A remarkable partnership project!
Through a remarkable partnership, 370 acres in the heart of the Uwharries are permanently protected and publicly owned for the use of all citizens. In our last newsletter, we celebrated the transfer of 163 acres of the King Mountain Property to the U.S. Forest Service, filling a strategic gap in the historic Uwharrie National Recreational Trail, joining three otherwise disconnected Forest Service properties, and securing the highest peak in the Uwharrie National Forest proper.
This past December, as made possible by funding from the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund, the remaining 191 acres of the King Mountain Property (along with the rare community of Piedmont Monadnock Forest, several pristine streams and a healthy population of the Federally endangered Schweinitz’s sunflower), are now officially owned by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. This special natural area will be maintained and enhanced, while simultaneously being made available to the public for multiple recreational uses.
State and federal agencies, local and national land conservation nonprofits, and various local organizations worked together across territorial boundaries to make this multi-agency and five-year long project a success beyond what any one could have initially envisioned. This project was only made possible by the cooperation, support, and advocacy of these many partners.
Over a five-year time span, more than ten agencies collaborated together on the vision of this project. The U.S. Forest Service and Congressman Howard Coble’s office through an earmark helped secure funding for the Uwharrie Trail portion of the first transaction. The Conservation Fund and Doris Duke Foundation with the support of the Wildlife Resources Commission allowed Wildlife Action Plan implementation money to be used as an interest free loan on this property. The Natural Heritage Trust Fund saw the special natural values of this property and provided the necessary funding for the second half of the property to go to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC). WRC staff worked hard to apply for these grants and committed to take ownership and manage this property. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina also made available a low interest loan for the property. The Greater Uwharrie Conservation Partnership provided support for the project. The Eastern Forest Partnership advocated for the property on a national level. Fred and Alice Stanback and Amy Grissom also contributed private funds for the project.
Truly, this project exemplifies the best of land conservation happening today in North Carolina. “From the private sector investments, to government agency support, to collaborating nonprofit assistance, everyone involved in this project worked as a team to make something very meaningful happen for current and future citizens of this state,” Executive Director Jason Walser states. “The LandTrust is proud to be able to work with all these incredibly dedicated partners!”
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