Closings, delays and early dismissals

Saving the Phoenix

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A hiker and his dog look out at Phoenix Mountain, at right, from Luther Rock at Mount Jefferson State Park. (Credit: WALT UNKS/JOURNAL)

JEFFERSON, N.C. — John and Anne Barry, of Charlotte, and their friend Merrill Lynch are in a four-wheel drive SUV that is slowly laboring up a steep, rutted road on the side of Phoenix Mountain.

The road is really just a path through the wooded eastern flank of the mountain, with branches slapping the open windows of the SUV.

John Barry is board chairman of the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and Lynch is the group’s northern-mountains conservation practitioner. The Barrys wanted to go with Lynch to see the mountain that the nonprofit conservation group has pursued for decades.

The group has finally been able to buy a big part of the mountain and plans to preserve it from development.

Lynch says Phoenix Mountain is an important part of the watershed for the New River, and is home to many rare and endangered plant species, making the mountain a nationally significant ecosystem.

“It’s one of those things that’s amazing in the scale (of the diversity),” Barry said.

This article was written by Monte Mitchell and originally published by The Winston-Salem Journal. Click here to read more.