Unlike Conserving Carolina’s White Squirrel Challenge — a series of hikes — the environmental group’s recently announced Flying Squirrel Challenge is simply a list of pretty places to revel in the outdoors, all of them spots “that Conserving Carolina has helped protect or open to the public,” and the great majority of them in Henderson, Transylvania, and Polk counties. These places vary from scenic stops — Sassafras Mountain Overlook, Connestee Falls — to urban oases: Cane Creek Greenway in Fletcher, The Park at Flat Rock. Accessibility is the uniting factor; visitors are encouraged to cycle, walk, paddle, play, or merely contemplate the beautiful locales. (Gliding from tree to tree isn’t mentioned, though we can’t find any passage on the group’s website prohibiting this approach.)
It takes some work to keep all these places pretty, though, and the Henderson County nonprofit also just reopened its volunteering calendar. Opportunities in March are thicker than clover and happen several days a week, including “Kudzu Warriors” Monday at Norman Wilder Forest in Polk County, trail maintenance by the “Rock Crushers” in Hickory Nut Gorge on Wednesdays, and Friday Stewardship Workdays happening throughout the region. “We are resuming some outdoor events using social distancing and other [safety] measures,” confirms Conserving Carolina Communications and Marketing Director Rose Jenkins Lane. “This is, of course, contingent on the virus risk … but we are hopeful!”
Conserving Carolina, 847 Case St., Hendersonville. For information about becoming a volunteer, see conservingcarolina.org.