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Historical Perspective

Western North Carolina is an island of green in the Southeastern United States.Western North Carolina has a long history of being a wellness retreat for those seeking its milder climate, abundant freshwater springs, and the tranquility of its mountain landscape. Initially, many of the region’s homes and towns were built as places for people to come and escape the summer heat of the coastal states or to seek reprieve from the bitter winters of the north. In this land cover map of the eastern United States, the Western North Carolina region appears as an island of green—our vast forest system—amid a southeast dominated by major metropolitan (red) and agricultural (yellow) areas. Within a day’s drive to over half of the people in the U.S., this “island of green” is easily accessible for many to visit or relocate. 


Map data from the National Land Cover Database 2006, published by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC). Accessed from: