Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy hosts jamboree Saturday, June 15

News release from Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy:

On Saturday, June 15, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) welcomes the public to explore conserved land in the Highlands of Roan during a day of FREE, guided hikes. SAHC will host its annual June Jamboree event at a variety of locations in the Roaring Creek area; these SAHC preserves are only accessible with a guide.

“The June Jamboree showcases SAHC’s conservation work across the Highlands of Roan and helps people get outside to enjoy beautiful, protected places so that they can connect with nature,” explains Cheryl Fowler, SAHC’s membership director. “For years, this event has been a favorite for SAHC members and folks new to the organization alike. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the Highlands of Roan, and to be able to see, hear, and feel the direct benefits of conservation in the community. Our outreach team has put together a wonderful selection of outings this year, with something for all ages, interests, and skill levels – including early morning birding, a relaxed yoga session, lovely waterfall hike, challenging trek, and mountaintop excursion with author Jay Leutze. We are excited to welcome everyone!”

Start times and duration of the concurrent outings vary. Following the morning hikes and experiences, participants are invited to stay for an afternoon drop-in social from 1 to 4 pm at SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve, at the confluence of Roaring Creek and Elk Hollow Branch. During the June Jamboree Social, SAHC staff will recognize the 2024 Stanley A. Murray Volunteer of the Year and share updates about recent conservation work – including the donation of SAHC’s new 7,500-acre South Yellow Mountain Preserve. Guests are invited to attend the drop-in social event regardless of participation in one of the guided outings; however, pre-registration is requested. Light refreshments and drinks will be provided during the social.

For more information and registration, visit

Pre-registration for outings is required, as space is limited and registered attendees will receive additional preparatory information prior to the event. See individual outing descriptions below.

Jamboree Roll n’ Stroll – Start Time: 10:30 am
Enjoy fresh air and views of the Roan Highlands from SAHC’s Bird House. The most accessible outing for the June Jamboree, this spectacular location offers something for the whole family. Participants are welcome to explore the woods or watch birds from the cabin porch. Pack a lunch, bring a frisbee, or prepare to just relax. Participants on this outing will meet at SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve and carpool to the SAHC Bird House. The driveway to the Bird House requires vehicles to have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. Distance up to 0.5 mile, difficulty rated Easy (1 out of 10).

Birding at The Bird House – Start Time: 8:00 am
SAHC’s Bird House, perched above Roaring Creek Valley and ringed by amazing views of Roan Highlands ridgelines, is the perfect place to spot neo-tropical migratory songbirds. Located at 4,500 ft elevation, SAHC’s Bird House is surrounded by early successional habitat and thousands of acres of protected land. SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett and Stewardship Director Sarah Sheeran will lead participants on an early morning birding hike, helping to point out migratory warblers, year-round avian residents, and raptors soaring overhead. This event starts early, so participants will also have an opportunity to camp out at an SAHC preserve in the area the night before. Distance 2 miles, difficulty rated Moderate (3 out of 10).

Yoga on the Mountain, at Elk Hollow – Start Time: 10:30 am
Lillah Schwartz – a highly regarded yoga instructor, author, and mentor from Asheville, NC – has offered her expertise to lead SAHC’s Yoga on the Mountain session this year. Settle in at SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve (also the location for the afternoon social), and take a short walk to an open area on the preserve. Lillah will lead a nature-based yoga class, tailoring the session to the group and the serene surroundings of the Roan Highlands. No prior experience needed. Distance 0.5 mile, difficulty rated Moderate (4 out of 10).

Elk Hollow Falls Hike with Pathways to Parks – Start Time: 10:00 am
Guest hike leaders – Pathways to Parks founders Larry and Tanya Marie Pender – will lead a loop hike on SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve, highlighting a beautiful view of Elk Hollow Falls. The group will hike along the Everett Bowman Memorial Trail through Golden-winged Warbler habitat, deep forests, and scenic vistas, culminating in a spot beside the clear waters of Elk Hollow Branch. This hike will be guided by SAHC’s partners from Pathways to Parks, whose vision is to motivate Americans of color to get outdoors and enjoy the benefits of nature in our national, state, and local parks and to help make it easy and accessible for them to do so. Larry Pender is also an SAHC Board member. Distance 1.5 miles, difficulty rated Moderate (5 out of 10).

Big Yellow Mountain Hike – Start Time: 9:30 am
Embark on a journey with Jay Leutze, esteemed author of “Stand Up That Mountain”, Senior Advisor to SAHC’s Board of Trustees, and a proud resident of Big Yellow Mountain. Jay will lead hikers to explore a hidden gem nestled within the Roan Highlands while regaling participants with tales of the land. Hikers will enjoy a brief yet invigorating hike, topped with panoramic views of the Roan. Distance 2 miles, difficulty rated Moderate (6 out of 10, with some steep inclines).

Challenge Hike: Roaring Creek to Big Yellow Loop – Time: 9:00 am
Brace yourself for a challenging trek with SAHC Outings Manager and long-time Roan Stewardship team member Travis Bordley. This hike will ascend from Roaring Creek Valley to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and then return to SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve, with a bit of bushwhacking. Participants will enjoy panoramic views from hidden balds and exploration of lesser-known SAHC preserves. Setting off from the Yellow Mountain Gap Trailhead at the terminus of Roaring Creek Road, this rugged trek will follow the ridgeline along the Appalachian Trail to Little Hump Mountain, continue to Big Yellow Mountain, and culminate with a descent through SAHC-protected nature preserves. Expect a demanding journey, requiring endurance for long distances and comfort with off-trail navigation across steep terrain. Distance 5 miles, difficulty rated Difficult (9 out of 10, with long steep inclines and unmarked trails).

About Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy:
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is a non-profit land trust conserving land and water resources in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. Since 1974, SAHC has protected over 91,000 acres of unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic views, and places for all people to enjoy outdoor recreation. More info at

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