The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) recently purchased a 47-acre property on Jackson Knob in Mitchell County. The tract borders the Blue Ridge Parkway and other properties protected by CTNC at the Heffner Gap Overlook located at Parkway milepost 326. The Conservation Trust has now protected 53 properties along the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 31,408 acres.

The Conservation Trust purchased the tract from CSX Transportation, Inc. on May 12th with generous funding from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury.  CTNC will transfer the property to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Blue Ridge Parkway’s official boundary, expanding public access to conserved lands.

“Conservation of the Jackson Knob tract protects scenic views from several overlooks in a popular stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Mark Woods, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent.  “Preserving such high-quality properties is essential to the Parkway’s long-term integrity.”

Permanent protection of Jackson Knob will preserve scenic views from the Orchard at Altapass, the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and three Parkway overlooks (The Loops, North Cove and Heffner Gap). The Jackson Knob tract is adjacent to CTNC’s Heffner Gap/Overmountain Victory Trail property and the 1,488-acre conservation easement negotiated by CTNC on property owned by CSX Transportation, Inc.

“CSX is thrilled to have worked with CTNC to conserve more than 1,500 acres of forests, streams, and beautiful views of the Blue Ridge mountains,” said John W. Dillard, Resident Vice President – State Government Affairs at CSX Transportation, Inc.

Protection of Jackson Knob continues CTNC’s broader efforts, in close cooperation with local land trusts and government agencies, to protect the highest priority scenic views, streams, forests, and recreation areas along the Parkway. CTNC’s efforts are guided by a sophisticated GIS-based conservation plan and mapping tool to ensure that limited resources are focused on the most critical lands to conserve.

Highlights of CTNC’s Blue Ridge Parkway preservation efforts include Asheville’s 17,500-acre drinking water supply watershed, Waynesville’s 8,000-acre watershed, and a 523-acre property on Humpback Mountain near Jackson Knob. CTNC has conveyed 27 protected properties, totaling 3,583 acres, to government agencies for public recreation along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Other land trusts that conserve land along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Mitchell County include Blue Ridge Conservancy (www.blueridgeconservancy.org), based in Boone, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (www.appalachian.org), based in Asheville.