There be dragons in that river!
Well, maybe not real dragons, but definitely the largest salamanders in North America. Whether you know the "cute" critters as hellbenders, snot otters, devil dogs, or mud dogs, the slow-moving, long-lived Eastern Hellbender is indigenous to the pristine, mountain waters of the Eastern US. Because they require such pristine water, they are listed as a state endangered species in North Carolina and are under review for federal listing as well. And that is where the partnership between The Pisgah Conservancy, the US Forest Service and the NC Wildlife Commission have joined together to help through the creation of the Hellbender Project, a fund set up through The Pisgah Conservancy to educate visitors and to help protect and preserve the Hellbender's habitat in the Pisgah National Forest.
To kick-off the Hellbender Project, Oskar Blues Brewery in Pisgah Forest has created a special release of Hellbender Helles for 2019. All proceeds from the sale of this special beer will go into the Hellbender Project. Learn more about the Hellbender Helles here. Likewise, the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association is going to produce a line of Hellbender apparel that will available at the Pisgah Visitor Center Gift Shop. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these products will go to the Hellbender Project.