Two properties conserved along Blue Ridge Parkway
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) purchased a 123-acre property that adjoins the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 446 and 450 in Jackson County.
The land, made up of three smaller tracts, contains a significant section of Woodfin Creek upstream of the Woodfin Cascades. It also borders the Mountains-to-Sea Trail which hikers can access directly off the Parkway near Woodfin Cascades Overlook. It adjoins a 31-acre property on Bear Creek which CTNC conserved in May 2013.
The property rises to 6,000-feet elevation, hosts a healthy population of native spruce, and lies completely within the Mount Lyn Lowry/Campbell Creek Significant Natural Heritage Area as designated by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The property is part of a growing area of contiguous, protected land that is intended to become the Waterrock Knob/Plott-Balsams Park along the Parkway.
CTNC also purchased a 54-acre property at milepost 440 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville in Haywood County. This property is visible to Parkway visitors at both the Waynesville Overlook and the Village of Saunook Overlook, and while driving nearby stretches of the Parkway between mileposts 440 and 441.
This property contains a small portion of the Pinnacle Ridge Natural Heritage Area and book-ends a string of five CTNC-protected properties including the Waynesville Watershed conservation easement, co-held with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
The Conservation Trust purchased these properties below appraised value. The bargain sale enabled the landowners to claim the state’s income tax credit for conservation donations before the credit expired on Jan. 1 due to state legislative action. Generous funding for the purchases was provided to CTNC by Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury. CTNC plans to convey the properties to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Parkway’s official boundary within three years.
“These two beautiful properties will be excellent additions to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ensuring that water quality, healthy forests, and stunning views are preserved along the Parkway is critical to the park’s long-term health and vitality,” said Mark Woods, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 52 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 31,361 acres.
“The owners of these properties wanted to conserve their land and were able to do so in part because of the state tax income credit for conservation donations, which was recently repealed. We hope that in the future the NC General Assembly will reconsider its decision to terminate this successful program, which has helped conserve over 240,000 acres of natural lands,” said CTNC Executive Director Reid Wilson.
Other land trusts that conserve land in Jackson and Haywood counties include: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (www.appalachian.org), based in Asheville; Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (www.ltlt.org), based in Franklin; Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust (www.hicashlt.org), based in Highlands; and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (www.carolinamountain.org), based in Hendersonville.