Larry and Betty Young had been noticing The LandTrust’s acquisition of properties around their acre farm in northern Rowan County for several years. Most notably, they were excited when we purchased the acre South Yadkin Refuge for Catawba College in 1999 for purposes of establishing an outdoor learning laboratory for undergraduate students. This property abuts theirs directly to the north. They were thrilled to learn that the property would be protected against development and would retain its natural beauty for generations to come.
Then they found that we were purchasing the Crowther property that adjoined them to the south for purchases of protection, and they were even more excited. They knew that their beautiful and secluded property was going to forevermore be buffered against intensive development thanks to our acquisitions on two sides of their property.
Thus, when they began contemplating a sale of part of their property, they approached former LandTrust Board President and Director of the Catawba Center for the Environment John Wear about the possibility of incorporating their land in the outdoor learning laboratory concept. They offered to sell 28 acres of their property for the same price we had paid per acre for the adjoining tracts to provide connectivity between our two parcels. Without acquisition of this parcel, the only connection between the two tracts was a public game land area owned by Alcoa which was not available for purchase. Thus, the Young property provides a bridge between the 300 acre Catawba Refuge tract and the nearly 200 acre Crowther parcel, creating a 530 acre contiguous ecological preserve, learning center, and potential recreational corridor.
The land that the Young’s sold to The LandTrust is approximately 80% forested in mature mixed hardwoods. The remainder is currently in hay production and is extremely rich in native wildlife. The LandTrust intends to provide a hike on this property sometime this coming spring to show off its importance. The LandTrust feels very fortunate to have the support of friends and neighbors like the Youngs in continuing progress toward large scale contiguous conservation projects. We are hopeful that we will be successful in acquiring additional contiguous properties in the core of our “Two Rivers Preserve” conservation area at the confluence of the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers in Rowan, Davie, and Davidson Counties.