’s first “Rural Historic District”. However, it is not as remote as it was when Bishop Ives first arrived. Now tourists from all over the southeast visit this destination. The Val – le Country Fair, held in the upper valley pictured above, draws over 10,000 visitors each year. In addition, the area has experienced a significant increase in second-home development. The Valle Crucis community and local conservation groups seek to balance tourism and development with preservation of the landscape that makes this area special.

valle-crucis-hcc-jason-connelly-5Biological Diversity

Headwater streams of the Watauga River flow through Valle Crucis and high mountains with rare plant communities surround the valley. Valle Crucis is home to four significant Natural Heritage Areas: Rocky Face, Valle Mountain, White Rock and Hanging Rock Ridge.

Family Farms

The Taylor Family Farm has been in operation in Valle Crucis for seven generations. Scott Jensen, along with his wife Dawn (Taylor) Jensen now raise cattle on the land. In 2002 they preserved their farm with a conservation easement to ensure that farming will continue for the 8th generation.

valle-crucis-hcc-jason-connelly-3Historic Places

On the National Register of Histor – ic Places, the Mission School gives the scenic byway 194, or Mission Crossing, its name. The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina has protected more than 250 acres of land on the byway; however, nearby lands are under threat of development.

Blue Ridge Conservancy and The Conservation Fund, have been actively protecting land in Valle Crucis for the past ten years. Blue Ridge Conservancy has led in the protection of over 700 acres here including a conservation easement on a seventh-generation family farm, another on the farm surrounding the original Mast General Store, and a 200-acre conservation easement on the forested land of the historic mission school which is on the “National Register of Historic Places.” In addition, Blue Ridge Conservancy helped the State of North Carolina acquire the first 350 acres of Bear Paw Natural Area on Hanging Rock Mountain overlooking Valle Crucis. They leverage public funding with private donations to have a greater impact.

Four aquatic and terrestrial natural areas are located in Valle Crucis: Rocky Face, Valley Mountain, White Rock and Hanging Rock Ridge. In addition, the Watauga River and its tributaries, portions of which are designated “High Quality Waters” by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality, flow through Valle Crucis. Amphibian species such as the southern ravine salamander and long- tailed salamander and several bird species such as Cooper’s Hawk, Vesper Sparrow and the Warbling Vireo are make their home in Valle Crucis. Each of these species is considered a priority for protection in the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), a comprehensive plan developed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to help conserve the state’s wildlife and their habitats.

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 Valle Crucis. Each donation brings us one step closer to conserving this unique historical landscape for our great-grandchildren and beyond.

Land Trusts Serving Valle Crucis

Blue Ridge Conservancy
P.O. Box 568, Boone, NC 28607