Appalachian State Professor Timothy Silver Keynotes High Peaks Annual Meeting Oct. 9

Award-winning author Prof. Timothy Silver of Appalachian State University will highlight the annual meeting of the NC High Peaks Trail Association on Saturday, Oct. 9 at the Burnsville Town Center.

Silver’s book, “Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America,” is widely admired as one of the most comprehensive and entertaining volumes written about Yancey County’s famous mountain range.

“Silver portrays the majestic environmental history of Mount Mitchell as set within the deep history of the Appalachian Mountains and the varied, often unanticipated ways that nature and humanity have jointly shaped the region,” wrote UC-Berkeley Prof. Carolyn Merchant, author of “The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution,” at the book’s publication.

Silver’s talk will be entitled: “From Mt. Mitchell to the Civil War: Nature and Human Nature in Writing History.” The lecture will include material from his latest book, “An Environmental History of the Civil War,” but will focus heavily on the Black Mountains. The author will take questions and hopes his roughly 30-minute talk will be followed by a dialogue with the audience.

Silver’s talk is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the Burnsville Town Center. It will highlight the High Peaks annual meeting, which will begin after Silver’s presentation concludes. Members and the general public are invited, although because of the county’s high rates of Covid infections, all attendees will be required to wear masks.

You may also follow the meeting and Dr. Silver’s lecture live over the Internet via the on-line meeting service, Zoom. For a digital invitation, please send your email address and request to:

Following Silver’s talk, Mt. Mitchell State Park Superintendent Rob McGraw will give an update on activities over the past and upcoming years at the Park. High Peaks is the official “Friends of Mt. Mitchell State Park” organization.

The annual meeting will follow, with officers going over the budget, the past year’s accomplishments and plans for the upcoming year.

Silver’s book ranges back millions of years to describe the geologic history of the Blacks, then moves into the history of human interaction with the eco-system. He intersperses journal entries from his own backpacking adventures on the mountain range with lively accounts of Native Americans, early settlers, miners and the loggers who built railroads up the steep slopes to harvest the magnificent forests that graced the mountainsides.

The book is available locally or on-line. A review by High Peaks member Rebecca Blanco can be found on the club’s website,

The book was awarded the 2003 Ragan Old North State Award given by the N.C. Literary and Historical Association for the Best Nonfiction Book by a North Carolina author. It also won the Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment, given by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

High Peaks, founded in 2010, is a Yancey-based non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the Black Mountains and the promotion of hiking and other outdoor recreation on the mountain range. The group is responsible for maintaining most local hiking trails and its volunteers donate thousands of hours of hard work each year on this task.

Photo info:

Photo of Dr. Timothy Silver, Prof. of History, Appalachian State University.

Silver, award-winning author of the book, "Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America,' will talk about Yancey's noted mountain range at the Oct. 9 Annual Meeting of the NC High Peaks Trail Association. The photo shows the Blacks in profile as seen from Roan Mountain.