Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) is excited to announce recent funding in the amount of $10,000 has been awarded to assist in the acquisition and transfer of approximately 50 acres to the Town of Spencer. This land will expand the existing Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest and Nature Preserve, and connects the existing preserve to Grants Creek. There is potential to develop additional trails and a canoe/kayak access on Grants Creek at this location.

“Three Rivers Land Trust is thrilled to have been awarded these funds from the Duke Energy Foundation for this incredible conservation project in Rowan County,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “This is a much-loved recreation site in Rowan County, used by the residents of Salisbury and Spencer and visitors to the area, as well. Public access has been a focus of our organization since its inception, having transferred over 5,700 acres of land to the public trust.”

The private landowner who owns this property is providing the land at a bargain sale, and another private donation in the amount of $10,000 has been received as well. In addition, TRLT was provisionally awarded the remainder of the funding needed to purchase these lands from the NC Land and Water Fund and expects those funds to be available early next year.

The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to investing resources and working alongside community partners to ensure future generations enjoy the immeasurable benefits of the nature around us. Duke Energy’s Nature Grants support water quality, quantity, conservation and access, habitat and forest restoration and conservation, and species conservation.

The community will be positively impacted by this acquisition by the Town of Spencer of 50 acres to the Fred and Alice Stanback Preserve. Local residents and tourists alike will have access to new hiking trails and possibly a canoe launch in the future. In addition, water quality will be maintained and improved on an existing 303d listed stream, as over a mile of frontage on Grants Creek and two tributaries will be protected.

Rare species and natural communities are also protected on this site. The project will provide protection to a portion of an alluvial forest, as well as a rare plant, Cardamine dissecta (fork-leaved toothwort), discovered on the land by a natural heritage biologist and a land trust staff member this Spring. This is the only documented occurrence of this rare plant in Rowan County.

To learn more about this project or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in our conservation mission, please contact Crystal Cockman, Director of Conservation of the Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or