TAKING OUT THE TRASH: In 2011, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy acquired an 88-acre tract adjoining the  2,767-acre Sandy Mush Game Lands. During one workday in 2016, volunteers removed 180 tires and 12 contractor-sized bags of garbage. Photo courtesy of SAHC

Protection just the first step for conservati­on nonprofits

As local land trusts bring thousands of acres under protection, the challenges of maintaining the health of those lands grow. And raising money for ongoing efforts to control invasive plant species, deter pests and protect water quality can be a much tougher sell than the initial push to save a beloved tract from the threat of development.