Rescheduled from May 18th!

Please join us on Saturday, May 25th at 10:00 am for an educational hemlock hike with the Hemlock Restoration Initiative and Conserving Carolina at Strawberry Gap Trail near Gerton, NC. The hike is out and back, about 2.5 miles total round-trip. Please note that the first half will be very steep. There will be an elevation gain of almost 725 feet over the first 1.3 miles before descending back down to the parking lot for the last half of the hike. This hike may be challenging, but the view at the top and the hemlocks along the way will make it well worth your while!

The route will climb to the top of Ferguson peak where we will see a beautiful stand of Carolina hemlocks. Along the way, we will traverse through the middle of an eastern hemlock stand. It is a very special opportunity to be able to see both a Carolina hemlock stand and an eastern hemlock stand in the same day! We will cover the ecological importance of both species, what is threatening both species, what is being done about it, and more.

Conserving Carolina AmeriCorps Project Conserve Trails Associate, Emma LaValley, will join to discuss the trail, the history of the property it goes through, and how Conserving Carolina is connected to trails and preserves around Western North Carolina. 

We’ll depart from the Strawberry Gap Trailhead. More information about the meeting location and what to bring will be provided after registering. Please plan on packing a lunch, as we will stop to eat along the way.

For any questions or to register, contact Caroline Lord at or 828-252-4783. While the hike is free to attend, your RSVP is required. Please sign up by Wednesday, May 22nd. Please include contact phone number, email address, and emergency contact when you sign up.

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is grateful to be able to offer public events in this difficult time. Despite the lifting of restrictions, we acknowledge the risk that COVID-19 continues to pose to members of our community. To maintain the safety of our event participants and staff, we are requiring that all participants follow HRI’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. Anyone not following the guidelines on the day of the event will be asked to leave. Despite taking precautions, we cannot eliminate all risk of exposure and participants will be accepting some level of risk by choosing to attend. Please review the COVID-19 safety guidelines on our website to ensure that you are comfortable following these guidelines. Note: these guidelines may adjust depending on changing guidance from health authorities.