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Thunder Hill Overlook, Watauga County

CTNC Acquires 229-acre Thunder Hill Overlook Property

Conserved land will impact clean drinking water for nearly 1 million North Carolinians downstream of the Yadkin River headwaters

Thunder Hill Overlook, a 229-acre tract of land on the outskirts of Blowing Rock, N.C., will be permanently free from subdivision, development and logging after being acquired by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC). CTNC plans to donate the Watauga County property to the National Park Service (NPS) for incorporation in the Blue Ridge Parkway park boundary.

The Thunder Hill Overlook property is highly visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 290 and 291, and can be viewed from both the Thunder Hill and Yadkin Valley overlooks. This is a significant acquisition for the region with numerous unnamed streams and Martin Branch, one of the primary streams forming the headwaters of the Yadkin River.

“As the surrounding towns of Boone and Blowing Rock continue to grow, conserving parcels of this significance is increasingly important. The land not only supports significant wildlife habitat, but also holds the headwaters of the Yadkin River, a water system that supplies provides drinking water to almost one million North Carolinans across 21 counties and 93 municipalities,” said CTNC Executive Director Chris Canfield.

CTNC’s purchase of the property was made possible by a generous price reduction offered by the sellers, Howard B. Arbuckle lll, Corinne Harper Arbuckle Allen, Anne McPherson Harper Bernhardt, Lee Corinne Harper Vason, Mary Gwyn Harper Addison, and Albert F. Shelander, Jr., heir of Betty Banks Harper Shelander, and significant contributions from a number of private donors including Fred & Alice Stanback and other local conservation enthusiasts.

Finley Gwyn Harper, Sr., was born in 1880 near Patterson, Caldwell County, in the scenic Happy Valley area of North Carolina. He grew up in his birthplace with his 5 siblings, and, except for time spent earning his college degree in Raleigh (now N.C. State University), he lived his entire life within 25 miles of Patterson. His grandfather had given land for the founding of Lenoir and many descendants were active in the business, civic, and social activities of northwestern North Carolina. In 1905 when he was 25 years old, Gwyn Harper, Sr., acquired the first of several tracts which form the Harper lands in Blackberry Valley. Two years later, he married Corinne Henkel who also grew up in Happy Valley and Lenoir. Through the years he continued to purchase additional adjoining parcels, some of which were original land grants from the state. The last deeds for his assemblage are dated in the late 1940’s shortly before his death in 1951. Gwyn Harper, Sr., and his wife, Corinne, loved the rolling hills, rivers, ridges, valleys and views of the Blowing Rock area. Their story reflects the sentiments of the extended family who also have treasured these pristine mountain lands and waters. The direct descendants of F. Gwyn Harper, Sr., have continued to hold his acreage for 68 years since his death.

“We, the current owners, are pleased and humbly grateful to convey the Harper lands to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina for protection by the National Park Service as a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway while also providing permanent protection to wildlife and water quality in this beautiful region of western North Carolina,” the sellers shared in a joint statement. “We express our sincere, heartfelt thanks to the Piedmont Land Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy, and, in particular, Conservation Trust for North Carolina for working cooperatively, collaboratively, and professionally to make preserving this unique property a reality.”

Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 69 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 34,591 acres. Blue Ridge Conservancy also conserves land in Watauga County. For more information on Blue Ridge Parkway land protection efforts visit protecttheblueridgeparkway.org.

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Conservation Trust for North Carolina works to inspire and enable people to build resilient, just communities throughout our state. We work to conserve land that enhances climate resilience, provides a community benefit, and seeds equity and inclusion in conservation. More information about CTNC is available at www.ctnc.org or @ct4nc on Facebook and Twitter.

For media inquiries related to this project please contact Communications Director Mary Alice Holley.

Saddle Mountain Meadow, Alleghany County.

Saddle Mountain Acquisition Expands State Game Lands

CTNC Purchases 24 acres Adjoining Mitchell River Game Lands

Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently purchased a 24-acre tract adjoining North Carolina’s Mitchell River Game Lands and the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 222. North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (WRC) will accept this property for incorporation into the Saddle Mountain area of Mitchell River Game Lands. This conservation partnership adds to North Carolina’s public lands that support hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.

The Saddle Mountain State Natural Area boasts significant natural heritage in Alleghany County. This property includes approximately 14 acres of mixed-hardwood forest and approximately 10 acres of early-successional habitat for species dependent on non-forested, natural land.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy views of this property from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway continues to be one of the most visited national park units in the country, contributing to the $28 billion annual economic impact brought by the growing popularity of outdoor recreation in North Carolina.

“Expanding North Carolina’s state natural lands creates more places for all North Carolinians to connect with our state’s natural and cultural heritage.” said Chris Canfield, CTNC executive director. “And it is all thanks to the long-term commitment to land conservation by CTNC along with our partners at Piedmont Land Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the Wildlife Resources Commission.”

“CTNC purchased 251 acres on Saddle Mountain and conveyed it to the state in 2005. Since then, CTNC and Piedmont Land Conservancy have protected well over 100 more acres on Saddle Mountain.” said Rusty Painter, CTNC land protection director. “We’re grateful to the landowner, Barney Folger of Marietta, Georgia, who sold this property to CTNC for expansion of the state game land boundary.

The acquisition of Saddle Mountain Meadow was made possible with generous funding by Fred & Alice Stanback, The National Wild Turkey Federation, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, and a local conservation enthusiast.

Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 68 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 34,362 acres. Blue Ridge Conservancy also conserves land in Allegheny County and throughout the High Country. For more information on Blue Ridge Parkway land protection efforts visit protecttheblueridgeparkway.org.

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Conservation Trust for North Carolina works to inspire and enable people to build resilient, just communities throughout our state. We work to conserve land that enhances climate resilience, provides a community benefit, and seeds equity and inclusion in conservation. More information about CTNC is available at www.ctnc.org or @ct4nc on Facebook and Twitter.

For media inquiries related to this project please contact Communications Director Mary Alice Holley.

Conservation Led by Climate Solutions

Average temperatures are rising. Extreme weather events have become the new normal. Our state has incurred billions of dollars in damages from natural disasters including hurricanes and mudslides. We’re calling for more rational and human approaches to rebuilding communities in a way that readies its people for future disasters.

The land calls us to conserve forests, wetlands, river floodplains and agricultural lands as vital to lessening the impacts on human and natural communities. We will incorporate the long-term implications of climate change throughout our work and help build a more sustainable environment and economy for our state.

Our Commitment: CTNC will partner with communities who can help identify ways their land can better support people and protect them from extreme weather events in the future.

North Carolina needs a sound resilience planning and implementation strategy where solutions benefit those who have been most impacted by climate catastrophes – communities of color and those with limited economic resources. By convening leaders from conservation to community development and affordable housing, to local governments we can conserve land in ways that are safer, healthier and more just for communities and people impacted by climate change.

Conserving land with the best chance to adapt to a changing climate can restore natural protections for communities.

We have a history of conserving places like Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway, informed by sound science and our commitment to furthering climate resilience. Waterrock Knob is the 16th highest 🏔 peak in the eastern US. which will offer a solution for wildlife to migrate as temperatures slowly rise while offering an outdoor recreation destination that attracts millions of hikers and nature enthusiasts to the region.

Our work continues. By the end of this year, we will acquire another 240 acres of forested land at the headwaters of the Yadkin River that hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents rely on as a source of clean drinking water.

Investing in the power of people

We acknowledge our environment is shifting and we’re facing new challenges. But conserving natural lands can offer new solutions. Won’t you join us in this effort to build resilient communities across the state and address the urgent issue of climate change in North Carolina?

This new journey begins with you.

Save the Green In-Between

The parks, greenways, trails, and overlooks that you love in North Carolina are not there by accident. They are the result of careful, consistent and dedicated conservation efforts happening every day throughout North Carolina. These places are protected in large part because of partnerships between land trusts, government agencies, and lawmakers who appropriate money to fund land and water conservation through the State’s Conservation Trust Funds.

A total of $1.24 billion has been given towards worthy land, water, farmland, and park projects through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. 😲

If conservation organizations are able to continue our work to preserve the diverse beauty of North Carolina communities – from the rolling mountains of the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to the sandy dunes of the Atlantic coast – we need you to join us. Take a stand as an advocate for land and water conservation and help conserve the places you’ll love for life. 🤗

Many land trust-protected properties on our map have been protected thanks to funding awarded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. While you’re out discovering the beauty of No. 21 Waterrock Knob; No. 23, The Orchard at Altapass; or No. 105, Springer’s Point Preserve, remember that public funds made it possible for these places to stay wild and green.

Money from the trust funds don’t simply go toward acquiring conserved lands, but it also goes to the continued upkeep and maintenance required. 🔨 Without adequate and consistent funding, park staff will not be able to maintain the infrastructure of already existing parks and recreation areas.

We need your help to continue conserving properties like these.

Join this growing movement. We need you to remind your elected officials that land and water conservation is a priority. 🗣

North Carolina voters believe land and water conservation are important assets. 77% of registered voters say that protecting the forests is important and 78% say that protecting fishing and wildlife is important. If you agree, now is the time to add your voice to an important cause. Help us cut through the noise surrounding our local lawmakers with a single, resounding cry: Conserve North Carolina Lands.

So many things that we can accomplish in our lifetime are fading – but the land can be forever. If, as North Carolina residents, we want to continue to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us every day, we need to unite and advocate for that beauty. Speak up for the conservation issues close to your heart. 

If we’re not already connected through email, join our action alert network and be notified when we need you to join with us in our mission to protect North Carolina’s diverse beauty and stand with us.

Upper Neuse Initiative Boasts Impressive Accomplishments

In 2006, the UNCWI partners, subject-matter experts, and local stakeholders developed a sophisticated conservation plan that identifies the most important tracts of land to conserve to protect water quality. Since then (as of January 2019), the land trusts and other partners have protected 115 properties that include 113 miles of stream banks on 10,491 acres. Another 10 projects with 7 miles of stream banks on 555 acres are in the works.

In 2014, the program was expanded to include the Swift Creek watershed, another local drinking water source. Also, the partners and stakeholders began working on an updated conservation plan to include current land cover data and to refine and refocus land protection priorities. The Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative 2015-2045 Conservation Strategy identifies 260,000 priority acres and sets a goal of protecting 30,000 acres over the next 30 years.

In addition, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided UNCWI with a generous three-year grant in 2010 as part of the Endowment’s Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative. The grant enabled the partner land trusts to work with forest landowners to place conservation easements on their properties and/or implement forest stewardship plans.

Learn about the projects already completed through the program.

Latest Project to Conserve Headwaters of Honeycutt Creek and the Blue Ridge Parkway

Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) recently acquired a 12-acre tract adjoining the Blue Ridge Parkway on Bear Den Mountain Road. The property, known as Honeycutt Creek Cascades, augments recent protection of 208 acres purchased by Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina below Bear Den Overlook. The properties will be donated to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Blue Ridge Parkway.

CTNC’s Honeycutt Creek Headwaters property contains a scenic cascade in the headwaters of Honeycutt Creek in McDowell County. Permanent protection of this property protects the site of a scenic cascade and water quality further downstream in Honeycutt Creek and the North Fork Catawba River. CTNC has now protected twelve properties totaling more than 3,700 acres in the area around Altapass and North Cove between Linville and Little Switzerland along the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 319 to 330). In addition to the 208 acres below Bear Den Overlook, Foothills Conservancy has protected 127 acres in the area between Bear Den and Linville Falls.

“This beautiful property was on the market and could have easily been developed,” said CTNC Executive Director Chris Canfield. “We are grateful to Fred and Alice Stanback for providing the funds that enabled us to move quickly to protect the property.”

Conservation of the Honeycutt Creek Cascades property helps protect scenic views from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Bear Den Mountain Road near the popular Bear Den Campground. The property is visible from the Parkway near milepost 325.

Canfield added, “We’re also grateful to the Dispiter family for their commitment to land conservation and to Jann Godwin at Timberline Properties who helped broker the deal between CTNC and the landowner.”

“Our family has wonderful memories of camping on this property and enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway and nearby attractions,” said Monica Pattison, a member of the Dispiter family.  “We are grateful to the Conservation Trust and Foothills Conservancy for helping us leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

CTNC works with voluntary landowners along the Blue Ridge Parkway to protect streams, forests, farms, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, parks, and trails. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 65 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 34,361 acres. For more information on Blue Ridge Parkway land protection efforts visit:  www.ctnc.org/blue-ridge-parkway/ and  protecttheblueridgeparkway.org/.

CTNC Awarded $100,000 by Environmental Enhancement Grants Program

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Environmental Enhancement Grant Program to apply toward the remaining balance of the 1,076-acre Wildacres Retreat conservation project.

By protecting this expansive landscape from future development, the Wildacres conservation easements will offer permanent protection of extensive aquatic and forest habitats that boast a rich diversity of native plants and animals. Additionally, the conservation easements managed by CTNC, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, will safeguard clean drinking water for downstream residents, enhance wildlife habitat, preserve scenic vistas along the Blue Ridge Parkway, provide environmental education opportunities for retreat visitors, and ensure public access to six miles of hiking trails.

CTNC and Foothills Conservancy completed the project at Wildacres in December 2017 with funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Cannon Foundation, Open Space Institute, and generous donations from Wildacres and the Blumenthal family. A low-interest loan from the Will Henry Stevens Revolving Loan Fund covered the remaining balance allowing CTNC to leverage existing funding and complete the transaction by the end of the year. The funds awarded by the Environmental Enhancement Grants Program will help replenish the fund that allows us to continue offering assistance to land trusts working to acquire future lands.

The Wildacres property lies on the Blue Ridge Escarpment in McDowell County in the upper reaches of the Catawba River basin. The property offers a unique array of natural habitats as it sprawls from the top of the escarpment at the Blue Ridge Parkway to the valley below Armstrong Creek at Highway 226 A.

This natural and scenic landscape will have a lasting impact on our environment and will be enjoyed by future generations as visitors to the retreat center, the Blue Ridge Parkway and millions of others who will enjoy the benefits of clean and safe drinking water, healthy fisheries and spiritually nourishing recreation opportunities.

Conserving the Wildacres Retreat was possible because of our strong relationships with the local land trust, a committed conservation-minded landowner, grants from our generous partners, and donations from supporters of our Blue Ridge Parkway land protection work. We have all worked together on this opportunity over a long period of time. For more information on the Wildacres Retreat conservation project, read our blog post celebrating the project completion.

Newly Acquired Property to Conserve Headwaters of Little Tennessee River Basin

Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently acquired 21 acres in Jackson County’s Hi-Mountain subdivision. The property, known as Woodfin Creek Headwaters, abuts a 25-acre property owned by CTNC at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 447. CTNC will donate both properties to the National Park Service to expand the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Read what local media had to say about Woodfin Creek:

The property conserves a portion of land at the headwaters of Woodfin Creek, upstream of Woodfin Falls in the Little Tennessee River basin. It will contribute to the complex of land assembled around Waterrock Knob establishing a 5,000-acre recreation area near the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Conserving land along the Blue Ridge Parkway enhances the landscape’s resilience to our changing climate by providing protected places where human and natural communities can move and adapt. With an elevation range from 4,840 to 5,060 feet, the newly-protected Woodfin Creek Headwaters has the potential to support significant numbers of rare plant and animal species.

“With the addition of the Woodfin Creek Headwaters property, we’re pleased to expand the boundary of protected lands along the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Rusty Painter, CTNC Land Protection Director. “This property lies within a state-designated Natural Heritage Area, contains pockets of spruce-fir forest that will preserve the ecological diversity of the region, and is in close proximity to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.”

The property is visible from the Mt. Lyn Lowry Overlook at Parkway milepost 445. It was generously donated to CTNC by John J. Scelfo. A native New Yorker and now Florida resident, Scelfo was introduced to the beauty of North Carolina by his business partner, George Escaravage, with whom he owns a 182-acre development in Asheville.

“The land seemed so appropriate for conservation purposes that the initial intention of developing or selling to a developer quickly changed,” said Scelfo. “We are proud to help protect the beauty and natural heritage of the region by donating this property to CTNC and the Blue Ridge Parkway.”

CTNC works with voluntary landowners along the Blue Ridge Parkway to protect streams, forests, farms, scenic vistas, wildlife habitat, parks, and trails. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 66 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 34,472 acres. For more information on Blue Ridge Parkway land protection efforts, visit protecttheblueridgeparkway.org.

Other land trusts that conserve land in Jackson County include: Mainspring Conservation Trust, based in Franklin; Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, based in Asheville; Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, based in Highlands; and Conserving Carolina, based in Hendersonville.

1,000-Acre Conservation Project Promises Clean Water and Pristine Parkway Views

Wildacres Retreat, a 1,076-acre property adjacent to Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway, is now permanently protected thanks to a collaborative partnership among Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC), and Wildacres Retreat.

Wildacres Retreat, located in northern McDowell County near Little Switzerland, is a nonprofit conference center governed by a board of directors. The center offers its facilities and surrounding woodlands to nonprofit groups for educational and cultural programming, and for board and staff retreats.

The property is protected under two conservation easements. A state-held Clean Water Management Trust Fund easement will protect stream buffers and critical natural heritage areas, while a second easement held by Conservation Trust for North Carolina will preserve a key portion of forested lands connected to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. Together, the easements will safeguard wildlife habitat and protect water quality in five miles of streams of the Armstrong Creek watershed in the headwaters of the Catawba River.  Foothills Conservancy will monitor and steward these conservation easements on a contractual basis.

“Protection of these lands fills in a very important piece of the puzzle to permanently conserve extensive forests and habitats in the very high-quality Armstrong Creek watershed of the Catawba,” said Tom Kenney, Land Protection Director for Foothills Conservancy. “Wildacres adjoins a Wildlife Resources Commission fish hatchery and more than 10,000 acres of federal Pisgah National Forest Service lands. All this conservation helps ensure Lake James has a very clean water supply protection source.”

There are nearly six miles of hiking trails on the property for public use, including one trail into the property from Deer Lick Gap Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The project was primarily funded by a $1 million grant from North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund awarded to Foothills Conservancy and a $26,000 donation from Philip Blumenthal, director of Wildacres Retreat. In addition, CTNC secured a Duke Water Resources grant, $50,000 grant from the Cannon Foundation, a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office Environmental Enhancement Grant Program, and $177,240 from the Open Space Institute’s Resilient Landscapes Initiative, which is made possible with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The Resilient Landscapes Initiative seeks to build the capacity of land trusts working to respond to climate change. A grant of $34,779 from the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund, administered by the NC Community Foundation enabled CTNC to pay off a loan secured to purchase the easements.

Clean Water Management Trust Fund Executive Director Walter Clark described the organization’s reasons for contributing to the project to conserve what he calls an “incredible piece of property.”

“The Clean Water Management Trust Fund supported the Wildacres project for multiple reasons, including its protection of five miles of high-quality trout waters, which contain headwater streams in the Catawba River Basin,” said Clark. “The project also protects multiple forest communities important to North Carolina’s natural heritage.” Since its establishment in 1996, Clean Water Management Trust Fund has protected over 500,000 acres, including 2,500 miles of streams.

“The Wildacres Retreat property has been among CTNC and Foothills Conservancy’s highest priority projects for years,” said Rusty Painter, CTNC Land Protection Director. “Conserving its ecologically diverse habitat between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest achieves the type of landscape-scale conservation that’s one goal of our Blue Ridge Parkway conservation plan. Successes like this would not be possible without the commitment of champions like Philip Blumenthal and the Wildacres Retreat Board of Directors.”

Blumenthal added, “It’s been a long-term goal of the Blumenthal family to ensure the ecological integrity of this unique property for the benefit of Wildacres Retreat visitors and all who enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’re fortunate to have land trusts like CTNC and Foothills Conservancy who work tirelessly to save places we all love in North Carolina. They ensure our state’s most valuable assets will be protected forever.”

“Permanent conservation of the Wildacres property marks a major milestone for the protection of habitat in North Carolina,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s Executive Vice President of Conservation Capital & Research Programs. “As the climate changes, this highly resilient property will provide a long-term haven for sensitive plants and animals. The Open Space Institute is proud to have supported this project and we applaud Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina for their collaboration and tireless work to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Federally-protected land in this region is fragmented and thousands of acres are still vulnerable to development. Western North Carolina land trusts frequently partner to preserve National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway lands for the benefit of all North Carolinians.

For more information, contact:

Tom Kenney, Land Protection Director, Ph: 828-437-9930, [email protected]

Mary Alice Holley, CTNC Communications Director, Ph: 919-864-0428, [email protected]

See what others are saying!

Revitalizing Redlair: Haywood Rankin’s lifework

North Carolina is fortunate to have a strong network of 22 local land trusts, community-based nonprofits that have compiled an impressive record of land protection; NC land trusts have conserved nearly 429,000 acres in 2,750 locations across our state. CTNC promotes, assists, and represents our local land trust partners so they can preserve more conservation lands in the communities and build greater awareness and support for conservation.

On a sunny day in June, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Catawba Lands Conservancy took a visit to Redlair Preserve located in Gaston County, NC. The preserve is maintained by Haywood Rankin and his wife Sabine, and has belonged to his family for generations.

Haywood’s grandfather first purchased land to grow cotton – a fraction of the expansive property now known as Redlair Preserve. In addition to the family’s old barn, Redlair consists of hundreds of acres of barely-touched forest.

Rankin knows this forest better than any map can tell you, leading visitors through the trees and topography without any hesitation.

While hiking with Haywood and his two dogs, he discusses the Preserve and its significance as a prized and truly natural space and how its’ proximity to Charlotte makes it truly unique.

The Rankin property sits on the South Fork of the Catawba River with Spencer Mountain to the West. It has become a hotspot for plant conservationists to study, as its location creates the perfect environment for two federally-endangered plants to thrive: the Bigleaf Magnolia and the Schweinitz Sunflower. The leaves of even the smallest of the Magnolias live up to their name, measuring about two-thirds of an arm’s length.

But Redlair was not always a spacious untouched nature preserve. When Haywood’s grandfather purchased what was only a small piece of Redlair, there were several other family farms built across the property. Haywood pointed out several locations in the forest where the farming practices of clear-cutting and plowing still remain and how to spot the new growth forest through the species of trees.

Every once in a while you’ll spot a small sign marker with two or three numbers indicating the directions of different trail combinations. As we walked, Haywood cleared the path ahead of us stopping occasionally to move big sticks or logs and even pull up a few invasive plants. Haywood is in a constant ongoing war with several species throughout his property, from Chinese privet to Japanese Stiltgrass.

It is hard to believe that such a space exists so close to urban sprawl. Though Redlair isn’t open to the public, Haywood will occasionally offer guided hikes as well as a tour of the magnolias during their blooming season.

Redlair Preserve is now owned by the State of North Carolina and is one of just 18 state plant conservation preserves in our state, which provides the highest level of protection for a property. Catawba Lands Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property.

To find out more about this collaboration with Catawba Lands Conservancy and Haywood’s efforts to preserve this expansive property, watch our latest video!

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