Whether you’re a kayaker, a fisherman, a gold panner, or just enjoy hiking alongside it, you know that the Uwharrie River is a wonderful resource and a beloved recreation spot in our region. It’s so special in fact, that two separate landowners this year purchased properties on the river with the very intent of preserving them. And that’s just what they did.

Now, thanks to them, more of this picturesque river will remain in its natural state, ensuring scenic views for anglers and paddlers, as well as providing habitat for the river otters, bald eagles, and belted kingfishers that call this place home.

Brothers Dale and Kent Newport protected their beautiful 40-acre property, where beautiful Cedar Creek joins the Uwharrie River, in December of 2012. The large oaks and hickories of this forest are home to black-throated green warblers–a unique migratory bird species only just discovered to be nesting in the Uwharries, and they were spotted foraging on this property last April. These birds fly all the way from South and Central America to our very own forests of the highest Uwharrie mountain peaks to breed and raise their young. Until a few years ago, they weren’t thought to nest in the Piedmont at all. Most black-throated greens in North Carolina are found in the Appalachians during breeding season, but there is also a small subspecies found at the coast. Dr. Joe Poston at Catawba College has collected feather samples and is doing genetic work now to determine if our Uwharrie birds are part of this small subspecies.

Protection of this special property, which has been on our “radar screen” for years, is a remarkable gift from the Newports to us all. Transactional funds for this project were provided through a mini-grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF).