Cataloochee Ranch: A Success Story in Haywood County

In the 1990’s, 67-year-old Maggie Valley resident Tom Alexander realized that he would have to do something to be able to hand down his beloved land, 1,000 mostly undeveloped acres adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, intact to his children. The land had been in his family for 60 years, but development in Haywood County had greatly increased over the past few decades and the value of his land was doubling in value about every three to four years. When it was valued at $10 million, Alexander saw little chance his children would ever be able to receive the land intact because his estate would have to pay about $4 million in taxes, which would be impossible without selling portions of it. When development seemed inevitable, he called the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy for help. SAHC was able to put a conservation easement on Hemphill Bald, 222-acres of his property, which blocked future development from ever being able to take place and reduced the land value by 78%.

“We have a strong sentimental attachment to the land, and we didn’t want to see it sold off or go into the hands of developers,” Alexander said in a July 1998 article in the Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

After the initial Hemphill Bald easement, Alexander and the other owners, Judy Coker and Alice Aumen, went on to put five more sections of their property into conservation easements with SAHC. Because of the easements, Alexander was able to will his land to his children just the way it was a century before.

Cataloochee Ranch Property: Hikers, Views, and Seasons

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Categories: Farmland Preservation Program, Hikes, Land Protection Updates | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Cataloochee Ranch: A Success Story in Haywood County

  1. Ray Jenkins

    This is an unusual request —

    Tom Alexander and I started our careers in journalism on the same small newspaper 60 years ago. We maintained only sporadic contact during the decades, and I followed his battle with prostate cancer through his writing in Fortune magazine.

    I believe that Tom died a few years ago.

    Does anyone know whether it was the prostate cancer that finally got him?

    Ray Jenkins, Baltimore MD

    • Jack Smith

      NO he didn’t die from prostate cancer:

      Editor’s Desk
      (FORTUNE Magazine)
      By Eric Pooley/Managing Editor
      May 16, 2005

      (FORTUNE Magazine) – Later this month at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, FORTUNE convenes its ninth Global Forum–a remarkable gathering of CEOs, heads of state, and thinkers who will train their minds on a signature topic of our time: China’s rapidly evolving, enormously unpredictable role in the world. FORTUNE’s international editions are devoting 16 pages to the topic; the revelatory heart of that package, Asia editor Clay Chandler’s inside look at how China’s best business school is rewiring (and Westernizing) the country’s economic elite, appears in the U.S. edition as well. So do author Daniel Yergin’s expert consideration of how China’s thirst for oil is butting up against global politics and editor-at-large Geoffrey Colvin’s stern wake-up call to all those Americans who so like to whine about the China trade threat. “America’s trade deficit hit an all-time record last year,” writes Geoff. “But we’re running a massive trade surplus in nonsense.” There’ll be plenty more of that kind of straight talk in Beijing–and a dispatch from the conference in a future issue.

      Thirty-four years before Harvard’s Larry Summers got into trouble for musing about innate differences between men and women, Tom Alexander tackled the subject in these pages. “‘Nature vs. nurture’ is the wrong formulation,” he wrote, preferring the “complex interaction” between the two. In his decades as a FORTUNE writer and editor, Tom instructed us about everything from the Apollo moon shot (in 1963, six years before it happened) to his own prostate cancer (in 1993). He died of a neurological disorder last month. But we’re still learning from him.

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