Roan Mountain’s remarkable ecosystem has enchanted people for centuries, beginning with the first native inhabitants. Then came pioneering settlers, celebrated naturalists like John Muir, hardworking miners and loggers eager to make a living from the land and ambitious businessmen such as John T. Wilder, whose Cloudland Hotel helped make Roan a tourist destination in the late 1870s. Today, conservationists, researchers and nature lovers of all kinds flock here to experience flora and fauna unique to this region of the Appalachians. Preserving Roan’s ecological heritage has proven both a challenge and a triumph for the mountain’s dedicated supporters. In this newly revised and expanded edition, featuring previously unpublished color photography, former Roan Mountain park interpretive specialist Jennifer A. Bauer recounts the fascinating natural and social history of this marvelous highland landscape.
Though a native of Maryland, the upper East Tennessee mountains have long been Jennifer Bauer’s home. She is a three-time graduate of East Tennessee State University with degrees in biology, art, teaching and science education. Employed as a park manager at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton, she began her career in the role of park interpretive specialist at Roan Mountain State Park for twenty-one years prior to promotion. Of utmost importance in her professional and personal life is becoming a good environmental and cultural educator, coupled with a strong belief in the importance of conservation and preservation. In 2007, Jennifer wrote Wildlife, Wildflowers and Wild Activities: Exploring Southern Appalachia, a collection of creative ways friends and families can explore the outdoors. She has two beautiful daughters and two granddaughters who are the joy of her life. Hiking, nature study, clogging, weaving, natural dyeing, spinning, watercolor painting and music are but a few pastimes of interest to her.