The summer of 2015 was especially eventful for The LandTrust’s partnership with the Town of Spencer and the Stanback Educational Forest. Two key properties were acquired by the LandTrust that will significantly improve access to the existing trail system, while providing a “land bridge” to accommodate a future trail corridor to Spencer’s 8th Street Park.

After several months of on-going conversation and due diligence, the LandTrust, working with landowners, Howard and Louise Carter, secured 6 acres of property on 11th Street, which is on the northeastern boundary of Spencer Woods. The gently-sloping residential lot will provide a variety of design options for access to the woodlands and an opportunity for improved off-street parking.

Through a special land-purchase arrangement known as a life estate, the Carters will be allowed to live in their home for the rest of their lives. Eventually, the residence and a 1 ¼ acre lot will be available to The LandTrust with the unrestricted potential to use, sell or lease the house and surrounding lot. At the closing on the Carter’s property, LandTrust attorney Andy Abramson noted the significance of the life estate and how remarkable it is for the Carters to have the opportunity to craft an enduring conservation legacy during their lifetimes. Both Howard and Louise agreed it was an important part of their decision to sell the land for public use and enjoyment by future generations.

The LandTrust also received a gift of land from Salisbury resident and ardent supporter Mary Messinger for the Stanback Educational Forest. The 5.4 acres of southern deciduous forestland will provide an opportunity to create a woodland trail from the Stanback Educational Forest to Spencer’s 8th Street Park, which includes a ball field, a picnic area and a playground. The generous donation of land will greatly enhance environmental education and recreational opportunities for visitors to Spencer’s urban oasis.

A NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant is being used to design and develop the first phase of infrastructure improvements to the Stanback Educational Forest including a wetland area boardwalk, an educational pavilion and interpretative signage. The recent land acquisition will serve as a tremendous asset to the Stanback Educational Forest and the greater Spencer community.