North Carolina News ServiceStephanie Carroll Carson
BURNSVILLE, N.C. - A tract of land more than 500 times the size of a football field will be protected from development in the western North Carolina mountains.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently purchased 523 acres on Humpback Mountain in Avery and McDowell counties.
Reid Wilson, executive director of the Conservation Trust, explains what this means for North Carolinians and visitors to the region.
"People will be able to enjoy this property, either when they are driving along the Parkway and they can see it for about three and a half miles, or they can park, get out and - in the near future - take hikes on the property as well," he says.
Wilson adds there are more than three miles of clear-running streams that will now remain pristine for wild trout and drinking water.
The land borders the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 319 and 323 and will be managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Wilson says while this $2.5 million purchase represents a big victory, the battle to protect land from development is far from over.
"There's a lot more work to be done on the Blue Ridge Parkway," he explains. "Most people may not realize that in a lot of places the official Parkway boundary is only 800 feet on either side."
Wilson says in some places, there is as little as 200 feet on either side of the scenic road protected from development.
With its most recent land purchase, the Conservation Trust has protected 50 properties along the Blue Ridge Parkway - totaling more than 31,000 acres.