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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of Panthertown

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Beautification, Forest Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley.

Results: Become a supporting member of Friends to help us protect and maintain Panthertown Valley for all to enjoy. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. The mission of Friends of Panthertown is to work in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to conserve this outstanding natural resource while improving the quality and experience of recreational opportunities in Panthertown Valley. Get involved, join us, or sign-up to volunteer today!

Target demographics: Protect and conserve the forest and maintain 30 miles of public trails in Panthertown.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Visitors of Panthertown Valley, residents and businesses of Cashiers area community.

Geographic areas served: Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest

Programs: Trail maintenance, forest stewardship, public land conservation, and Leave No Trace education.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Friends of Panthertown is an active and caring non-profit organization that partners with the US Forest Service to promote and maintain Panthertown Valley in Western North Carolina. Panthertown Valley is a special place that provides recreation and enjoyment to a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Without Friends, there would be a lot less fun!

Friends of Panthertown hosts informative and inspirational speakers, as well as educational trail walks focused on relevant topics such as botany and geology. The all-volunteer board of this non-profit organization uses the funds wisely and efficiently by hiring just the staff that is needed to get the work done and to harness volunteers to join the effort to maintain trails and promote Panthertown Valley. And Friends of Panthertown spearheaded efforts to expand and upgrade the parking lots at two main access points.

The two-county area surrounding Panthertown Valley is fortunate to have this valuable resource that draws visitors from afar. Panthertown Valley would be much less attractive without Friends of Panthertown.

Abbey DeNapoli B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This a great grass roots organization dedicated to the preservation of an amazing natural resource. From trail maintenance to liaison with the Federal government, FOP is the only voice for a major outdoor area. People come from all over to experience nature at its best in NC.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Every year we are able to do more to reach the goals of the organization. The thanks expressed by hikers who see our trail work crews is much appreciated.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This nonprofit group has been doing great work, as a partner of the Nantahala Ranger District for near 15 years, protecting and maintaining the unique beauty of Panthertown Valley.

They are committed to modern, sustainable trail management and maintenance techniques. They offer public education, such as Leave No Trace programs, for area youth groups such as the local Boys and Girls Club and for adults.

They are actively and intelligently planning for the evident increased popularity of Panthertown Valley and developing relationships with area residents, businesses, and outdoor interest groups.

Chris B.3

Donor

Rating: 5

Friends of Panthertown uses a volunteer base to maintain the trails. I have been on several of their workdays. What struck me the most was the amount of damage water can do to the trails and how fast it can occur. Panthertown is part of a temperate rain forest and receives approximately 80 inches of rain a year. Without the continual support and labor of FOP the trails would quickly deteriorate. Keep it up FOP. Thank you for your service.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Friends of Panthertown does a terrific job at stewarding one of our greatest natural assets and ensuring its sustainability for future generations to come. Their efforts are invaluable and we are so lucky to have such a dedicated team.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We visit Cashiers, NC several times a year. A family member has a home neighboring Panthertown Valley, which we hike all the time when we're in NC. The extensive trails, scenery, wildlife and lush vegetation make Panthertown Valley one of the best places in the United States to enjoy the outdoors. Without the trails maintained by Friends of Panthertown this wouldn't be possible for the hikers, campers, bikers and horseman who enjoy this amazing natural park. Last year we had an opportunity to volunteer for Friends of Panthertown to clear the Blackrock trail. We joined a crew of volunteers who worked together doing back breaking work trimming low limbs, moving fallen trees and digging berms to make Blackrock safe for hikers and horses and their riders. This is just one small example of the great work and dedication by the Friends of Panthertown.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Friends of Panther Town is an amazing organization committed to protecting the vast 6000 plus acres we all love to experience!!! This group works diligently all year to organize trail maintenance work days , support Conservation efforts to benefit this land and to educate Panthertown users !!! A highly committed and dedicated group !!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am honored to be on the board of directors of Friends of Panthertown. As such I am in a position to observe up close how well this organization operates. With only two part-time employees the organization relies on a large and committed cadre of volunteers who commit time and resources to the mission of preserving and protecting Panthertown Valley for present day and future enjoyment by hikers, bikers, campers and horseback riders in a 6,000 acre wilderness. Board and staff members actively lead educational hikes and organize volunteers on trail maintenance outings; they have programs to teach young people to appreciate and care for the wilderness. For a small organization Friends of Panthertown has a very large impact and performs a very valuable role.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Friends of Panthertown is a volunteer organization that maintains the trails in Panthertown Valley. It also sometimes sets up a table at the entrance to answer questions and help people find trails.

Advisor

Rating: 5

As an original founder of Friends of Panthertown, and a long-time (now retired) member of its board, it has been a pleasure to watch it steadily increase its ability to perform its core mission of improving and maintaining Pantertown's extensive network of back-country trails. It has effectively expanded its membership as a means to finance its trail work -- freeing it from heavy dependence on special events that soak up volunteer energy better spent on the trails. And it has served the broader community with educational gatherings that simultaneously increase its visibility and attract new members. Well done!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the board for Friends of Panthertown for about 12 years. Also, I have hiked many of the trails within this wilderness area. This area is by far one of the most awesome natural wilderness areas that I have ever been hiking in. There are awesome waterfalls, views from mountain tops, rivers and creeks, and very beautiful plants, trees, and flowers. This is a place that many people love to hike and camp within. We have been very active over the years in seeing that the trails are adequately maintained.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Friends of Panthertown Board member, I can attest to the commitment that Friends of Panthertown has to maintaining the trials in Panthertown Valley and conserving this special natural resource. We rely on volunteers to help us with the trial maintenance and mambers and donors to support the organizaiton financially.

Please check out our website: www/panthertown.org

Board Member

Rating: 5

The board members consist of caring and compassionate people to which I am proud to be a part of this board. Each member is very involved with conservation work and raising awareness in the community.
The first time I visited Panthertown Valley, I fell in love with this place. Panthertown is unique with its rock formations and plant life. The trails are well maintained by volunteers, members, and board members. There are a vast number of waterfalls and overlooks in this valley. One can hike, camp, bike, fish, horseback ride, and mountain climb in this valley. Panthertown Valley is called the "Yosemite of the east" due to abundant waterfalls, pluton rocks, and many panoramic views. Panthertown Valley is my sanctuary and also a sanctuary for bears. Leave no trace is enforced which helps to keep this area and its headwaters for the east fork of the Tuckaseegee River prestine and clean. I love this place and have brought many hiker here who feel the same as I do.

J Dan P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Since my first visit in 1970, Panthertown Valley has been my number 1 natural area. In those days us conservationists had resistance to moving forward with opposing development. Besides development for secondary homes and condominiums around a lake to the proposed same lake for campers for the Blue Ridge Parkway extension, we had our hands full. Then with the purchase in 1989 by US Forest Service, in 2005 an organization of volunteers were established to become the current Friends of Panthertown. I have supported this effort for almost half a century. It is the top natural area of Jackson County as you can appreciate.