Person of the Week
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John Humphrey

Updated: Friday, January 31 2014, 11:57 AM EST
A Henderson County man once took a gamble that could have cost him his property and his legacy for his children.

Because our Person of the Week took that gamble, a huge part of Chimney Rock State Park is now preserved for all us to enjoy.

His name is John Humphrey and he has set a tone for conservation that will make a difference for generations to come. 

On a path well traveled, 97 year old John Humphrey determined his destination decades ago.

He chose to live in a place the rest of his life that gives more than he ever could. 

180 acres in Henderson County where even on a cloud covered day or when the land is covered in the lush green of spring or the multi-colored spread of leaves in autumn a new chapter of life can be found at every turn.

To him, it's not just land.  John Humphrey, Person of the Week,  "when I thought about it, it doesn't stand still.  Needs taking care of and basically I've spent the past 30 odd years trying to do that."

He's made this land a conservation easement so that only his four children, including David who already lives here, will have homes on the property.

David Humphrey, son, "this area will remain protected and will not be developed."

Kieran Rowe, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy,  "he was the very first donor of a conservation easement in Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy back in 1997. Really has set the tone since those early years."

When John and his wife moved here they knew it should be more than home.   The land was a legacy for their children and for the community.

"You can have development with thousands of houses all over the hillside or you can have trees and streams and fields."

And with conservation and John's help, land was saved from development in places like the worlds edge almost 1600 acres that are now part of Chimney Rock State Park. 

A developer almost bought when the conservancy didn't have quite enough money, "and John said this project is so important to me, I'm willing to put a lien on my farm.  This place our family has acquired and made our home."

He has helped to preserve the natural in nature, given a gift for generations that feeds the senses and even frees the soul. 

And like the white oak tree at the conservancy that's been dedicated to his name, John Humphrey has stood for something he feels is more important than man made matter.

Tom Fanslow, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy,  "he's as strong as this oak.  He set the tone which is very high."

It's living in the present, but leaving to the future.

"I have some pride in feeling we accomplished something."

For information about the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and how you can help, click here. John Humphrey

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