In November 2021, Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) purchased 215 acres of forest only a half-mile away from the Hardaway Site, a National Historic Landmark known for its Native American significance, and adjacent to Morrow Mountain State Park in Badin, NC. TRLT’s long term vision was to expand public lands by transferring the property to Morrow Mountain State Park. “Our members really like to see us expand public lands, whether its local parks, state parks, national forest or game lands. Increasing public lands/access resonates with so many of our supporters,” states Travis Morehead, Executive Director, Three Rivers Land Trust.

Not only does this project benefit the public by expanding recreational access, but it is also beneficial from an environmental perspective, as the forested stream buffers help to filter a tributary to Mountain Creek, protecting water quality. This acquisition also connects the town of Badin to an existing State Park, providing direct access to the park from this local community.

Crystal Cockman, Associate Director, knows the importance of a project like this, “This project is a big deal, not just for TRLT, but for the community. Here at TRLT, we have three major pillars that we focus on: expanding public lands, saving family farms, and protecting local waters. This project covers two of those goals by expanding public land and protecting local waters for current and future generations to enjoy. We are pleased to add these 215 acres to Morrow Mountain State Park, which brings the total acreage of the park to over 6,000 acres.”

“This is a project that took many players, and we are grateful that we had the support of donors and private foundations that made this project possible,” states TRLT Executive Director, Travis Morehead “This particular project is significant both environmentally and historically, and we are so pleased to make it possible.”

This conservation project was generously funded in part by the North Carolina Native Plant Society (, the Carolina Bird Club, Duke Energy, Fred and Alice Stanback, the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) and the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (LWF). The public is invited to a ribbon cutting that is currently planned for Friday, January 6, 2023 at 10:00am to celebrate this milestone achievement. The ribbon cutting will take place along Stanly Street in Badin, parking is very limited in this area. More details about the ribbon cutting can be found at

TRLT staff will be leading a New Year’s Day hike on this property beginning at 8:00am on January 1st, 2023.  For more information on this hike or to sign up, please visit

To learn more about how to conserve your own lands or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in their conservation mission, please contact Emily Callicutt, Land Protection Specialist at Three Rivers Land Trust by calling 704-647-0302 or by email at