Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) purchased a 50-acre property in Jackson County that adjoins the Blue Ridge Parkway. This property, known as the Open Branch Headwaters tract, provides a critical link between National Park Service (NPS) lands and other nearby protected properties.
The newly purchased land is located near Parkway milepost 452, rises to 5,400 feet and contains rare spruce-fir habitat, which makes its conservation even more beneficial. CTNC plans to donate this land to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Parkway’s official boundary. This and other properties protected by CTNC and other conservation groups are part of a growing area of contiguous, protected land that is intended to become a new park at Waterrock Knob on the Parkway.
“Every time a property is conserved adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it improves the visitor experience by preserving scenic vistas, water quality, and habitat for wildlife,” said Mark Woods, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent. “Nonprofit conservation organizations are helping to transform the region near Waterrock Knob into a large area of protected forests and streams, and the Open Branch Headwaters tract is a key piece in that puzzle.”
“Protection of this property means pure water in Open Branch and healthy habitat for roaming wildlife,” said Rusty Painter, CTNC Land Protection Director.