Mountain Balds, Creative Commons image
The Southern Appalachian Mountains are not high enough to have a natural tree line or Alpine zone, yet the region has hundreds of treeless areas called balds. Their origins- whether or man-made or the product of climatic changes- still remain a mystery. Grassy balds are home to grasses, wildflowers, blueberries and azaleas. They are open and accessible and enjoyed for the broad vistas they provide. In the 19th century they were used as summer pasturing for sheep and cattle. Heath balds are covered by dense growth of the heath family, especially rhododendron and mountain laurel and their spring flowering attracts many visitors. On a sunny spring day, visit one of these natural gardens in the Smoky Mountain National Park and enjoy one of the marvels of the southern mountains.
A hiker follows the Appalachian Trail across Max Patch Bald
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- Appalachian Trail
As undeveloped land shrank in the East, the desire to preserve a wilderness experience intensified. In 1925 a forester, Benton McKaye, organized a conference in Washington, DC, to plan […]
- Wetlands Southern Appalachian wetlands are gaining attention for the wealth of rare and unique life forms they support. In North Carolina alone, mountain bogs and fens provide habitats for nearly […]
- Mount Mitchell Of the ten highest mountains in the eastern United States, six are in the Black Mountain Range of western North Carolina. The most famous of these is Mount Mitchell, which at 6684 feet is […]
- Native Plants Western North Carolina is covered with plants indigenous to the Appalachian Mountains. Here is a short list of the plants found throughout the Linville Falls area.
- Linville Falls
The Linville Falls area is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Parkway Milepost 316.4. The Linville is a wild and scenic river and the massive gorge it has created is […]