Cantrell Creek Project

Working in partnership with our sister chapter Pisgah Trout Unlimited (Brevard), the Land O’ Sky chapter received a grant of $8,000 through the Trout Unlimited Embrace A Stream grant program for its Cantrell Creek Trail Project and raised additional funds, including several large awards, by participating in the Embrace A Stream Challenge, sponsored by Orvis and Trout Unlimited.

The Cantrell Creek trail crosses Cantrell Creek 9 times and portions of the trail are located in the creek channel.  Repeated traffic results in significant erosion and sediment load to downstream reaches.  Having the trail located in the stream channel disturbs and destroys instream habitat every time the trail is used.  Benthic macroinvertebrates are dislodged or killed, fish are displaced and sediment washes downstream and fills the interstitial spaces in the creek bed.

Portions of the trail in the upper reaches of Cantrell Creek follow an old railroad grade constructed in the early 1900’s for timber harvest.  This is the section of trail to be relocated.  The lower section of trail was upgraded about 20 years ago.  This is the section that will be upgraded to current sustainable trail standards.  Relocating and upgrading the Cantrell Creek Trail will greatly reduce the erosion and sediment load in Cantrell Creek and Mills River. This will improve the health of Cantrell Creek and Mills River.

This project involves a diverse group of partners including the US Forest Service  (USFS), the Land of Sky Chapter of TU (LOSTU), the North Carolina State Council of TU, Mills River Partnership (MRP), and Mountain True.  As the project evolved in scope and complexity The Pisgah Conservancy became involved, bringing with it significant project organization and management resources and additional financial support from REI Outdoors and the Transylvania County Tourism and Development Authority.

Completion is expected in summer/fall 2019. A video documenting the project is being produced by Real Digital Media of Brevard.

Take care of the fish, and the fishing will take care of itself.

Art Neumann, TU Founder

Links and Resources

  • Appalachian Brook Trout:  Learn more about North Carolina's native trout, which isn't really a trout.
  • A Native Son Returns:  What North Carolina is doing to understand and preserve our native brookies.
  • Davidson River Report:  2003/2017 Habitat Inventories Comparison (PNF/Pisgah District).
  • TU Status Report:  A report on the TU/USFS Southern Appalachian Aquatic Habitat Connectivity Partnership.