The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) recently purchased a property that adjoins the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 446. The tract contains a portion of Bear Creek in the headwaters of North Fork Scott Creek in Jackson County.
The property is completely forested and contains a beautiful cascading section of Bear Creek. Protection of the property will preserve views from the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway (including the Woodfin Cascades Overlook) and will provide a natural buffer to the Hi-Mountain subdivision. The property contains a portion of the Woodfin Falls Significant Natural Heritage Area and is in close proximity to the 6,000+-acre complex of lands within the proposed Waterrock Knob/Plott-Balsams Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Safeguarding these 31 acres of sensitive high elevation habitat is another impressive CTNC accomplishment,” said Monika Mayr, Acting Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Each time buffer land is added to the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor, we assure millions of visitors will continue to enjoy a spectacular, unspoiled landscape. This acquisition is essential not only to protect the views but to connect wildlife habitat and critical natural ecosystems for local populations of black bear, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk, and northern flying squirrels.”
“This tract is near a particularly beautiful section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, so we are delighted that CTNC has acquired it to protect the views forever,” said Kate Dixon, Executive Director of Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
CTNC purchased the property on May 23, 2013, for $215,000 from Greer State Bank in South Carolina with the intention of conveying the property to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Blue Ridge Parkway’s official boundary. David McCammon, a representative of Greer State Bank stated, “We appreciate CTNC’s goals and objectives. In most cases, land we sell is almost immediately modified in some way. We are glad to be able to further CTNC’s efforts for preservation. I spend a good bit of time outdoors, particularly in western NC and upstate SC, so nature preservation is an important personal goal as well.”
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (http://www.appalachian.org/), a local land trust based in Asheville, also works to conserve land along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Jackson County.