Kudzu Eradication to Prepare for Equestrian Games

WAC-HNG has been working hard with the American Conservation Experience (ACE) to treat kudzu along the roadsides in Lake Lure to showcase that the town is eco-friendly and cares about the scenic beauty of the Hickory Nut Gorge.

Read more about it here

-Native landscaping advice & plant ordering with Bat Cave Botanicals

-Invasive plant ID with WAC-HNG

-Citizen Science Workshop with WAC-HNG

Watch the Forum on Non-native Invasive Plants Here or Below!

Forum on the Natural Communities 

of the 
Hickory Nut Gorge


Wesley Knapp, Western Regional Ecologist/Biologist for NC Heritage Program

Adam Warwick, Southern Blue Ridge Stewardship Manager for the Nature Conservancy

Clint Calhoun, Environmental Management Officer for the Town of Lake Lure

on Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:00pm

Community Hall in the Lake Lure Municipal Building

Click here to learn more!






Watch the Forum Online!

Click here to watch the forum on the environmental effects of the Party Rock Fire on YouTube, or watch the video below!

Experts Marshall Ellis, Michael Cheek, and Clint Calhoun presented on January 31st
at 6pm in the Lake Lure Municipal Building.

Impacts of the Party Rock Fire on the Hickory Nut Gorge

By: Jen Adams

December 2016

A panel of environmental experts will present information 
about the long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire on
the natural environment in Hickory Nut Gorge on Tuesday, January 31st
at 6pm at the Community Hall in the
Lake Lure Municpal Building.

To read more about the upcoming panel, click here!

Party Rock Fire

Thank You, Fire Fighters!

November 2016

WAC-HNG would like to say a huge thank you to all of the men
and women who helped contain the Party Rock Fire this November.
The fire burned more than 7,000 acres in the Hickory Nut Gorge.
While it burned many of the invasives in its path,
there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure more do not
grow in this newly disturbed area.

Click here to read more about the environmental impacts of the fire, written by Clint Calhoun.


365 Days of Invasives

Mountain Breeze News

By: Chelsea Rath, WACHNG Associate

January 2016

"As 2015 comes to a close, The Weed Action Coalition of
Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) reflects on the past year and all of the
group’s accomplishments. Each new season brought with it new challenges,
but also new successes."

Click here to continue reading about our 2015!

WAC-HNG Receives the Loche Craig Award
from NC State Parks

December 2015

At the Superintendents Banquet on December 1, 2015 at
Haw Creek State Park, WAC-HNG was presented the Loche Craig
award for "exemplary service to the parks". According to the award
letter, WAC-HNG "is one of those rare entities in the world of
stewardship where a cooperative public-private initiative has
consistently exceeded expectations and has yielded meaningful
and lasting results on a landscape scale."

We are honored to receive this award and look forward
to our continuing work with Chimney Rock State Park and other
entities in the area. Thank you for those who made this possible!

Thank You TC Roberson High School!

November 2015

On November 14, 2015, a group of 16 volunteers, including 14 students,
joined WAC-HNG for an invasives removal workday at Wildcat Rock in Gerton, NC.
Though it was a little chilly, volunteers had a great attitude and worked hard for
4 hours hand-pulling Tree-of-Heaven near the base of Little Bearwallow Falls.

This area is very biologically important and we are happy to have
created room for native plants to flourish!

Thanks again, TC Roberson!

TC Roberson Volunteers

WAC-HNG Receives Grant Funding

Monday, July 27, 2015

WAC-HNG would like to thank the following organizations for their
generations grants awarded to us so far in 2015.

Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation - $750
The NC Forest Service's Urban & Community Forest Grant Program - $10,000
Rutherford County Endowment Fund at The Community Foundation of WNC - $5,000

These funds will be put to use towards treatment in the gorge,
outreach efforts, volunteer workdays, education, and more. Thank you!

The Goats Leave Chimney Rock State Park - Update

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The goats have finished their work at Chimney Rock State Park for the Summer.
They will be back in the fall to re-treat what has grown back.
Luckily, these subesquent treatments tend to be much easier and
shorter, because the plants' energy sources have already been tapped.

Now, these 15 goats will be moving on to other projects in the area.
Keep checking back for updates!

After 4 weeks!

This photo was taken on 6/11/2015

Goats Chew up Chimney Rock Plant Invasives - Hendersonville Times-News


By: Derek Lacey, Times-News

May 25, 2015

"A hillside just underneath Chimney Rock is divided by a black
fence, one side a mass of twisted vines and bright green leaves,
while the other is nearly barren, showing dry dirt and rocks behind
bare stalks. But the barren side is the healthier one, thanks to
a small herd of 15 goats, scampering about, lying in the sun or lazily
chomping on leaves.

These goats have been hard at work for nearly two weeks,
helping to rid Chimney Rock State Park of invasive plant
species such as kudzu that shoulder out native plants and contribute
toward erosion and landslides."

Click here to continue reading about the goats at Chimney Rock State Park.


Preserving Hickory Nut Gorge

By: Warren Wilson College students

Friday May 22, 2015

Check out this short film by Warren Wilson students. It features CMLC
and WAC-HNG staff David Lee as he and others speak about the importance
of the work being done to protect the Hickory Nut Gorge.

Watch the video HERE

Goats Update

By: Chelsea Rath, WAC-HNG Associate

Monday May 18, 2015

"Fifteen goats are hard at work, eating loads of invasive plants at Chimney Rock State Park.
On the morning of Monday May 18, 2015, WACHNG's Steward and Assiciate went to check on
the goats. Though, at that moment, the goats were mostly napping and cooling off in the shade,
they have already made quite the impact on the vegetation in just 1 week. HNG Steward, David Lee,
estimates that the goats will have cleared the first 1 acre sections in another 1.5 weeks. Then, the
goats will move on to the second 1 acre section."

After 1 week!

Check out this photo taken after just 1 week! See the photo in the May 12's post for reference.

Goats of the Gorge Get to Work at Chimney Rock State ParkGoats at CHRO-

By: Chelsea Rath, WAC-HNG Associate

May 15, 2015

"Starting May 12, 2015, the ‘goats of the gorge,’ previously seen working along HWY 74-A last fall, will be working near the attraction at Chimney Rock State Park. The project is made possible by the partnership of Chimney Rock State Park (CHRO), Chimney Rock Management, LLC., the Friends of Chimney Rock State Park and the Weed Action Coalition of Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG). Goats, fence, and maintenance during the project are provided by KD Ecological Services (KDES), a local habitat management and restoration business out of Mill Spring, NC.."

Click here to continue reading.

Goats at work

Goats out at Chimney Rock State Park

By: Chelsea Rath, WAC-HNG Associate

May 12, 2015

Find the goats near the attraction parking lot at Chimney Rock State Park. They got to work this morning and will be eating up Kudzu, Tree-of-Heaven, Oriental Bittersweet, and more for the next month! There are 15 goats provided by
KD Ecological Services. Thanks to oure partners for making this happen!:

Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock Management, LLC
The Friends of Chimney Rock State Park

americorps members

CMLC's AmeriCorps Project Conserve Partners with WAC-HNG

By: Kristen Lee, CMLC AmerICorps Project Conserve Program Coordinator

April 2015

"On Monday, April 27th, 30 AmeriCorps Project Conserve Members teamed
up with the Weed Action Coalition of Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) and several
local landowners for 2 Disaster Mitigation Service Projects. Disaster Preparedness
Training and Mitigation are new focus areas for the environmental-based AmeriCorps program, which it expects to expand in the future as a response to the increased need
for disaster services across the nation."

Click here to continue reading.

Goats at work

Goats in the Gorge - The Mountain Breeze

By: Chelsea Rath, WAC-HNG Associate

March 2015

"If you drove between Lake Lure and Gerton in the summer and fall of 2014,
you may have seen some new residents of the gorge. Eleven goats, hard at work,
eating the dreaded kudzu, became somewhat of a roadside tourist attraction
during those months. Many people stopped and took pictures and asked
questions, curious what these animals were up to."

Click here to continue reading.

Biodiversity Bushwackers - BlueRidgeNow

By: Peter Barr, CMLC Trails & Outreach Coordinator

January 25, 2015


"Mike Knoerr, biology and environmental science teacher at Lake Lure
Classical Academy, has a deep-seated belief that he has a responsibility to
ensure his generation understands the importance of conserving the natural world.

Among the courses he teaches, Knoerr offers The Appalachian Naturalist, an elective
for high school students at the academy. In addition to traditional classroom-based
instruction, Knoerr usually incorporates one day each week for field-based learning to
provide students a hands-on opportunity to study — as well as make a positive
impact upon — our region's natural heritage."

Continue reading the article here


Invasive Plants Had a Tough Season, Thanks to WNCA and Partners - WNCA

By: Bob Gale, WNCA Ecologist & Public Lands Director

Fall/Winter 2014 Newsletter

"Without the predators and competitors they evolved with, invasive plants can flourish—
usually at the expense of native plant communities. It’s important to identify and manage
heavy invasions to protect the great biodiversity we enjoy in Western North Carolina. "

Continue reading this and more news from WAC-HNG's partner
WNCA's Fall/Winter 2014 newsletter here.

Join the Fight Against Invasive Plants! - WNCA

By: Chelsea Rath, WAC-HNG Associate

Goats at work

November 2014 e-Accent

"The Weed Action Coalition-Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) was created in 2012
by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and area partners. WNCA Ecologist &
Public Lands Director, Bob Gale, has been very involved with the
founding and ongoing activities of the partnership. 

WAC-HNG was made possible by a CMLC grant from the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation, to manage and fight non-native invasive species in the Hickory Nut Gorge that
are outcompeting and dominating the landscape."

Continue reading this article and more news from the
November 2014 edition of e-Accent here.

Goats at work

Goats at Work - ECHO of the Gorge

August 28, 2014

"Down the Road toward Bat Cave you will see several signs that indicate that goats are at work. If you pass by at the right time of day, you can see two or three goats somewhere along the edge of the dead kudzu line. They are busy making sure that the kudzu stays dead. The invasive plant is often thought to be out of control. It may take a while, but the goats' work appears to be making a difference!"

Find more news from The ECHO here

Students Impact Conservation - The Mountain Breeze

By: Debbie Shetterly, WAC-HNG coordinator

August 2014

"It’s a gorgeous, late spring day, and Pool Creek is stunning in its clarity as it gurgles its way toward Lake Lure through lush forest.
The peaceful setting is interrupted by the boisterous exuberance of youthful voices, those of students hard at work along the
town-owned portion of the creek. Tommy Hartzog, president of the Hickory Nut Gorge Chamber of Commerce, hears the commotion
and wanders outside his office to check out the action. As he approaches, he asks me if this is a WACHNG (Weed Action Coalition
of Hickory Nut Gorge) project. I answer that indeed it is, that the Lake Lure Classical Academy Appalachian Naturalist elective
class is conducting their final workday of the school year, removing non-native invasive plant species from along Pool Creek."

Continue reading this article here

Latest News from WAC-HNG - Town of Lake Lure newsletter

Summer 2014

"We often hear questions arise about our work, such as,
"Why are invasives such a bad threat for the Gorge?"
"What can landowners do to help and what kind of help is out there for landowners?
You've come to the right place, as we will
answer all of those questions in this article. And who are we?"

Continue reading this article here.

Goats in the Gorge - GreyRockToday

Winter 2014

"In the fall of 2013 WAC-HNG received a NC Forest Firewise grant and hired
31 goats which were put in a fenced two acre area, above the Rocky Broad
River next to NC Highway 9 in Bat Cave for two weeks. The goats feasted on
kudzu with amazing results. This “treatment by goats” almost entirely
eradicated the area of kudzu. The slope was seeded with grains to prevent
and protect the area from erosion. "

Read more from this article and the Winter 2014 newsletter here.


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