Balsam Mountain Preserve

Sylva, North Carolina 

The Balsam Mountains of Western North Carolina have always been recognized for their rich diversity of natural resources. The Cherokee hunted here, nineteenth-century prospectors mined the mountaintops and timber companies cleared the slopes of chestnut, oak and poplar. 

Fast forward to the 21st century and nature has brought the rich forests of the Southern Appalachians back to their full majesty. With the development of Balsam Mountain Preserve, a unique 4,400-acre conservation-oriented real estate development, the area’s uninterrupted mountain views and exquisite scenery became its most valuable resource, protected with an expanded permanent conservation easement.  

In 2012, new ownership at Balsam Mountain Preserve expanded the easement acreage, waiving phases of planned development in the more highly visible and intact forest areas and “locking in” a forest conservation management plan for the Preserve. This new plan and expansion paved the way for Balsam Mountain Preserve to partner with the Carbon Canopy project as one of the first properties to develop carbon assets. 

Under the new forest conservation management plan, the Preserve will be managed under Forest Stewardship Council certification to develop habit and composition diversity and adaptation while producing limited amounts of certified forest products. This plan encompasses a 2,700-acre project area will generate 32,750 credits coming to market later this year.

The Balsam Mountain Preserve project represents a ground-breaking approach to forest management, one that benefits Preserve property owners, the forest and all those who live near this treasured resource that will retain its value forever.