L   I T T L E   M  O U N T A I N     R   A N C H                A Highland Retreat
PREPARED FORP RIVATE C LIENT     PREPARED BY    AN AFFILIATE OF           2
CONTENTSINTRODUCTION                            04THE VISION                              05THE PROPERTY                  ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTRODUCTIONMcKee Carson and Field SportConcepts, Ltd. are proud to ...
THE VISION                         The vision for Little Mountain Ranch                         is to create a multi-funct...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE PROPERTYLittle Mountain Ranch is located in          The propert...
tain                                           oun                                 ekM                         k   Cre    ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE REGIONLocated in the Ridge and ValleyProvince of the Appalachian...
Ap                                                                                        pa                              ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE HISTORYThe Highland County area was                Highland Coun...
NORTHMAP NOT TO SCALE                        ...t o                   11                                 river valley
12
SITE INVENTORY & ANALYSISA number of inventory and          Field visits and on-site reconnaissanceanalysis studies were c...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tLANDSCAPE TYPOLOGYThe property covers a wide range ofelevation chang...
TERRAIN                            Slopes on site were calculated and                            grouped into six categori...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tECOLOGYEcology is the scientific study of the        supporting the a...
MEADOW WETLAND DURING COOL SEASON (MARCH)   SAME WETLAND DURING WARM SEASON (JUNE) SHOWING                                ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tVEGETATIONThe vegetative community on Little            Herbaceous c...
TERRESTRIALCANOPY                    White oak | Quercus alba                    Northern red oak | Quercus rubra         ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tASPECTAspect refers to the direction in which aslope is oriented in ...
WILDLIFE     Highland County is home to a wide     array of wildlife. Supporting over     500 species, the area includes a...
22
SITE DESIGN ELEMENTSThe richness of Little Mountain Ranch       STEWARDSHIP: places where changesis representative of the ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONENTRANCE MEADOWThe journey through Little MountainRanch ...
220 TEROU                                                 R                                            RIVE               ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONENTRANCE MEADOW ALTERNATIVE                             ...
220 TEROU                                            R                                       RIVE                         ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONMEADOWN PRECEDENTSThe individual components of themeadow...
ENTRANCE GATESe    WEIR WALLSw    MEADOWSmsc STREAM CROSSING    FENCE TYPESf                          ...t o              ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITELinking the meadow to the homesite is a bridge ...
OW   ENTRANCETO MEAD                            JAC                               KS                                  ON  ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITE PRECEDENTSAs with the meadow, individualcompon...
si SPRING IMPOUNDMENTor ORCHARDpg PRIVATE GARDENSm MEADOWS     EXISTING VIEWev                             ...t o         ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITE PRECEDENTS                                    ...
PAVINGpvgp GARDEN PATH     PAVED TERRACEpt     POOLpo     GRASS TERRACEgt                          ...t o                 ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONCABIN OR CAMP SITES:The following sites have been select...
GRILL NOTCH                                                                                            3’ - 6”            ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONOLD HOMESTEADS:The old homesteads are a particularlyintr...
CHIMNEY AND ORCHARD REMNANTSCAMPFIRE SEATING EXAMPLE         VIEW OF CHIMNEY RUIN AT OLD HOMESTEAD IN MEADOW CLEARING WITH...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tDISCOVERY & CONTEMPLATIONVIEW OVERLOOKS:There are numerous places on...
SINKING CREEK CAVE                                                        Sinking Creek Cave is arguably one of           ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tSTEWARDSHIPPOWERLINE CUT + CLEAR CUT EDGE:              The American...
RIVERS, PONDS, AND SPRINGS:                                             RIPARIAN BUFFER STEWARDSHIP                       ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tATV TRAILSThere are a myriad of logging roadsthat criss-cross the pr...
TRAIL AMENITIES                                                                     Trail amenities help express the      ...
LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tSITE AMENITY PRECEDENTSATV STREAM CROSSINGSWOODEN BENCHESCISTERN & P...
FIRE PITS                       OVERLOOKS                   TRAIL MARKERS              SHELTERS / PAVILIONS               ...
48
SUMMARY     The purpose of this study is to provide     a master plan for the family of their     Highland County property...
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Little Mountain Ranch

  1. 1. L I T T L E M O U N T A I N R A N C H A Highland Retreat
  2. 2. PREPARED FORP RIVATE C LIENT PREPARED BY AN AFFILIATE OF 2
  3. 3. CONTENTSINTRODUCTION 04THE VISION 05THE PROPERTY 06THE REGION 08THE HISTORY 10SITE INVENTORY & ANALYSIS 13 LANDSCAPE TYPOLOGY TERRAIN ECOLOGY VEGETATION ASPECT WILDLIFESITE DESIGN ELEMENTS 23 ENTRANCE MEADOW MEADOW PRECEDENTS HOME SITE HOME SITE PRECEDENTS INTERVENTIONS DISCOVERY & CONTEMPLATION STEWARDSHIP ATV TRAILS & AMENITIES SITE AMENITY PRECEDENTSSUMMARY 483
  4. 4. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTRODUCTIONMcKee Carson and Field SportConcepts, Ltd. are proud to provide thefamily with the following inventory,analysis, planning, and designexplorations for Little Mountain Ranch.We have evaluated the property inorder to explore certain master planconfigurations regarding the programvision. This report is a record ofour initial observations, inventories, From ridge top...analyses, and recommendations. Whileit is not a design document, it is ourintent that the initial concepts containedherein, along with our research andrecommendations, serve to assist youand your family with a vision andfuture planning decisions for yourproperty.The master planning process beganwith a comprehensive analysis of thesite and its geographic, cultural, andhistorical relationship to its context.An understanding of these natural andcultural influences, site context, existingconditions, and programmatic goalsall contributed to the unique landscapelanguage that was developed for thismaster plan.Through the investigation of mapsand narratives of Highland County,we chronicled the site’s cultural andnatural history. After numerous on-siteinvestigations we conducted a detailedsite inventory and analysis, includingsite ecology, plant communities, terrain,and solar aspect. Evaluation of the site’sopportunities and constraints associatedwith the programmatic goals led usto further explore and reveal the site’sunique character through a series ofdesign interventions.This document is a record of thatprocess and the resulting designrecommendations we have developedas a result. It is our sincere hope thatwe not only meet your expectations butexceed them, and that this book servesto highlight the unlimited potential,outstanding integrity and overall beautyfound at Little Mountain Ranch fromridge top to river valley. NORTH ROUTE 220 JACKSON RIVER RIDGE TOP top... ridge From 4
  5. 5. THE VISION The vision for Little Mountain Ranch is to create a multi-functional retreat for the owner; a place of respite and recreation designed to meet the needs of a growing family today, and into the future. The property is impressive, with places and features that give it a unique identity. With very few exceptions, the land, as a resource, lends itself well to the envisioned programmatic elements that will ultimately preserve the value and ensure the family’s enjoyment of the property. Its owners are interested in preserving the property’s integrity through the establishment of conservation easements and enhancement of ecologically sensitive areas. The introduction of new rural recreational pursuits, which can be enjoyed by family, friends and visitors, combined with ecologically sensitive ranch operation will create a retreat with few equals. Those programs envisioned for the property include: CABINS AND CAMPSITES To accommodate family and friends TRAILS AND TRAIL DESTINATIONS For passive and active recreation along with the general enjoyment of the properties unique elements. PONDS To enhance aesthetic, wildlife, and agricultural uses. WILDLIFE HABITAT AND HUSBANDRY To be established in certain areas of the property and enhanced in others. AGRICULTURE AND TIMBER To develop sustainable and ecologically sensitive management of natural resources. SUBDIVISION OF THE PROPERTY Solely for estate planning purposes and for the ultimate creation of home sites for family members. As illustrated in this program, a conservation easement will preserve the site’s ecology and protect it for future recreational enjoyment....to river valley ...t o 5 river valley
  6. 6. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE PROPERTYLittle Mountain Ranch is located in The property is home to a largeHighland County, Virginia, along U.S. community of wildlife speciesRoute 220. A part of the once larger including mammals, fowl, and manyTomahawk Ranch, Little Mountain types of aquatic life. Some are foundRanch is grand in both appearance across the state and are commonplaceand size, with over 1800 acres in its at the Ranch, such as deer, turkey,boundaries. The ranch sits on the and squirrel; while others have morenorthwestern slope of Little Mountain, limited ranges, like the Snowshoeliterally spanning from ridge top to river Hare (Lepus americanus) and Golden RANCH PROPERTY NW slope of Little Mountain,valley. Roughly 2500 linear feet of the Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), which are 1801.67 acresproperty borders Route 220, while the exclusive to the mountains of westernJackson River flows approximately 4500 Virginia.feet through the property at the base ofLittle Mountain. The site not only offers its natural beauty, but also a host of recreationalLittle Mountain is composed primarily opportunities. A network of existingof sedimentary rock, as is most of the logging roadbeds offer an excellentRidge and Valley province. The ridge framework for developing trails forline of Little Mountain is composed hiking, mountain biking, horsebackof particularly hard sandstone, pieces riding, and All Terrain Vehiclesof which have tumbled down and (ATV’s) all the while providing accesscollected in various locations across to unique places throughout the ranch.the mountain. A second outcropping The Jackson River hosts some of theof sandstone can be seen along the state’s best fishing opportunities asJackson River near the river ford well as a place to swim, float, or relaxcurrently used by the family. This beside the water. The potential foroutcropping is part of a distinct layer sporting clays and/or skeet shootingof sandstone which runs the length of exists in the open meadows on site.the property at a relatively consistent Other active recreational opportunitieselevation. In between these two harder include hunting and camping, whilebelts of sandstone, shale, limestone passive recreational opportunities,and softer sandstones exist, which are such as picnicking or simply enjoyingthe hallmarks of karst geography. An the scenery are almost limitless.on-site cave and associated sinkhole areevidence of this karst geography.Because the property encompasses theslopes of Little Mountain from ridgetop to river valley, there are a varietyof terrains on which the predominantoak-hickory-maple forest is found.Although the property is dominated bysteep rocky slopes, smaller areas of very SANDSTONE RIDGEgentle grade occur on the mountain sideas well.In the river valley, fertile grasslandscompose the floodplain of theJackson River. These grasslands arepredominantly used for agriculturalpurposes such as cattle farms. Onlyabout 100 acres of the ranch are opengrassland. The Jackson River, a typicalfreestone stream, flows in a series ofrills and pools that meander along thecourse of least resistance. Due to itsmeandering nature, the river sometimescuts a new path through the valley flooreither forming an island or an oxbowof water that is cut off from the mainchannel. These will change over timeand are the creation of the dynamic KARST CAVE ENTRANCEhydraulic force of the river. JACKSON RIVER MEANDER top... ridge From 6
  7. 7. tain oun ekM k Cre Bac n ai 0 . 22 nt Rte ou M tle Lit er Riv n ksoJac NORTH NORTH ...t o 7 river valley
  8. 8. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE REGIONLocated in the Ridge and ValleyProvince of the Appalachian Range,Highland County encompasses 416square miles of arguably, the mostbeautiful and unique environmentseast of the Mississippi River. Persquare mile, the county is one of theleast populated on the east coast. As aresult, the lack of development in thecounty helps support a rich diversityof plant and animal life unique to theAppalachian Mountains.The local economy is built aroundthe wealth of its natural resourcesand agricultural businesses aboundhere. Approximately 70% of thecounty’s 260,000 acres is forestedwith the dominant species being oak, HIGHLAND COUNTY, VIRGINIAhickory, and maple. This has fueled Bordered to North and West by West Virginiathe timber industry in the area whichsupports several local sawmills andhas contributed significantly to theHighland County economy. Roughly70,000 acres falls under the protectionof federal and state agencies, includingthe United States Forest Service andthe Virginia Department of Game andInland Fisheries.Highland County is quite high forVirginia, averaging 2,800 feet inelevation. As a result, it is almostexclusively occupied by headwaterstreams and rivers. Northwest ofMonterey (the county seat), the countyfalls within the Potomac watershed;all of the waterways here flow into theSouth Branch of the Potomac River.The southern and eastern portionsof the county, including the Jackson,Bullpasture, and Cowpasture Rivers, fallwithin the James River watershed. Itis said that there is a red roofed barn inMonterey whose roof runoff falls to thePotomac on one side and to the Jameson the other.The climate of Highland County offerscomfortably cool summers and chillywinters. The coolest month has beenJanuary with an average temperature of26.6 degrees Fahrenheit and an averagesnowfall of 11 inches. Conversely, thewarmest month is July averaging 68.1degrees; it also represents the month LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH SE portion of Highland County,with the heaviest rainfall average at 3.95inches. This is somewhat misleading Ridge + Valley Physiographic Regionhowever, as no month averages fewerthan 3.20 inches resulting in a totalannual precipitation of 42 inches for thecounty. top... ridge From 8
  9. 9. Ap pa lac hia nP lat ea Rid u ge +V all ey9 JACKSON RIVER Ap Mo pala un ch tai ian ns Sh Monterey en an do Blu ah eR Va lle idg y WEST VIRGINIA e Pie dm on t VIRGINIA NORTH ...t o JAMES RIVERriver valley
  10. 10. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tTHE HISTORYThe Highland County area was Highland County, as it is knownpopulated by Native Americans well today, was formed in 1847. Thebefore European settlers arrived. As county seat of Monterey was foundedevidence, the discovery of a 3,000- the following year. Originally it wasyear old settlement near McDowell is simply called “Highland,” but thelocated to the east of the ranch in the name was changed in honor of theBullpasture Valley. When Europeans Mexican town where General Zacharyfirst arrived in the area they found Taylor defeated the Mexican Armythat the land was not claimed by any during the Spanish-American War.particular tribe, but served as a commonhunting ground for the Shawnee, Historically, agriculture has been theCherokee and Delaware tribes. staple industry for economic gain in Highland County. Sheep farming andAt the time Highland County was wool sales along with cattle ranchingteaming with buffalo, bear, deer and were, and still are, the main livestockgame birds, many of which are found industry. The harvesting, processing,and seen here today. It is also believed and sale of wood products were andthat the Native Americans practiced continue to be a major contributor toburning to maintain grass-land in the the economy of the county.valleys in order to attract game to thearea. SHEEP DRIVE, HIGHLAND COUNTYAlthough settlement had already begunin the Bullpasture valley, the Williamand Stephen Wilson families werethe first to settle in the Jackson Rivervalley in 1753. Originally from Dublin,Ireland, the Wilson Brothers had movedsouth to Virginia after living for a timeon Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.Interestingly, their final stop was closeto Little Mountain Ranch where theysettled just south at the confluence ofBolar Run and Jackson River.Most early settlers were, like theWilsons, of Scotch-Irish or Germanheritage. Unlike coastal settlers, theyoften chose to abandon the NativeAmerican place names in favor of CATTLE DRIVE, HIGHLAND COUNTYmore European names. The NativeAmerican name for the Bullpasture andCowpasture Rivers was Wallawhatoola,or “river that bends.” The native namefor the Jackson River is unknown, butit is currently named for early pioneerWilliam Jackson, not the Civil War iconStonewall Jackson as one might suspect.Bolar Run, in Big Valley to the east ofLittle Mountain Ranch, was originallyknown as Wilson’s Mill Run for theWilson family. The current name comesfrom Colonel John Bolar of Bath whosewife inherited the land from her fatherWilliam Wilson. NORTH CIVIL WAR ERA MAP OF HIGHLAND COUNTY WITH CURRENT LOCATION OF LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH HIGHLIGHTED top... ridge From 10
  11. 11. NORTHMAP NOT TO SCALE ...t o 11 river valley
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. SITE INVENTORY & ANALYSISA number of inventory and Field visits and on-site reconnaissanceanalysis studies were conducted was necessary to investigate designpertaining to the physical opportunities and constraints andelements of the ranch property. familiarize the team with the property.These studies, and the resulting Assessment of wildlife habitat andfindings, assisted the team in corridors, terrain, solar aspect,making solid, justified, and vegetation, scenic and historic values,appropriate planning and design flood plain and surface drainage,decisions for the project. and land uses were all part of the site investigation. The following analysis describes the implications and characteristic of each physical element.LANDSCAPE TYPOLOGY 14TERRAIN 15ECOLOGY 16VEGETATION 18ASPECT 19WILDLIFE 2013
  14. 14. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tLANDSCAPE TYPOLOGYThe property covers a wide range ofelevation change, with approximately1,390 feet of topographic change fromthe highest point atop Little Mountainat 3,493 feet, to the lowest point in theJackson River valley at 2,103 feet. Thereare three distinct landscape typologies:the flat riverine floodplain, the moderateto steep transitional slopes, and therocky, steep ridge top.RIVERINE FLOODPLAINRoughly 100 of the ranch’s 1,800acres are located in the flood plain ofthe Jackson River. This zone is levelwith slopes ranging from 0-3% and ischaracterized by silt and sandy loamsoils. The top of the seasonal high watertable is at 22 inches. Because of its 2200’ and lowerlow banks, typically less than 5 feet inheight, this zone is prone to occasionalflooding. Given its rich organic contentthe floodplain is ideal for farming andwildlife husbandry practices.TRANSITION SLOPEThe majority of the ranch’s acreage liesin the moderate to steep transitionalslopes that span the mountain sidebetween the riverine floodplain and 2201’ - 2300’ridge top typologies. This is wheremost of the topographical variance of 2301’ - 2400’the property is found, as some 1,100’ 2401’ - 2500’of elevation is gained. The geologyof Little Mountain is dominated by 2501’ - 2600’two sandstone ridges, one atop themountain and one that forms the 2601’ - 2700’uphill edge of the floodplain. Thesetwo outcrops define the edges of the 2701’ - 2800’transitional zone. The lower sandstoneformation provides a bench along the 2801’ - 2900’mountain side where the topography 2901’ - 3000’becomes more moderate (between2,300’ to 2,500’ in elevation) allowing for 3001’ - 3100’several potential building sites and traillocations. The soil in this zone tends to 3101’ - 3200’be shallow and well drained with a highcobble and stone content.RIDGE TOPThe ridge top is characterized byits rocky, undulating topographyranging from 200- 300’ from its highestpoint (3,493’) along the ridge top tothe lowest elevation of 3,185’. Thistypology is comprised of shallow, well 3201’ - 3300’drained soil that occasionally presents 3301’ - 3400’sandstone rock outcroppings. Whilenot hospitable to building, the ridge 3401’ - 3500’ NORTHtop offers excellent views to both theBullpasture and Jackson River valleys.RIDGETOP ROCK OUTCROP top... TRANSITION SLOPE ridge From 14
  15. 15. TERRAIN Slopes on site were calculated and grouped into six categories according to development guidelines for trails, roadways, and building sites. As shown on the adjacent map, a majority of the property contains slopes of 25% or greater which directly correlates with the transition zone between the riverine floodplain and the ridge top. There is a substantial amount of acreage that falls in the 15-25% slope range and is suitable for building and trail development. In terms of analyzing the property for programmatic elements, slope ranges under 25% are the most conducive for home sites and ATV trails. However, some of the most interesting places on site are the steep, rocky ridges and ravines, and thus are given special consideration in the design phases. 0-5% - Relatively flat, mostly found in the flood plain meadows. 5-10% - Slightly steeper, but easily walkable. Similar to slope of handicap ramps. 10-15% - More difficult ATV terrain, Dept. of Transportation allows 14% max for roads. 15-20% - Too steep for ATVs to ascend straight uphill, trails should traverse slope. 20-25% - Maximum slope recommended for buildings. 25+% - Very steep. Access between roadways and building pads difficult. NORTHRIVERINE FLOOD PLAIN ...t o 15 river valley
  16. 16. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tECOLOGYEcology is the scientific study of the supporting the animals that prey oninteractions of organisms with their them. Acting as wildlife “highways”environment and with each other. for migratory species, riparian corridorsAn ecosystem is a combination of and edges help connect isolated forestrelationships among living resources, stands.habitats and residents of a region; it canbe a large geographic region, like the Healthy riparian edges assist inAppalachian mountains, or something preventing stream bank erosion andas small as a puddle. An ecological deterioration of water quality. Shadedcommunity is an assemblage of these river channels help to improve aquaticspecies interacting in a specific habitat. habitat and contribute plant matterWe have categorized Little Mountain to the base of the aquatic food web.Ranch into three main ecological Riparian edges also reduce floodcommunities: forest, riparian edge, damage to surrounding land and filterand meadow. While they can be seen pollutants from runoff before it reachesas separate, the function of each is the stream.inherently connected to the others andto the larger ecosystems in which they The state of Virginia offers tax creditsare situated. and assistance programs for the establishment and maintenance of this ERODED RIPARIAN EDGEFOREST valuable territory.Forests are areas with a high densityof trees. They take in large amounts MEADOWof carbon dioxide and are the best Meadows are characterized by plantslandscape for ensuring good water such as grasses, forbs (herbaceous plantsquality, preventing soil erosion and and wildflowers) and small shrubs.providing important habitat for a wide They provide habitat for deer, turkey,range of animals. It is claimed that rabbit, quail, mice, butterflies and aone teaspoon of healthy forest soil may host of insects as well as forage areascontain more than 10,000 organisms, for livestock. Predators such as hawks,which many of the plants, such as owls, and fox depend on small meadowmountain laurel, rely on to survive. animals for most of their food. Meadow diversity is greatly affected by the typesForests can be categorized into four of plants that grow in them and themain layers: canopy, subcanopy, frequency of mowing or burning, sinceunderstory, and groundplane (herb cover and food is limited in freshlylayer). Each layer is specifically mown or burned areas.adapted for the level of shade andmoisture that it receives, and the There are two main types of grassespresence of all layers is important to the typically found in a meadow: coolhealth of the forest and its inhabitants. season grasses and warm season grasses. As the names imply, coolThe forest community of Little season grasses do most of their growingMountain Ranch is termed an oak- when the weather is cooler in the springhickory or oak-hickory-maple and fall, while warm season grassescomplex, as they are the dominant tree are adapted to thrive in the heat of thespecies. At one time it was an oak- summer.chestnut forest, but a blight broughtin with the Chinese chestnut in the Native warm season grasses are taller1940s and 50s killed off the American and grow in clumps. This is beneficialchestnut, radically altering the forest for small animals that can move freelylandscape. Prior to their decimation, it and safely at ground level whileis estimated that one in every four trees remaining sheltered from above. Warmin the Appalachian mountains was an season grasses typically keep their formAmerican chestnut. What was once a in the winter, providing year-round100-foot tall canopy tree is now a small visual interest and cover for animals.sapling that generally succumbs to the Because they do not crowd out otherblight within a few years, and there plants, warm season meadows areare numerous examples all over the generally more diverse providing moreproperty. food and habitat for a wider variety of animals.RIPARIAN EDGEA riparian edge is the area directly Cool season grasses can be bunchadjacent to a river or stream. Because grasses, but most are non-native, sod-this area is prone to flooding, the forming grasses. Tall fescue is theplants found here are well adapted to most commonly found meadow grasschanging conditions. Healthy riparian because it is easy to maintain and goodedges are some of the most diverse pasturage for livestock. However,ecosystems in nature supporting more fescues are undesirable in a meadowspecies of plants and animals than because they start growing longeither forest or meadow. These edges before other grasses and form a dense mat which keeps other plants from THE JACKSON RIVER HAS LOST RIPARIAN EDGE TOalso provide critical habitat for fish,insects, reptiles, amphibians, small germinating, resulting in a monoculture PASTURE LANDmammals and birds; thereby also that limits food and habitat for wildlife. top... ridge From 16
  17. 17. MEADOW WETLAND DURING COOL SEASON (MARCH) SAME WETLAND DURING WARM SEASON (JUNE) SHOWING DIVERSITY OF WARM SEASON PLANTSLAYERED FOREST AT LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH ...t o 17 river valley
  18. 18. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tVEGETATIONThe vegetative community on Little Herbaceous composition variesMountain Ranch is considered part greatly but include species suchof the Central Appalachian Northern as joe-pye weed (EupatoriumHardwood Forests. These mixed fistulosum), jack-in-the-pulpithardwood forests are prevalent at high (Arisaema triphylum), and sensitiveelevations and can be further broken fern (Onoclea sensibilis). More CANOPYdown into three primary communities: frequently flooded areas alongterrestrial, alluvial, and riverine. The the stream channels supportterrestrial community occupies the some wetland species such asentire mountain and is comprised of twisted sedge (Carex torta), hookedthe oak-hickory-maple complex, while buttercup (Ranunculus recurvatus),the alluvial and riverine communities and marsh blue violet (Violainclude species located in the flood plain cucullata).and Jackson River itself. RIVERINE COMMUNITYTERRESTRIAL COMMUNITY The floating and submergentThe terrestrial community includes herbaceous vegetation of this SUB - CANOPYall upland (non-wetland) habitats and community inhabits the Jacksonoccurs primarily on the mountainside River itself. Characteristicof Little Mountain Ranch. The canopy species include waterweedsin this community includes species (Elodea candensis), and horn-such as: sugar maple (Acer saccharum), leaf riverweed (Podostemumred maple (Acer rubrum), sweet birch ceratophyllum) that is often rooted(Betula lenta), and northern red oak on shallow submerged boulders(Quercus rubra), while American beech and rock outcrops.(Fagus gradifolia), and eastern hemlock UNDERSTORY(Tsuga Canadensis) are less frequentco-dominants. The sub-canopy iscomprised of species such as blackcherry (Prunus serotina), striped maple(Acer pensylvanicum), white pine (Pinusstrobes) and a host of other companions. GROUNDPLANEThe understory and ground planeinclude a matrix of species ranging fromshrubs such as mountain laurel (Kalmialatifolia), and rhododendron to herblayers of haysented fern (Dennstaeditapunctilobula), and whorled aster (Asteracuminatus).The importance of red maple, sweetbirch, northern red oak, and blackcherry in contemporary Virginiaexemplifies this community andreflects secondary successionfollowing catastrophic logging andfire disturbance in the early part of thetwentieth century.ALLUVIAL COMMUNITYSpecies in this community occupytemporarily flooded habitats includingthe Jackson River floodplain.Characteristic trees include sycamore(Platanus occidentalis), boxelder (Acernegundo), river birch (Betula nigra), blackwalnut (Juglans nigra), and black willow(Salix nigra). Shrubs include spicebush(Lindera benzoin), alder (Alnus serrulata),and witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana). FOREST LAYERS top... ridge From 18
  19. 19. TERRESTRIALCANOPY White oak | Quercus alba Northern red oak | Quercus rubra Red maple | Acer rubrum Sugar maple | Acer saccarum ALLUVIAL / RIVERINE Sweet birch | Betula lenta CANOPY Eastern sycamore | Platanus occidentalis Mockernut hickory | Carya tomentosa Eastern hemlock | Tsuga canadensis Shagbark hickory | Carya ovata Green ash | Fraxinus pennsylvanica Eastern hemlock | Tsuga canadensisNORTHERN RED OAK American elm – Ulmus Americana American beech | Fagus grandifolia Red maple | Acer rubrumSUBCANOPY Tulip poplar | Liriodendron tulipifera White pine | Pinus strobus Virginia pine | Pinus virginiana Sassafras | Sassafras albidum EASTERN HEMLOCK American chesnut | Castanea dentata Black cherry | Prunus serotina SUBCANOPY Black willow | Salix nigra Box-elder | Acer negudo River birch | Betula nigraAMERICAN CHESTNUTU N D E R S TO RY Common witch-hazel | Hamamelis virginiana Catawaba rhododendron | Rhododendron catawbiense BLACK WILLOW Mountain laurel | Kalmia latifolia Flowering dogwood | Cornus florida UNDERSTORY Eastern red bud | Cercis canadensis Silky dogwood | Cornus amonum Serviceberry | Amelanchier canadensis American hornbeam | Carpinus caroliniana Blackberry | Prunus sp. Alder | Alnus serrulataMOUNTAIN LAUREL Lowbush blueberry | Vaccinium angustifolium Witch hazel | Hamamelis virginiana Multiflora rose | Rosa multiflora (invasive)GROUNDPLANE Lady fern | Athyrium felix-femina Striped wintergreen | Chimaphilia maculate Evergreen wood-fern | Dryopteris intermedia MULTIFLORA ROSE Sweet white-viola | Viola blanda Whorled aster | Aster acuminatus GROUNDPLANE Tree clubmoss | Lycopodium dendroideum Joe-pye weed | Eupatorium fistulosum Stiff clubmoss | Lycopodium annotinum Bugleweed | Lycopus sp. Eastern twisted stalk | Streptopus lanceolatus Sensitive fern | Onoclea sensibilisLADY FERN Jack-in-the-pulpit |Arisaema triphylum Golden ragwort | Packera aurea Sedges | Carex sp. Soft rush | Juncus effusus Skunk cabbage | Symplocarpus foetidus SOFT RUSH ...t o 19 river valley
  20. 20. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tASPECTAspect refers to the direction in which aslope is oriented in relation to the solar Nposition. This determines vegetativeplant growth, the plant species, andmicroclimatic conditions throughoutthe day and year. This positioning alsohelps us understand the most usefuland valuable places to locate buildings.The main ridge of Little Mountainruns in a northeast to southwest W Edirection with smaller ridges projectingperpendicularly from the main ridge.These smaller ridges have primarilynorthern and southern aspects.Solar analyses, according to the slope Easpect, were developed for the property V Mon three different days (corresponding Eto winter and summer solstice, and 6p Ospring/fall equinox), and at three N Jun e 21 Rdifferent times of day. It is clear that I N 21the northern slopes of the smaller ridges N Se pt. I 21 /receive much less sunlight throughout G Ma rch Nthe year in comparison to the southern 1pslopes. 21 G ember DecJUNE 21 (summer solstice) 9 a.m. | 1 p.m. | 6 p.m. 9aMARCH/SEPT. 21 (spring/fall equinox) 9 a.m. | 1 p.m. | 6 p.m.DECEMBER 21 (winter solstice) 9 a.m. | 1 p.m. | 6 p.m S top... ridge From 20
  21. 21. WILDLIFE Highland County is home to a wide array of wildlife. Supporting over 500 species, the area includes an incredible variety of both game and non-game species. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Federal Government have listed 49 of these species worthy of special conservation efforts. A small percentage of those are listed on either the state or federal government endangered species list. A few examples of these rare species include the Virginia big eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus); the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) and the Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus). Interestingly, sightings of the squirrel and hare have actually been limited statewide to the far northwestern corner of Highland County. That said, these species represent only a small percentage of the total species found in Highland, most of which are abundant in number. Some of the species include: BIG GAME SPECIES Whitetail Deer | Odocoileus virginianus Wild Turkey | Meleagris gallopavo Black Bear | Ursus americanus SMALL GAME SPECIES Ruffed Grouse | Bonasa umbellus Waterfowl | Anatidae family Dove | Columbidae family Quail | Galliformes order Eastern Cottontail Rabbit | Sylvilagus floridanus Gray, Fox, and Ground Squirrel | Sciuridae family AQUATIC SPECIES Rainbow Trout | Oncorhynchus mykiss Brown Trout | Salmo trutta Smallmouth Bass | Micropterus dolomieu Rock Bass | Ambloplites rupestris RARE SPECIES Snowshoe Hare | Lepus americanus Golden Eagle | Aquila chrysaetos Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel | Glaucomys sabrinus Bald Eagle | Haliaeetus leucocephalus ...t o21 river valley
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. SITE DESIGN ELEMENTSThe richness of Little Mountain Ranch STEWARDSHIP: places where changesis representative of the distinct, multi- in the long-term management of thelayered vernacular of Highland County. site help enhance, restore, and sustainThe following design recommendations the natural heritage, biodiversity, andare intended to recognize and beauty of natural communities.celebrate this unique diversity. Wefeel that designing in an ecologically The common thread among theseconscientious manner that recognizes categories is the effort to design eachthe landscape as a cohesive whole is element with an eye towards theessential to the success of the ranch existing character of the site. Theas a multi-faceted family retreat. The sandstone ridge top, the oak- hickory-following recommended site elements maple forest complex, the naturalare chosen to reflect the family’s views, and the essential importance andenvisioned program while weaving in pristine quality of water throughoutthe preservation and enhancement of the site all offer the essential elementsthe site’s ecology. for design. The character of a place is conveyed through existence andIn generating the content for this abundance of these elements on sitesection, we recognize that the treatments and became the catalyst for furtherbeing proposed for each element fall design exploration and inspiration. Thisinto one of three categories: allowed us to connect the intervention, discovery, and stewardship elements toINTERVENTIONS: locations where we each other and to the property throughpropose designed elements to improve a material palette driven in large part bythe use, function, and aesthetics of a the site itself.place while highlighting its ecologicaluniqueness and value. Overall, the goal of this section is to help the family visualize potential outcomesDISCOVERIES: places that are in need of for creating a modern, ecologicallyminor improvement that also provide sound, place specific, and graciouslyan opportunity for exploration. appointed family retreat to be treasured and enjoyed for generations.INTERVENTION ENTRANCE MEADOW 24 MEADOW PRECEDENTS 28 HOME SITE 30 HOME SITE PRECEDENTS 32 CABIN & CAMP SITES 36 OLD HOMESTEADS 38DISCOVERY & CONTEMPLATION OVERLOOKS 40 SPRING CREEK CAVE 41STEWARDSHIP WILDLIFE PONDS & SPRINGS 42 CLEAR CUT EDGE & POWERLINE EASEMENT 43ATV TRAILS & AMENITIES 44SITE AMENITY PRECEDENTS 46 23
  24. 24. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONENTRANCE MEADOWThe journey through Little MountainRanch begins dramatically. A ENTRANCEpicturesque floodplain meadow Existing stone walls to remain and enhanced by a new gate and plantingsrepresents one of the most uniqueand biologically diverse areas on theentire property. This space is treatedwith a certain degree of reverence; ROAD ALIGNMENT More graceful curves follow the high points in the meadow, and orient theinterweaving human use and entrance towards the beautiful views of the site and down the valley.occupation with the dynamic nature ofthe site’s ecology.Approaching the meadow from Rt.220 you pass through the threshold FISHING REST STATIONof the existing stone entrance walls Assuming it would take about half a day to fish up-stream from the house sitesignaling the arrival to Little Mountain to the north edge of the entrance meadow, a place to get out of the river andRanch. Beyond this threshold you have lunch makes the experience much more enjoyable.enter the meadow where nativewarm season grasses and wildflowersfluctuate in concert with the changinglight, weather, and seasonal cycles, SPRING CHANNEL IMPOUNDMENTwhich transform the floodplain into The current channel could be impounded with a series of small weirs to create drop pools.a didactic, biologically rich gatewayto the property. A realigned entrancedrive gracefully weaves through themeadow while taking advantage ofthe high points of the floodplain andcapturing views both into the site andto the valley beyond. Enhancement ofthe existing stream in the floodplain RIPARIAN BUFFERS - THE STREAMS The degraded buffers could be improved and widened with flowering plants forhelps emphasize the ecological richness the summer and more structured species to improve the winter aspect.of the ranch while providing additionallayers of seasonal interest. The creationof small pools along the stream recallsthe natural history of beaver occupation STREAM CROSSINGin the valley while serving as a place for Culverts and small bridges will be needed to cross streams and impoundments.recreation and stormwater collection. They should reflect the entrance columns in the use of stone as the primaryWeir walls, built with local stone, act as material.small dams for the creation of the poolsand further extend into the landscape THE BARNbecoming sculptural elements that Additional trees create a screen so that the barn is more incorporated into thecelebrate the ranch’s natural materials. meadow and less visible upon entrance to the property.The selective placement of nativetrees and shrubs helps to frame views,stabilize the degraded stream and NATIVE GRASSESriver banks, and enhances the site’s The existing fescue pasture grass could be replaced, in whole or in part, withecological diversity and beauty. native warm season grasses to provde more color and texture to the meadow as well as improve the habitat. STRUCTURED PLANTING Shrubs and trees create a hide-and-reveal effect that focus views and create a rythm to the entrance experience. RIPARIAN BUFFERS - THE RIVER Native tree and shrub plantings along the river improve the trout habitat, repair the bank erosion, and frame the meadow. PICNIC SHELTER The existing Sycamore grove can be augmented with wildflowers or more trees to make an idyllic and private picnic setting that is screened from the road. BRIDGE ACROSS THE RIVER A bridge across the river ensures access year round and protects the river bottom from erosion. top... ridge From 24
  25. 25. 220 TEROU R RIVE SON JACK NORTH TO HOME SITE AND TRAILS ...t o 25 river valley
  26. 26. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONENTRANCE MEADOW ALTERNATIVE ENTRANCE ALLEE Following the graceful curves of the new road alignment, an allee of trees gives the entrance drive and sequence through the meadow a more formal and enclosed feel. RIPARIAN BUFFERS - THE STREAMS Vegetative buffers along the streams and Jackson River are densely planted with native plants that give the buffers texture, color, and seasonal interest while also improving wildlife habitats. MEADOW STRUCTURING The edges and composition of the meadow native plant palette can be structured so as to reveal views, buffer water bodies, and add seasonal color, interest, and texture. top... ridge From 26
  27. 27. 220 TEROU R RIVE SON JACK NORTH TO HOME SITE AND TRAILS ...t o 27 river valley
  28. 28. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONMEADOWN PRECEDENTSThe individual components of themeadow design offer a great deal ofopportunity for customizing the entryexperience. It is in these details thatan overall feel for the space is created.The details are a mixture of plantingsand materials that seek to augmentand improve the existing palette foundin the meadow. This page illustrates eexamples of design elements andmaterials. f w m sc sc f sc top... ridge From 28
  29. 29. ENTRANCE GATESe WEIR WALLSw MEADOWSmsc STREAM CROSSING FENCE TYPESf ...t o 29 river valley
  30. 30. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITELinking the meadow to the homesite is a bridge that spans the JacksonRiver. Departing the bridge, the entrydrive penetrates the forest evoking arealm of privacy and seclusion. Asyou approache the home, the driveenters an orchard that recalls thehistoric settlement patterns of earlyhomesteaders. Leaving the orchard, the SPRING IMPOUNDMENTdrive terminates at an entrance court Spring-fed impoundment captures stream water in the drainage during high water periodsdefined by a series of formal plantings while also providing a place for rest and reflection.of native species. These plantings beginto define the outdoor spaces aroundthe home and signal the transition ORCHARDfrom nature to human inhabitance. As part of the entry sequence, the orchard signals the arrival to the home site while recallingThis progression of spaces to the historical settlement patterns.front door is a conscious reductionof scale allowing the home to act asthe mediator between the floodplain ROAD ALIGNMENT Utilizing the existing road bed, the entry drive navigates the oak-hickory-maple forest andmeadow and the oak-hickory-maple orchard, which together connect the entrance meadow with the home site.forest of Little Mountain. HOME ORIENTATIONThe home is oriented along a ridge The home is sited along a ridge that squares it and the auxillary structures to the predomi-taking advantage of the flattest nant views of the valley and surrounding mountain rainges. Gardens, terraces, decks, andtopography, opening the home pavilions can all contribute to outdoor spaces that capture the grandeur of the valley views.to the most expansive views, andmaximizing its passive solar aspect.This orientation is further emphasizedby extending garden spaces alongthe ridge which provides an elevatedpromenade along this topographiccondition. Terrace retaining walls STRUCTURED PLANTINGform the edge between outdoor living Plantings of native trees and shrubs frame views of the valley, form outdoor rooms, andspace and meadow. The views here protect the home from chilling winter winds.are expansive from the floodplainmeadow to the Jackson River, and thesurrounding Allegheny Mountains. RIPARIAN BUFFER - RIVERThe design of the home site provides Native tree and shrub plantings along the river improve the trout habitat, repair the bankthe type of outdoor rooms that expand erosion, and frame the meadow.the living space of the home into thelandscape and provide, in concert withthe home, a retreat unlike any other. NATIVE GRASSES Native warm season grasses provide color and texture to the meadow and improve wildlife habitat. top... ridge From 30
  31. 31. OW ENTRANCETO MEAD JAC KS ON RIV ER NORTH ...t o 31 river valley
  32. 32. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITE PRECEDENTSAs with the meadow, individualcomponents and materials of thehome site design offer a great dealof opportunity for tailoring yourliving experience. There is a uniqueopportunity to tie these materials intothe larger landscape that helps identifythe home as your personal mountainretreat. This page illustrates examplesof these design elements and materials. si or pg pg m ev top... ridge From 32
  33. 33. si SPRING IMPOUNDMENTor ORCHARDpg PRIVATE GARDENSm MEADOWS EXISTING VIEWev ...t o 33 river valley
  34. 34. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONHOME SITE PRECEDENTS pv gp gp pt po gt top... ridge From 34
  35. 35. PAVINGpvgp GARDEN PATH PAVED TERRACEpt POOLpo GRASS TERRACEgt ...t o 35 river valley
  36. 36. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONCABIN OR CAMP SITES:The following sites have been selectedbased on a certain set of criteria: theyrequire minimal clearing to beginconstruction; they take advantage ofdistant views; they are located at theconvergence of several habitats; andthey are relatively accessible. Theseplaces may initially serve as camp sitesproviding the opportunity to experiencethem yearly and seasonally. Favoritesmay arise as each place becomes morefamiliar to the family. Once thesefavorite spots are identified, the familymay then move towards developingthe camp sites into cabins. This, too,could be a gradual process by buildingmore elaborate outdoor fireplaces orshelters before finally constructing theminto cabins. Through this process, ahierarchy of sites can be establishedproviding a range of experiences fromgracious private cabins to rustic outdoorexperiences. Whatever the case, theseelements, in keeping with the designlanguage generated thus far, shouldtake advantage of existing on-sitematerials and the ecological context. A FOREST CLEARING CABIN OR CAMPSITE FORESTED CABIN OR CAMPSITEMEADOW EDGE CABIN OR CAMPSITE top... ridge From 36
  37. 37. GRILL NOTCH 3’ - 6” PLAN VIEW STONE EDGE 1’ - 6” SECTION VIEW STEEL PIPE STONE BASEFIREPLACE EXAMPLE FIRE PIT DETIAL EXAMPLE PLAN VIEW SECTION VIEWCOUNCIL RING EXAMPLE LOG BENCH DETAIL EXAMPLECAMPFIRE OVERLOOK ON MOUNTAIN TOP FIRE RING EXAMPLE ...t o 37 river valley
  38. 38. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tINTERVENTIONOLD HOMESTEADS:The old homesteads are a particularlyintriguing piece of the property’shistory. The use of these elements aspicnic, camping, or cabin sites createsa unique location/destination on theranch. Unfortunately, one of the relicsfound itself in the way of the powerline and is therefore within the utilityeasement. However, with its proximityto Sinking Creek Cave it still providesan excellent place for a picnic/campingsite.Clearing away vines and weeds fromthe homesteads help to further identifythese spaces as a symbolic part of theproperty’s history. Proper care andmaintenance of the remnants is vitalto their longevity. It also may be ofinterest to seek out an archaeologistto analyze the homesteads and makerecommendations for their preservation.This will also provide a betterunderstanding of the property’s history. CHIMNEY RUIN AT MEADOW HOMESITE FOUNDATION STONES ON APPLE TREE AXISCHIMNEY RUIN IN POWERLINE CUT DETAIL OF CHIMNEY CONSTRUCTION top... ridge From 38
  39. 39. CHIMNEY AND ORCHARD REMNANTSCAMPFIRE SEATING EXAMPLE VIEW OF CHIMNEY RUIN AT OLD HOMESTEAD IN MEADOW CLEARING WITH FIRE PITFOREST AND MEADOW EDGE EXAMPLE EXAMPLE OF MEADOW GRASSES IN OPEN FOREST ...t o 39 river valley
  40. 40. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tDISCOVERY & CONTEMPLATIONVIEW OVERLOOKS:There are numerous places on theproperty that fall under this category,and with some selective clearingthe views from these points can bemagnificent. These opportunities existthroughout the property, but certainlocations merit extra attention. Ofparticular interest is the switchbacklocated near the top of the northernmostblack trail. A seat wall and picnic areacould be included in this location sothat the family can enjoy this view at aleisurely pace.It is important to note that selectiveclearing is a process that must beapproached with care. It is not onlyimportant to remove trees which blockviews, but, just as important, is to leavetrees which frame views. This principleapplies throughout the property and ZONE OF SELECTIVE CLEARINGshould be employed at the home siteand the entrance meadow, as framingand revealing views is essential in both.Any species selectively taken can beused as site furniture, site steps, or fortrail erosion control measures.SECTION SHOWING SELECTIVE CLEARING ZONE AND OVERLOOK OVERLOOK WALL AND PLATFORMVIEW FROM HIGHEST POINT ON PROPERTY (3,493’) top... ridge From 40
  41. 41. SINKING CREEK CAVE Sinking Creek Cave is arguably one of the most unique and exciting elements found on the property. This cave is a form of karst topography which is created when limestone is dissolved from constant interactions with underground water. The water carves channels and caves that are susceptible to collapse from the surface. When enough limestone is eroded from underground, a sinkhole develops, such as the entrance to this cave. This effect of water on limestone is clearly visible near the mouth of the cave. Descending the sinkhole the air becomes inherently moist and cool. This microclimate has lead to the growth of a unique collection of plant species such as: Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphylum, a unique spring wildflower; American hornbeam,DISAPPEARING SPRING JACK IN THE PULPIT | Carpinus caroliniana, that is identifiable ARISAEMA TRIPHYLUM by its smooth, twisted trunk; and a host of ferns, mosses, and lichens. Beyond this entrance we can only imagine the network of channels and caverns that exist and are ripe for exploration. The cave itself should be explored and mapped by a professional, but could potentially offer the family a recreational opportunity like spelunking. Overall this is a unique location and will offer, even on the hottest day, a fine place to cool down.CAVE ENTRACE ...t o 41 river valley
  42. 42. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tSTEWARDSHIPPOWERLINE CUT + CLEAR CUT EDGE: The American Chestnut FoundationFOREST AND MEADOW STEWARDSHIP helps to restore the American chestnut to its native woodlands.These disturbed areas of the propertyshould not necessarily be viewed with Below is a link to their website:disdain, as they offer many unique http://acf.org/lessons and opportunities that are notfound elsewhere on the property. Thepower lines, towers, and associated MEADOW STEWARDSHIPeasement are a permanent fixture on Burning and mowing your meadowthe property but offer some of the finest on a regular basis is a necessity forviews to the Jackson River Valley. It success. Burning and mowing arealso provides a rare opportunity for usually conducted in mid-spring.native warm season grasses to grow Burning removes the accumulatedrepresenting a meadow habitat. These plant litter from the previous year’srapidly vanishing landscapes offer growth and exposes the soil surface toexcellent habitat for ground nesting the warming rays of the sun. Burninggame birds such as the Bobwhite encourages earlier soil warming,Quail, (Colinus virginanus), and Ruffled and typically increases growth, BOBWHITE QUAIL | COLINUS VIRGINIANUS WARM SEASON GRASSES ANDGrouse, (Bonasa umbellus). Quail flowering, and seed production of the VALLEY VIEW FROM POWERLINEUnlimited, a conservation organization native flowers and grasses. A mid- EASEMENTdedicated to quail recovery, recognizes spring fire also sets back undesirablethe potential that utility easements offer “cool season” weeds. Timing of thefor meadow species. They have worked burning is critical, and mid-spring iswith the power companies to generate recommended over early spring.a program through which landownerscan create warm season meadows in In the event that burning youreasements on their properties. The meadow is not an option, mowing canfamily may want to consider taking be substituted. Mowing should alsoadvantage of this opportunity to be done in mid-spring and raking offincrease the diversity of habitat on the the mowed material to expose the soilproperty. This could supplement any surface is recommended. Do not mowmeadow restoration work performed in or burn after new plant growth hasthe floodplain of the property. reached one foot or taller, as this could damage some of your desirable plants.The second area of disturbance is the Burning can usually be instituted atclear cut which borders the northern the beginning of the third growingboundary of the property. Although the season.family has no control over this section,the visual impact of the clear cut is hard Rotational burning of one-half orto ignore. There is an opportunity here one-third of your meadow on annot only to see the devastating effects annual basis generally recommended.of clear cutting, but also to view and Once your prairie has become welllearn, over time, the restorative effects established, it will return year CLEAR CUT BORDERING PROPERTYof nature and the cyclical process of after year with just a minimum ofsuccession. maintenance.FOREST STEWARDSHIPProper forest management can providemany long-term benefits to the ranchby producing yields of timber for profitand attracting an abundance of wildlife.Specifically, sustainable forestryintegrates the regeneration, growing,nurturing, and harvesting of trees foruseful products while conserving soil,air, and water quality, wildlife andfish habitat, and landscape aestheticquality. Consulting with the VirginiaDepartment of Forestry, a local forester,or a forest ecologist would be essentialand beneficial in implementing this PRESCRIBED BURN CONTROLLED MEADOW BURNstewardship objective.The DOF offers financial assistanceto landowners willing to practicesustainable forestry management.Below is a link to their website:http://www.dof.virginia.gov/info/index-finance-assist.shtml NATIVE WILDFLOWER MEADOW FOLLOWING PRESCRIBED BURN top... ridge From 42
  43. 43. RIVERS, PONDS, AND SPRINGS: RIPARIAN BUFFER STEWARDSHIP The Jackson River, as mentioned in previous sections, is the main body of water on the ranch. We also identified three small ponds on the property; one of which is an Eastern vernal pool, a depression that is filled by rainwater, while the other two are spring-fed. The ponds are limited in size due to their topography and well drained soils, making enlarging them potentially difficult. However, slight enlargement coupled with select planting can make them a spectacular place to view wildlife and look for tracks. The springs at these locations could also serve asJACKSON RIVER watering stations along the ATV trails and for the campsites. RIPARIAN BUFFER STEWARDSHIP Improving the riparian buffers along the Jackson River and its floodplain streams help prevent erosion improve water quality. This will have a more specific impact on the improvement of the trout population in the Jackson River. Typically, planting a 100 foot wide strip of forest and/or native grasses can reduce sediment by 97 percent, nitrogen by 80 percent, and phosphorus by 77 percent. The state offers cost-share incentives to aide in the restoration and implementation of these buffers. Below is a link to their website: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/sw//crep.htm Other websites of interest: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/SPRING FED POND EASTERN VERNAL POOL karsthome1.htm http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/steward. htmRIPARIAN BUFFER ZONE ...t o 43 river valley
  44. 44. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tATV TRAILSThere are a myriad of logging roadsthat criss-cross the property makingideal ATV trails. Several trails havea well compacted sub-base and areclearly identifiable, while others aremore obscure and rough in nature.This variation allows for a wide rangeof experiences and skill as they leadthrough old meadows, up rockyslopes down bucolic hollows, pastsmall springs, wildlife ponds, and oldhomesteads.We suggest:- Trails should stay out of easilydamaged natural areas such asmeadows, wetlands and streams.- When necessary, stream crossingsshould be designed to prevent bank TRAIL EROSION AT STREAM CROSSING EASY TRAIL ON PROPERTYerosion and any adverse impact todownstream water quality.- Given the complex range of trails onthe property, both a trail map and on-site navigation aids are recommended.- There could be loop trails for dayrides, and destination trails which leadto camp sites, overlooks, and picnicspots.The American Motorcycle Association(AMA) rates trails into three categories:Easiest, More Difficult and MostDifficult. The following is AMA’sdefinition of these categories:EASIESTNo areas that are steeper than 15%grade, and no long stretches ofmoderate steepness greater than 8%.The surface is relatively smooth andcompact with minor obstacles only.Level ground for two to three feet oneither side of the ATV. STREAM ARMORING MORE DIFFICULT TRAIL ON PROPERTYMORE DIFFICULTSteeper, with long stretches up to 12%grade and no areas steeper than 30%.Some areas of relatively rough terrain,loose or muddy soil, and/or obstacles.Trail is narrower, may drop off ondownhill side or have more frequenttight curves.MOST DIFFICULTMaximum sustained slopes of 15%,with some areas at or past the limitsof ATV use. Surface is relativelyrough with areas that are very rough,including loose soil and large obstacles.Narrowest width of trail, with levelground only one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half feet on either side of the ATV.These are more suited to motorbikesthan ATVs.Most of the trails on the property fallinto the Easiest or More Difficult rangebecause they were designed for logging EROSION AND DRAINAGE CONTROL MOST DIFFICULT TRAIL ON PROPERTYtrucks. Additional trails could be EXAMPLESdesigned as More Difficult to work withthe existing trail network. top... ridge From 44
  45. 45. TRAIL AMENITIES Trail amenities help express the qualities and characteristics of the place where they occur. The materials and furnishings recommended for Little Mountain Ranch should evoke a rustic mountain retreat vernacular with the simplicity of modern design. It is important that future design decisions stay in keeping with the vision of the proposed master plan. We have provided examples of precedent images and custom ideas. Possible amenities include, but are not limited to: - Trail wayfinding; these signs can be simple arrows or more elaborate rock etchings, as suggested in the graphic, but ideally they would clearly identify the trails without disturbing the natural feel of them. - Drinking source; spring basins provide an accessible and clean source of water. Custom built hand pumps or simple stone enclosures help to capture the water for ease of drinking. - Shelters and pavilions; these may occur on distant sections of the trail and may be as simple as a lean-to rain shelter or more structured places to spend the night, and enjoy a fire. This could be especially nice for winter rides!TRAIL SHELTEREXAMPLE OF AN ETCHED ROCK TRIAL MARKER LOCATED SPRING-FED BASINALONG A CURRENT ATV TRAIL. ...t o 45 river valley
  46. 46. LITTLE MOUNTAIN RANCH, a H i g h l a n d R e t r e a tSITE AMENITY PRECEDENTSATV STREAM CROSSINGSWOODEN BENCHESCISTERN & PUMPFOOT BRIDGESFENCES top... ridge From 46
  47. 47. FIRE PITS OVERLOOKS TRAIL MARKERS SHELTERS / PAVILIONS STONE SEATING ...t o47 river valley
  48. 48. 48
  49. 49. SUMMARY The purpose of this study is to provide a master plan for the family of their Highland County property, establishing an overall design vision and planning recommendations for future use. The proposed recommendations are programmed to function for the enhancement, preservation, and introduction of rural recreation pursuits. Interweaving the programmatic elements with the dynamic patterns of the site’s ecological processes recognizes Little Mountain Ranch as a unique, meaningful, multi-functional family retreat. There are numerous projects that can be executed on Little Mountain Ranch. The phasing and subsequent implementation of these projects will depend on the family’s priorities. It is important that future participating parties work together and utilize the recommendations and design vocabulary outlined in this book. This, coupled with the continued stewardship of the site’s ecology, will help achieve the goals of the family’s envisioned program. Speaking for the entire team, we have seen few properties as unique and distinctly Virginian as Little Mountain Ranch. We are extremely pleased to provide you with this master plan and would be honored to have the opportunity to continue our involvement in realizing the vision for your ranch. DISCLAIMER: The images in this document were printed without the permission of their owners. This document is intended for the sole use of the client and the offices of McKee Carson and Field Sport Concepts, Ltd. It is to be used for internal design discussions only and therefore should not be reproduced for anyone other than the client, McKee Carson, or Field Sport Concepts, Ltd. McKeeCarson and Field Sport Concepts, Ltd 301 East High Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 p: 434 . 977 . 7522 f: 434 . 979 . 1194 w: www.mckeecarson.com49

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