Morganton, NC – In honor of its 20th anniversary, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is hosting a public celebration on Saturday, April 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Camp Golden Valley in the South Mountains of northern Rutherford County.

The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required by 5 p.m. Friday, April 22, and may be made to the attention of Beth Willard-Patton at or by calling 828-437-9930.

“Since our founding as a regional land trust in December of 1995, Foothills Conservancy has partnered with landowners, communities and natural resource agencies to protect lands and waters we all love across the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the foothills,” said Susie Hamrick Jones, Foothills Conservancy’s executive director. “During this anniversary year, we will reach and celebrate an amazing milestone — the permanent protection of 50,000 acres which includes special places like Chimney Rock, the Linville Gorge, Wilson Creek, Catawba Falls and the South Mountains. On April 23rd, we look forward to honoring and celebrating with the many people and community partners who have helped make this legacy of protected lands and waters possible.”

Hosting this event is Camp Golden Valley. This scenic 550-acre former Girl Scout camp is now owned by Blue Ridge Distilling, makers of Defiant Whisky. (164 Girl Scout Camp Rd, Golden Valley, NC)

JacobFork“We are grateful that Blue Ridge Distilling’s owner, Tim Ferris, gladly agreed to host this celebration at his camp,” Hamrick Jones said. “Foothills Conservancy’s first protection project, the 18,000-acre Rollins Tract, is nearby. In the heart of the South Mountains and sheltering the First Broad River’s watershed, this tract supplies the clean waters needed to make Defiant Whisky!”

Jacob Fork Creek

Bring a blanket or a chair and prepare for a fun afternoon at Camp Golden Valley! BearWallow, winner of the 2015 MerleFest Band competition, will play between 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Other activities include self-directed hikes, paddling on the camp’s scenic lake, Defiant Whisky tastings, free pizza will be baking in Goodwood Pizza’s wood-fired oven and free beer will be available thanks to Fonta Flora Brewery (water and tea will also be served). The first 30 attendees will each have the opportunity to purchase a bottle of Defiant Whisky signed by the owner and makers!

Foothills Conservancy will recognize the land trust’s founders and former board members, donors, recipients of the 2016 Ruby Award (distinguished volunteer), Guardians of the Land awards (landowners who have conserved their property), and public and private partners, all of whom have been essential to the group’s successful conservation work.

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, a nationally accredited regional land trust based in Morganton, works cooperatively with landowners and public and private conservation partners to preserve and protect significant natural areas and open spaces, including watersheds, forests and farmland, across the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and their foothills in eight counties — Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, and Rutherford — which include headwaters of the Broad, Catawba and Yadkin rivers.

Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support the regional land trust, can be found online at or by calling 828-437-9930.

Defiant Whisky is the internationally award-winning Single Malt Whisky of Blue Ridge Distilling Company. For more information about Defiant Whisky or to schedule a tour of the distillery, please call 828-245-2041 or email