In 2004 the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA) placed about 2,500 acres of wilderness property into a conservation easement. Since then, through the work of the MRA, private donors, and the Open Space Conservation Committee, more lots have been placed in the easement bringing the total protected wilderness area up to around 2,800 acres.

The Town of Montreat acts as a partner with local and external groups to help ensure the historic natural setting of Montreat continues to thrive for generations. This is primarily done through the Montreat Landcare Committee, a community-based group of volunteers that organize projects to protect, to preserve, and to present the natural features of our cove. Eight local organizations comprise the Landcare Committee: the Town of Montreat, Montreat College, the MRA, the Montreat Trail Club, the Wilderness and Open Space Committee of Montreat Cottagers, the Certified Wildlife Habitat Program, the Wilderness Committee of MRA, and the Earth Ministry Team of Montreat Presbyterian Church.

Additionally, the Town helps to facilitate acquiring new property for conservation through its Open Space Conservation Committee. Though the Town budgets some limited funding for this process, generally new properties are acquired through donation.

And finally, the Town actively manages its urban forest through the efforts and guidance of the Tree Board. The Tree Board makes recommendations to the Town Commission on the policy and practice of regulating public trees on Town Properties, supervises the ongoing at-risk tree survey in the town, and is working to propose a comprehensive tree management plan.

Follow the links below for more information on our community partnerships working to conserve the environment of the Montreat cove, or our external partnerships providing information and resources towards that local effort.