At a stop on the NC Scenic Byway of Grassy Island Crossing off Pinkston River Road, the canopy suddenly opens up a few hundred feet into the dense green wilderness. You find yourself in front of an immense wetland, with screeching great blue herons (in no small way) letting you know you’ve invaded their turf. But they are not the only occupants of this watery paradise, as frogs chime in with the chorus. A flock of wood ducks, not to be outdone, join in as well with their drum-like wingbeats.
This wonderful property, located immediately adjacent to the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in Anson County, was placed under permanent conservation easement this year by Bob Kluttz and his mother, Nancy. The superb wetland, complete with a diversity of waterfowl and flora, such as the beautiful water lilies pictured, is found off Pressely Creek, which forms the southern boundary of this property.
But the wetland is not the only significant feature of this great place. Down one pathway from the wetland, you’ll find a canopy of large pines and a unique cardboard box in the top of one of these. Bob explains that this is used to entice swarming bee hives, as you saunter on down the lane to find five hives, bees eagerly buzzing around them. Although becoming a lost art, beekeeping is not only a fun and tasty hobby, for large-scale pollination it is pivotal to the agricultural lands on which we all depend.
Across the scenic byway, a stand of hardwoods also contributes to the beauty and natural character of the property. The protection of this 90-acre refuge is a perfect compliment to the migratory waterfowl that utilize the adjacent refuge, and the landowners’ willingness to preserve this great property ensures that another portion of what makes Anson County so unique is now protected in perpetuity.