Take care of Rumbling Bald’s rareties

We appreciate Julie Tracey’s article on climbing in Hickory Nut Gorge [“Moving on Up,” Outdoors, April 22] and are generally supportive of responsible climbing. A clarification is appropriate, however, about Rumbling Bald.

The majority of Rumbling Bald is private property. The Nature Conservancy purchased it in 2001, first and foremost because it is a nationally significant natural area containing at least seven rare-plant and six rare-animal species. The granitic domes on the mountain contain globally rare habitats that are extremely vulnerable to trampling-type disturbances.

In order to protect these rare natural features, the north side of Rumbling Bald is not open to climbing. Climbers should refrain from trespassing there and enjoy other climbing opportunities in the gorge, resting well in the knowledge that in doing so, they are partners in the protection of a globally imperiled natural resource.

— David Ray
Southern Blue Ridge Project Director
The Nature Conservancy, NC Chapter
Asheville

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