Drive just two miles north after exiting Interstate 40 on scenic Old Mountain Road in western Iredell county and the Brushy Mountain range jumps out at you in all of its beauty and grandeur. And when you first spot them, you will likely be viewing them across land owned by Reid or Kenneth Gray, two brothers who have accumulated some of the best farmland in Iredell County over the course of their farming lives.

In a truly unique and special fashion, both brothers have donated conservation easements on two of their gorgeous properties in 2008, preserving scenic vistas, some of the region’s best farmland, and important wildlife habitat for future generations to enjoy.

Kenneth and his wife, Becky Gray, donated a conservation easement on 126 acres at the intersection of Old Mountain Road and New Sterling Road which is comprised largely of crop fields and some hardwoods. The property is situated prominently behind the historic Gray House (owned by Reid and Peggy Gray), which was built in 1905 and was previously used as a bed and breakfast. The land is used primarily for small grain production, and provides scenic relief from the adjoining subdivision to its south. Views of the Brushy Mountains can be had from any number of vantage points from these fields which also serve as the back yard of Kenneth and Becky Gray.

Kenneth had been thinking about a conservation easement for several years before he and Becky decided to go ahead and make the commitment. Becky was an instrumental force in helping Kenneth take the action that she knew he wanted to take in conserving his land. This particular tract of land has great historic significance, having originally been owned by early settlers protected by the historic Fort Dobbs British outpost.

The 130 acre property protected by Reid and Peggy is located several miles north of their homes on the South Yadkin River. It is a beautiful, mostly wooded tract managed for wildlife and some timber production. With more than one mile of frontage on the South Yadkin River, this conservation easement will protect the drinking water supply of the City of Statesville, which is located just a couple of miles downstream. The South Yadkin River corridor in Iredell County has been a corridor of interest for The Land Trust since our inception. To date, we have protected more than 3,000 acres along the South Yadkin in Rowan, Iredell, and Davie Counties.

The property boasts abundant wildlife and high value hardwood forested buffers along the South Yadkin. Named “Cove Creek Farm,” the tract is situated less than six miles north of Statesville just off scenic Highway 115. The Gray brothers and their families are two of the most respected farming families in Iredell County. Their unselfish donation of conservation easements on these two farms will benefit wildlife, water quality, food and timber production, and the aesthetics of the northern Iredell community for many generations to come.