18-mile-long Horsepasture River begins in Jackson County, flows through
Transylvania County, and empties into Lake Jocassee in South Carolina. The rugged river drops 1700 feet on a stretch
of approximately four miles from Drift Falls to Lake Jocassee.
Carrasan Power Company gained preliminary approval to construct a water turbine
powered electrical plant on the river. A
grass-roots campaign led to the organization of Friends of the
Horsepasture. Through their efforts the
project was stopped and in 1985 North Carolina designated four-and-one-half
miles of the Horsepasture River as a state Natural and Scenic River. In 1986 it received National Wild and Scenic
was the driving force in the creation of Friends of the Horsepasture and the
battle to save and preserve the river. Thomas
amassed a collection of hundreds of correspondence, documents, and newspaper
articles pertaining to the group’s work. In 2016 he donated this material to the North
Carolina Room at the Transylvania County Library as documentation of the
importance of preserving areas like the Horsepasture River. Also included in the Horsepasture River Preservation
collection is the Carrasan Power Company’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
application and related documents.
|Rainbow Falls in the third of the five major falls
on the Horsepature River.
In his 1998
booklet, The North Carolina Sierra Club’s Guide to the Jocassee Gorges: The
Horsepasture-Bearwallow-Toxaway Region Thomas stated, “It is our hope that this
national-park-caliber area will be preserved and managed for the protection of
its wildness, its rare plants and animals, its scenic beauty, and for the
enjoyment and inspiration of future generations.”
Falls, Turtleback Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Stairway Falls are all located in
the Pisgah National Forest. At Stairway
Falls the property transfers to Toxaway Game Land, owned and managed by the NC
Wildlife Resources Commission. Windy
Falls is the only major Horsepasture River fall within the Toxaway Game Lands
although there are numerous others including Bear Rock Falls, Rooster Tail
Falls, Sidepocket Falls, and Standing Up Falls.
While the Horsepasture River is outside of Gorges State Park, access to
many of the waterfalls is through its trail system.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs.
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.