A critical Uwharrie conservation tract in Montgomery County has been protected by The LandTrust. The LandTrust recently purchased 245 acres of a larger 308 acre tract which has long been considered one of the most important unprotected large parcels in the Uwharrie National Forest and Morrow Mountain State Park area. With the closing, we also received a three year option to purchase the remaining 63 acres, which fronts on Lake Tillery directly across from Morrow Mountain State Park. The LandTrust is working with the national conservation group “Trust for Public Land” (TPL) to get the property into public ownership and management.

The tract, formerly owned by the Capel Rug Company in Troy, is located at the convergence of the Uwharrie River and Dutchman’s Creek, adjacent to the confluence of the Uwharrie River and Lake Tillery. It is at this point where the “Yadkin River” becomes the “Pee Dee River.” The recently purchased parcel is located directly across from the boat launch in Morrow Mountain State Park, and is prominently visible from many hiking trails within the park. The land to be protected features unique natural rock formations, a rare and scenic piedmont waterfall, scenic vistas of the Uwharrie Mountains and Morrow Mountain State Park, and access to both Lake Tillery and the Uwharrie River. There are also significant archaeological resources on this property which will be studied and protected.

“We are extremely proud and excited to announce the conservation of this tract, long considered one of the most important land conservation opportunities in the region,” says Jason Walser, executive director. “Our long-term goal is to see this property opened to the public as an expansion of Morrow Mountain State Park or perhaps an expansion of the Uwharrie National Forest. For many years, we have been working to make the Uwharrie National Forest and the Uwharrie River more accessible to the public, and this parcel is critical in terms of enhancing paddling and fishing opportunities on the Uwharrie River. It also represents the only opportunity to tie the 25 mile *Uwharrie Trail into Lake Tillery, as well as Falls and Badin Reservoirs. Furthermore, this property is the key to connecting the National Forest to the State Park, which is critical to the long term goal of promoting this region as North Carolina’s Central Park. The public recreational opportunities for this parcel truly cannot be overstated.”

Walser says the tract was acquired with major assistance from Fred and Alice Stanback. Fundraising for the second phase of the property is just beginning, and donations from the public are encouraged.