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Natural Heritage Resources

A variety of organizations offer expertise, education, funding, archives, and other resources to assist with efforts to preserve and promote the natural heritage of Western North Carolina.

Federal Resources

National Forests in North Carolina
The National Forests in North Carolina webpage provides information on recreational opportunities in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.

National Park Service

Blue Ridge Parkway
Carl Sandburg Home
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program (RCTA) – The community assistance arm of the National Park Service, RTCA provides technical assistance to community groups and local, state, and federal government agencies for the conservation of rivers, preservation of open space, and development of trails and greenways.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

W. Kerr Scott Dam & Reservoir
Operated by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the authorized purposes of this Wilkes County reservoir are flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management.

State Resources

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
NCDENR is the lead stewardship agency for the preservation and protection of North Carolina’s natural resources. NCDENR programs include air, water quality and public health protection, the lending of technical assistance to businesses, farmers, local governments and the public and encouraging responsible behavior with respect to the environment through education programs provided at DENR facilities and through the state’s school system. Through its natural resource divisions, DENR works to protect fish, wildlife and wilderness areas.

Division of Forest Resources
Financial Assistance and Tax Credits
North Carolina Educational State Forests
North Carolina State Parks
Office of Environmental Education

North Carolina State University – Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
The Commission’s website is in-depth resource for information on hunting, fishing, boating, educational programs and other wildlife services.

Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education
The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is located in Pisgah Forest. Its programs and exhibits focus on the wildlife and habitats of North Carolina’s Mountain region.

Nonprofit Resources

The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is the leading worldwide conservation organization with a mission to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.

North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Blue Ridge Forever
Blue Ridge Forever is a coalition of local land trusts engaging the public and raising funds to safeguard land and water – now and for future generations.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina
The mission of this statewide conservation organization is to protect the state’s land and water through conservation and cooperative work with land trusts to preserve the state’s natural resources as a legacy for future generations.

Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust
The Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust is a non-profit land trust serving a seven county area of western North Carolina. Its mission is to preserve rural communities and culture in northwestern North Carolina through the preservation of the land resource upon which they depend.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, based in Hendersonville, NC, is a partnership of local people working to ensure that as the mountain region changes, important land is not lost forever.

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina
A regional land trust based in Morganton, NC, the Foothills Conservancy is dedicated to working cooperatively with landowners and public and private conservation partners to preserve and protect important natural areas and open spaces of the Blue Ridge Foothills region.

Land For Tomorrow
A statewide partnership of conservationists, farmers, business leaders, local governments, health professionals and community groups working together to help the state reach its goal of conserving a million acres to preserve working farms and forests, sanctuaries for wildlife, land bordering streams, parks and greenways, land that helps strengthen communities and promotes job growth, historic downtowns and neighborhoods.

National Committee for the New River
This nonprofit organization has worked since 1974 to protect, preserve and restore the New River.

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
A volunteer-based organization, headquartered in Asheville, NC, SAHC works with individuals and local communities to identify, preserve and manage the region’s important lands.