On March 22, Three Rivers Land Trust and the United States Forest Service held a ribbon cutting for a transfer of a 99-acre tract that is now part of the Uwharrie National Forest. This beautiful property houses a section of Talbott’s Branch along with mature hardwood trees, and was acquired by TRLT in 2019, then transferred to the US Forest Service earlier this year.

Approximately 20 people joined in for the celebration at the Tot Hill Trailhead, the northern terminus of the Uwharrie Trail. Since 1995, Three Rivers Land Trust has been working with other conservation partners to fill gaps in the Uwharrie National Recreational Trail. When they began this work, the trail had 5 gaps where lands were owned privately and sections of the trail had been lost.

Now, thanks to TRLT’s efforts, 4 out of 5 of those gaps have been filled, with this most recent acquisition and transfer filling the 4th gap in its entirety. Thanks to the efforts of TRLT, the Uwharrie National Forest, the North Carolina Zoo Society, and other private donors and supporters, we are only one tract away from having the full 40-mile trail reconnected.

Supporters heard from Travis Morehead, Executive Director of Three Rivers Land Trust, at the ribbon cutting: “Three Rivers Land Trust prides itself on our ability to transfer strategic lands to public agencies, and the connection of this land and this trail does just that. This project was funded through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and TRLT supporters, including a generous donation by Fred and Alice Stanback. We are so grateful this section of trail is now permanently protected and available for all to enjoy.”

Susan Miller the district Ranger on the Uwharrie National Forest also spoke about the significance of this tract for the trail and the importance of the partnership the US Forest Service has with Three Rivers Land Trust. “We cannot act quickly enough to secure tracts like this one, and are fortunate to have partners like Three Rivers Land Trust who can work with local landowners to secure these tracts and then transfer them to our ownership.”

After the ribbon was cut, attendees were invited on a 3-mile round trip hike to the property, which possesses the peak of Cooler’s Knob, the highest point in the Wilderness Area. If you would like to find out how to support Three Rivers Land Trust in their conservation mission, please email Emily Callicutt, Senior Land Protection Specialist, at emily@trlt.org.