Natural Living & Education Center in Asheville NC

Blue Ridge Mountains

Celebrating Conservation at OMS

OM Sanctuary is happy to announce continued stewardship of 42 acres of local growth forest! Last year, with the help of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, we officially put the majority of the 54dsc_0441-copy-2 acre OM Sanctuary property into conservation easement, which protects this area from development in perpetuity. Additionally, the conservation offsets the organization’s carbon footprint.

The easement, which overlooks the French Broad River, protects a healthy wooded area containing cove forest, oak forest and low mountain pine forest, with mixed hardwoods. The easement also contains pools in the river floodplain that provide habitat for wildlife and endangered species such as salamanders, other amphibians, and reptiles. This type of conservation of the natural growth forest at OM Sanctuary helps to protect the tributary streams of the French Broad River Watershed from pollution as well.

Here at OM Sanctuary, it is a part of our mission to offer education that reflects a connection to mind, body, and spirit, as well as to nature. In alignment with this ideal, we offer a 1 mile trail into this protected acreage so that retreatants can explore this area and see the beauty that nature has to offer. By hiking in our easement, retreatants can experience firsthand the different types of trees and wildlife that the conservation serves to protect. This kind of personal experience is step one on the path to becoming a personal environmental steward. This is just one of many ways in which OM Sanctuary offers holistic education, helping individuals bring these values into their own lives.

“Natural places are essential for human health,” says Shelli Stanback, OM Sanctuary Founder and President. “Once forested areas have been lost to development, they are gone forever. We must preserve them now for our sake, and for the sake of the future generations. With few urban open spaces remaining near Asheville, protecting the forest with a conservation easement was the clear, sustainable choice.” [Quote taken from Conservation Easement Press Release].

Sources and Citations:

1.To read the original OM Sanctuary press release about our Conservation Easement click here.

2. To learn more about the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, please click here.

3. To check out the article featuring our Conservation Easement in The Asheville Citizen Times, click here.