Monday, May 2, 2011

It's OUR Waterfall Now

I own a waterfall now.  Actually, I own two waterfalls.   [OK, I am a part owner along with all the residents of our county.] 

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in our county is Connestee Falls, a twin waterfall in which two streams drop to form a common creek, part of the French Broad River Basin.  Connestee Falls drops from Carson Creek and its twin, Lower Batson Falls drops from Batson Creek.  The origin of both creeks is a mere two miles away at the Eastern Continental Divide.  The two waterfalls are commonly called Connestee Falls.  Lower Batson Falls is owned by our community.  For years Connestee Falls was privately owned although the owner allowed public access.

Several years ago the owner of the larger Connestee Falls decided to have the waterfall and land surrounding it placed into a land conservation.  A fund-raising drive began and with the efforts of many people the falls became part of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Transylvania County Parks and Recreation.  When donations fell short of the asking price, the owner reduced the price and sold the waterfall and land.

Access to Connestee Falls was closed for most of the winter to allow the constuction of the new walkway and observation deck.  It is handicapped accessible so more people can now enjoy the falls.

A new wood and galvanized steel walkway leads the short path to the top of the falls.

This view from the observation deck shows part of the drop of Connestee Falls with part of Lower Batson Creek Falls in the background.

Also taken from the observation deck, this photograph shows the roaring Connestee Falls dropping to join Lower Batson Creek Falls.  A gift from Mother Nature gave several inches of rain in the days before the grand opening, filling the creeks and making the falls even more beautiful.

The view of Connestee Falls itself is accessible only from our community.  Members of our community frequently hike down the trail.  The trail follows Batson Creek and is a gorgeous and moderately strenuous hike with two other waterfalls along the path.  The hike ends with Lower Batson Creek Falls and this beautiful view of the Connestee Falls.  The photograph below was taken during one of our autumn hikes.

Connestee Falls.  The observation deck from which the above photographs were taken is at the top of the waterfall you see in this photograph.  The water in the right side of the photograph shows part of Lower Batson Creek Falls.  The fencing in the middle left is a remnant of earlier times when access to the falls was further down.  Future plans include creating a trail and a second observation deck from which visitors will be able to view both falls at once.

Connestee Falls was named in 1882 by Dr. A.F. Miles who owned nearby Caesar's Head Hotel.  Connestee was a Cherokee princess who, according to legend leapt to her death from the top of the falls because of a lost lover.

The two waterfalls are tiered cascade waterfalls.  Connestee Falls drops one hundred and ten feet and Lower Batson Creek Falls drops eighty-five feet.  The sight of the two waterfalls is impressive indeed.  With the new deck, visitors need only to park and walk (or use a wheelchair) a hundred feet or so to view the falls.

How nice to see the citizens of our county come together to make this possible.


Rudee said...

The views are so beautiful! I'm always impressed by the power of nature. The falls look amazing after your rainfall.

carolina nana said...

So thankful that people are beginning to see how the preservation of our beautiful land here in these mountains is so important. We've had several land owners here in Henderson county put their land in the Carolina Mountain Preservation program. I'm very thankful that my grandchildren will get the opportunity to view these natural wonders.
Have a blessed day

Vicki Lane said...

A wonderful victory for preservation! Good for your community!

Taradharma said...

It's refreshing these days to learn of a positive outcome from community involvement. People helping each other, and nature.

The photos are beautiful!

Carolina Linthead said...

I'm pretty sure I just squealed with delight! Great work, and I hope to visit someday :-)

Cicero Sings said...

What a great community project! So nice for everyone now and in the future.

Cheryl said...

It warms my heart to know the waterfalls are in safe hands.
People power, how wonderful.

Beautiful how can I incorporate a waterfall in the garden, Ha!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

How wonderful....public land!!!!!
Congrats on owning a piece of beauty.

KGMom said...

What a neat idea for preservation of a lovely site.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful spot. A great thing to be a part of an effort to conserve its beauty.

Anonymous said...

That's TERRIFIC! I nominate you for official photographer post.

D.K. Wall said...

Love to see more and more of our land being passed on by caring land owners to conservation groups.

troutbirder said...

What a great idea that such a beautiful spot can become common community ("socialist") property. And give credit to the community member who reduced the price to help make it possible. I do love waterfalls although when they reach a certain size and power they can become a bit frightening. Her on Lake Peping (a widening of the Mississippi River) we have a 200 ft. tall overlook name maiden rock. It seems an Indian Princess lept to her death when her lover... oh wait a minute. :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Rudee - You are so right. You can't help being impressed by nature's power.

Carolina nana - It's happening more and more around here and I am delighted.

Vicki - It really was a coming together effort.

Tara - Amen

Linthead - It's definitely worth a visit.

Herd - It warms my heart to see more and more land going into conservation.

Troutbirder - Too funny. You are absolutely correct. There is no waterfall around that hasn't a story about a princess or brave leaping to her/his death.

100 Thoughts of Love said...

is that the same falls that you used to access from the parking lot of a conestee falls real estate agency? About 2 year s ago we parked there and walked a few trails around some falls that ran was beautiful!