CMLC conservation easement protects former Girl Scouts camp in Lake Lure

Press release

From the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

Land in Rutherford County which hosted the Lake Lure Camp for Girls beginning in 1927 and home to the Camp Occoneechee Girl Scouts Camp since 1956, has been forever protected through a conservation easement by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). The easement, donated by Lake Lure residents Russ and Lynn Pitts, will forever preserve the picturesque setting that has inspired learning and leadership on the land for nearly one hundred years.

Landowner Lynn Carnes Pitts had been a longtime advocate of conserving the region’s land and water resources. A longtime CMLC volunteer and supporter, she presently serves as president of its Board of Trustees. Perhaps the only way that Pitts and husband Russ could deepen their commitment to land conservation was to donate development rights on their own property. And that’s exactly what they did with 82-acres of their scenic mountain land south of Lake Lure.

The Pitts purchased the former camp in 2011 when the Girl Scouts acquired a property elsewhere to accommodate more campers. With the belief that being on the land provides enhanced awareness and a deep connection to self, the couple now operates a retreat center, Mystic Waters, on the grounds of the former camp. The center promotes leadership development through immersion in nature.

“It still seems to carry the memories of all that those girls learned over the years. The spirit of the land here inspires people to get back to their roots and to be creative,” explained Lynn Carnes Pitts.

The Pitts’ conservation easement prevents future development on the forested lands surrounding the core camp, conserving its scenic beauty as well as its precious natural resources. Their gift honors the generations of campers who were shaped by the land in the last century, as well as future visitors who will learn among the land’s natural treasures that are now protected forever.

CMLC protects land to benefit the quality of life of residents and visitors in Henderson, Transylvania, Rutherford, and surrounding counties. Since 1994, the land trust has protected more than 23,000 acres of natural lands in our mountains. For more information, visit

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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