JARS v44n3 - Founder of SAHC Dies

Founder of SAHC Dies
Velma Haag
Brevard, North Carolina

Stanley A. Murray, founder of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC), leaves an unfulfilled legacy of 9,500 acres of unequaled natural beauty and biotic diversity in the Highlands of Roan. This 9,500 acres is the remaining portion of the original 23,000 acres in North Carolina and Tennessee cited for protection.

This is vast, high country famed for grass balds, magnificent vistas, hundreds of acres of rhododendrons, wild azaleas, wildflowers, spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests. With elevations ranging from 4,000 to 6,285 feet, the Highlands form a mountain island that rises dramatically above the surrounding valleys. The 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail that crosses the crest of the Highlands are considered to be the most scenic of the Trail's 2,100 miles.

SAHC's goal is to interweave the three major resources of scenery, biotic diversity and cultural heritage in a way that will serve as a model for environmental land conservation. Organized wildflower pilgrimages, naturalists' rallies, college classes and garden clubs utilize the Highlands all year round.

Mr. Murray, a native of Maine, became acquainted with the beauty of these mountains during training for World War II. He was instrumental in the creation of SAHC and served as President and Executive Secretary almost from the beginning, 16 years ago. He volunteered his services, sometimes giving 60 to 80 hours a week.

SAHC is a nonprofit organization governed by a Board of Directors from North Carolina and Tennessee with almost 2,000 members in 40 states. Volunteers contribute an estimated 4,500 hours of service annually to supplement a small part-time professional core.

A fund honoring Stanley Murray has been established. Memorials and other contributions can be sent to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Kingsport, TN.

More information on the Highlands of Roan appeared in Caroline Gable's article, "And Make The Mountains Glad," ARS Journal, Vol. 2:4, Spring 1988.