BLOWING ROCK — The Finley Gwyn Harper, Sr. family heirs and C.V. Henkel, Jr. family heirs, including 12 property owners and their families — a number totaling more than 50 family members — have donated their Blowing Rock property, named Cherry Tree Hollow above the Blue Ridge escarpment, to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina for permanent protection.
“Foothills Conservancy is pleased that the Harper and Henkel family heirs entrust our organization with the permanent protection of their historical and beautiful property,” said Executive Director Andrew Kota. “Cherry Tree Hollow adds an important 2.76 acres to our land trust’s recent conservation projects in the Johns River watershed, the Globe and Blowing Rock areas of Caldwell County, with the goals of permanently protecting the impressive mountain viewshed visible from the Town of Blowing Rock, and important headwaters and significant natural areas of the Johns River – securing water quality downstream and the incredible scenery that attracts so many to our region.”
This well-known and historic property is located on the border of Caldwell and Watauga counties, along the Eastern Continental Divide, and has been in the families’ ownership for many generations. The Oct. 6 land donation secures permanent protection of an iconic viewshed of the Blue Ridge Mountains enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people annually while driving into or out of the Town of Blowing Rock along U.S. 321, which includes views of the Johns River Gorge, Wilson Creek Gorge, Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain and the Black Mountains and South Mountains in the distance.
“Our ancestors, Finley Gwyn Harper, Sr. and C.V. Henkel, Jr., were deeply interested and involved in the development and enhancement of Blowing Rock. Cherry Tree Hollow, the property they acquired in 1938, sits directly on the continental divide above the headwaters of the Johns River,” said Dinny Harper Addison, one of the property owners. “Our large family is very excited and grateful that Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina has accepted our outright donation to preserve the property in its natural state. We hope that other owners will seriously consider preserving the green spaces, forests, waters and views that inspire and draw so many people to Blowing Rock.”
Executive Director Andrew Kota recognized the contributions of the family and those involved in the protection of this property, saying, “Foothills Conservancy is grateful to the entire Harper and Henkel family heirs for their donation of the property, to Howard Arbuckle for his 45 years of stewardship, and to the Village Foundation of Blowing Rock for making a contribution to the permanent stewardship endowment for this project.”
This property will be permanently protected by Foothills Conservancy as a preserve, where it will be monitored and stewarded for environmental conservation purposes.
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is a nationally accredited regional land trust that inspires conservation in Western North Carolina by permanently protecting land and water for the benefit of people and all living things. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Foothills Conservancy has conserved more than 65,000 acres in its eight county service area: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell and Rutherford, in three major river basins: the Broad, Catawba and Yadkin. Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support its work, can be found online at www.foothillsconservancy.org or by calling 828-437-9930.