Take a minute and look at that view. Kinda takes your breath away doesn’t it?
That view didn’t just happen. Well OK, the geological part of it happened over millions of years. But the ability to stand in that spot, and take that picture, is the result of a lot of hard work over a lot of years by a lot of dedicated people.
Western North Carolina, for us, is home. (if you squint really hard you can see our brewery in the picture.) It’s also home to a large portion of the southern Appalachian Mountains, over 2,000 plant and 700 animal species, and some of the wildest forests left in this part of the country.
Fortunately for those of us who call this magnificent landscape home, there are organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving those wild spaces – led by people who believe there are places in our region that should just never be paved.
It’s those people that we salute with this month’s Craft Happiness IPA, Terrain. People who enhance our wilderness, blaze and build trails, and make sure we all have a wild space to call home.
Piedmont Land Conservancy, who will benefit from sales proceeds of Terrain, is one such place. This week we were invited out to see firsthand some of the work this group is doing to protect the places we hike and bike and fish and camp.
One of a dozen or so land conservancies in North Carolina, PLC started in 1990, and since then has completed over 200 projects, protecting more than 20,000 acres in nine counties.
But they didn’t get all that done by protesting the latest ‘big box’ store opening. “It’s based on the what we call the ‘willing landowner’ concept,” says PLC Development Director Greg Keener. “The vast majority we work with are land owners that own a piece of property they want to see protected for generations.”
The latest addition to Pilot Mountain (the state park not the pale ale) is a perfect example. A 70-acre addition to the park was facilitated by PLC, not only creating a brand new 3.4 mile trail, but protecting an additional stretch of the Pilot Mountain watershed as well.
By that way that trail we mentioned? Built in 59 days, by volunteers working 6 days a week. That kind if dedication is both humbling, and worthy of the awareness we’re bringing to it with our Craft Happiness IPA Project.
“One thing I’ve learned being involved here is none of this happens by accident,” says Greg. “These great places are all protected because there’s a lot of people that make it a priority to protect them.”
POSTSCRIPT: Piedmont Land Conservancy officials will be at our tasting room on Wednesday April 19, 6pm to help us celebrate Craft Happiness Day, when we will donate a portion of our entire day’s proceeds from the pub and tasting room to their meaningful work. So come on out, have a beer and make a difference!