Three Rivers Land Trust is excited to announce the conservation of a 130-acre property located in Randolph County. The landowners, Mark and Jessica Wilburn, placed a permanent conservation easement on their family farm, known as Uwharrie Ridge Farm, on September 25, 2020. This working lands conservation easement allows continued agricultural and forestry practices, while restricting future development and subdivision of this important parcel.

“Our staff is grateful to have worked with the Wilburns to conserve their beautiful farm,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “Farmland conservation has always been a focus of Three Rivers Land Trust, and we are proud to say that we have protected over 15,000 acres of farmland in the past 25 years.” This conservation easement was made possible by the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation (ADFP) Trust Fund and the USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), who provided partial funding for the conservation easements on the Wilburn property.

“This newly protected property adjoins the Uwharrie River in Randolph County, and the scenic Uwharrie peak known as Black Mountain can be seen in the distance from the property,” states Crystal Cockman, Director of Conservation. “By conserving this property, we are not only protecting the agricultural land and wildlife habitat, but are also protecting water quality along the Uwharrie River and the tributaries that flow through this property. We are committed to working with property owners to conserve tracts like these, while they are still available.” This particular section of the Uwharrie River is popular with paddlers in the region, and it also features rare aquatic species, which makes the tract important to biodiversity conservation in addition to the farmland preserved.

It was important to this landowner that the legacy of agriculture continue on this farm in perpetuity. Currently, this parcel is cropland, but the owners have expressed intention to convert it to pastureland, which already comprises much of the Wilburns’ farm. Mark and Jessica worked with Three Rivers Land Trust in 2018 to protect another portion of their farm that is in pastureland, by placing 72 acres under conservation easement.

Three Rivers Land Trust expanded our conservation footprint to include five additional counties in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain. To learn more about how to support our conservation work or to protect your own property, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or

 About Three Rivers Land Trust 

Three Rivers Land Trust works with private landowners and public agencies to conserve the most important natural, scenic, agricultural, and historic places in a 15-county region of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Since 1995, the Land Trust has worked to offer reasonable and attractive options to landowners who want to conserve their lands for future generations to enjoy. Our mission is to work thoughtfully and selectively with property owners to conserve our lands, vistas, and the essential nature of our region. For more information about how you can become a supporting member of Three Rivers Land Trust, please contact the Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or or visit their website at