Blue Ridge Conservancy Expands Tater Hill Bog Preserve

Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) extends the borders of the ecologically rare Tater Hill Bog Preserve with a recent purchase of 82 acres on Harmon Knob.  This acquisition follows 88 acres BRC purchased in 2016 as part of this multiyear project.  Harmon Knob is a large, broad, highly visible mountain located southeast of Potato Hill in Watauga County.

The Tater Hill Bog Preserve is 1,200 acre rare mountain bog ecosystem, home to an array of endangered and threatened plant species and natural communities, and contains the headwaters of Howard Creek and Meat Camp Creek, both excellent water resources. 

The property lies on the north slope of Harmon Knob and includes ½ miles of Norris Fork, a tributary of Meat Camp Creek.  Additionally, the property includes great examples of Montane Oak-Hickory Forest, Northern Hardwood Forest, Rich Cove Forest, High Elevation Red Oak Forest, and High Elevation Seep natural communities.

The Preserve is managed by the NC Plant Conservation Program, a division of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Resources.  BRC transferred ownership of the 82 acre and 88 acre tracts to the NC Plant Conservation Program to be managed as part of the Preserve. 

“Blue Ridge Conservancy helped create the Tater Hill Bog in 2000 and we remain committed to permanently protecting the significant ecological resources of the area.  We look forward to completing this multiphase project in 2018,” said Eric Hiegl, Blue Ridge Conservancy’s Interim Executive Director. 

Tater Hill Bog is identified as a top conservation priority by the NHP and used for ecological research.  The land lies within the Potato Hill Bog and Seeps/Rich Mountain Bald/Harmon Knob Natural Area as designated by the NC Natural Heritage Program (NHP).  It functions as a large block of contiguous forests that constitute one of the larger habitat islands between Long Hope Valley and sites at the southern end of the Amphibolite Mountains. 

Funding for this multiyear project is made possible by a public/private partnership.  Fred and Alice Stanback made a generous donation, which leveraged public funds from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Once completed, the project will add 369 acres of permanently protected land to Tater Hill Bog.

Nikki Robinson