During its September 16th meeting in Raleigh, the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) approved funding for 23 land conservation projects that will safeguard water quality, provide recreational opportunities, and preserve important cultural sites and wildlife habitat. This includes approval of CTNC’s full request of $180,444 to place a lasting conservation easement on the Orchard at Altapass, a Blue Ridge Parkway treasure.
“The Clean Water Management Trust Fund took decisive action to conserve high priority natural lands that will protect drinking water supplies and clean air, preserve critical wildlife habitat, and expand recreational and cultural opportunities for North Carolina families,” said Executive Director Reid Wilson. “The trust fund’s approval for the Orchard at Altapass project means that we have secured all the funding we need to get the deal done.”
CTNC will now work with the landowners to protect the historic property from development. The land, at Parkway Milepost 328, lies within more than 2,500 acres that the Conservation Trust has already protected. It connects to other portions of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and protection of the tract will expand public access to this challenging hike. The property is also a critical piece in CTNC’s efforts to protect clean mountain streams and a wide swath of healthy forests for wildlife.
In addition, the Orchard at Altapass is a state and national treasure. The orchard is open from early May through October, during which time it hosts approximately 50,000 visitors who can enjoy 150 musical performances, experience history and local culture through hayrides and masterful storytelling, purchase fresh apples and other traditional mountain products, and participate in environmental education activities. The Orchard at Altapass brings to life the history and culture of Appalachia.
CTNC is thrilled that the Clean Water Management Trust Fund is helping us conserve this authentic Blue Ridge destination.