Musicians around the world know the name Bob Moog and respect his groundbreaking innovations in electronic instruments. However, what they may not know is that a quiet cove outside Asheville, NC provided a setting of respite and inspiration to nourish his uncanny genius.
In December, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) accepted a donated conservation easement on 105 acres of Bob Moog’s property in the South Turkey Creek community of Buncombe County. The quiet cove includes the former home and workshop of local music icon Bob Moog. His widow, Ileana Grams-Moog, donated the conservation easement to SAHC to protect forest habitat and clean water resources on the property.
“Bob would have been very happy about the conservation easement at Big Briar Cove,” said Grams-Moog. “People do not often think of him as an outdoorsman, but Bob was very passionate about the outdoors and the wilderness. I know that donating this conservation easement to protect the land for the future is something he wanted.”
The property contains rare natural communities including rich cove forest, a stand of old growth forest, and a small remnant southern Appalachian bog. Ten creeks flow through the cove, including several streams that serve as headwaters of South Turkey Creek. These pristine waters flow through the Sandy Mush Game Lands before emptying into the French Broad River.
“When he first learned about conservation easements, Bob was very interested and thought it would be a good thing to do for the cove,” Grams-Moog continued. “In his will, he directed me to preserve the environmental values of the land. I’m pleased to honor his wishes by donating the conservation easement at Big Briar Cove to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.”
In addition to the natural resources on the tract, the completion of this conservation easement protects scenic views in the northwest corner of the county. Rising to 3,700 feet in elevation, the property is visible from a scenic rural route and in the distance from Old Marshall Scenic Byway. As the home and work site of Moog, who is widely regarded as an early pioneer in electronic music, the property is also important for its cultural and historical context.
When Moog purchased the property in 1978, he was already well established in his career as an inventor and entrepreneur. He founded Big Briar, Inc. and built and sold custom electronic musical instruments under the Big Briar name until 2002, when the name was changed to Moog Music, Inc. At the workshop on the Big Briar Cove property, Moog experimented with designs for his electronic instruments and produced many instruments that were sold through his company.
“This property is a biological gem situated near 6,000 acres that SAHC has protected in the Sandy Mush farming community,” according to SAHC Executive Director Carl Silverstein. “We’re grateful to Ileana Grams-Moog for protecting this lovely cove with its significant forest, habitat, water resources, scenic value and historic connection to Bob Moog. We are deeply proud to be able to preserve it for posterity.”
Transaction costs for this donated conservation easement project were covered in part by the ‘Money in the Ground – Mountains & Coasts’ grant program of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina.