News

$100,000 in project funding awarded to Three Rivers Land Trust

Located in Moore County is a 168 acre project known as the McLendons Creek Bottomlands, a significant project for Three Rivers Land Trust in their mission to conserve local lands. This property possesses over 10,000 feet of stream frontage on McLendons Creek and other tributaries. Of the 168 acres, 78.8 acres are designated as wetlands by the National Wetlands Inventory. With the natural significance of this property, Three Rivers Land Trust has put forth efforts to raise funds for the conservation of the property. Recently, with the generous grant award of $100,000 from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), TRLT is one step closer to completing the project.

From the stream frontage to the wetlands on the property, the potential loss of these ecosystems has a direct impact on both migratory species and resident populations of wildlife. With current fundraising efforts, and this grant award from NAWCA and other organizations, TRLT aims to do their part in reversing habitat loss by permanently conserving this property. Some key species that would be protected here include the federally listed as endangered Cape Fear Shiner, the vulnerable Carolina Creekshell, American Black Duck, Mallard Duck, Wood Duck, Bald Eagle, American Woodcock, as well as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and river otters.

“We are so grateful for this grant funding from USFWS,” states Travis Morehead, TRLT Executive Director. “This is a major project that would not be possible without funding from grants like this as well as from other generous supporters of the Land Trust. This grant is nationally competitive, we are proud and thankful to be the only recipient from North Carolina.”

Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director comments, “The McLendons Creek Bottomlands is a unique location, with diverse species across its entirety. This region is a focal area for protecting water quality, and this project will help carry that out as McLendons Creek is a tributary of the Deep River which is designated as a High Quality Watershed by the state of North Carolina. We are elated to receive this grant from NAWCA to help fund this project and protect the habitat through its conservation.”

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 emily@trlt.org.

 

Big Tree Hike 2022

Article by Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director 

On Saturday, March 26th, Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) in partnership with the Sandhills Natural History Society, led a nature walk on a TRLT owned property along the Deep River in Moore County. This property is located near the House and the Horseshoe, north of Carthage. This property has a lot of really old and large trees down near the Deep River, including two trees that are state champions, a Shumard oak and a Florida maple. Bruce Sorrie, an expert botanist, joined us for this trip.

The hike began at 9am with a group of about 20 participants and we started our walk down to the river bottom. There were some ephemeral pools along the way with salamander egg masses, and we stopped to take a look at those. Most likely they were spotted salamander eggs, encased in a gelatinous goo. The larvae emerge from their eggs, and grow into adult salamanders when they develop lungs and lose their external gills and become terrestrial.

Further down in the floodplain, we began to spot a wide variety of wildflowers in bloom, including a lot of painted buckeyes, trout lilies, Carolina spring beauties, purple violets, yellow violets, jack-in-the-pulpits, and more. There were some really large trees along the river bottom, including species like hackberry, sugarberry, black walnut, swamp chestnut oak (also known as basket oak), bitternut hickory, and more. We made our way out to where we could see the Deep River. Bruce pointed out that the river bottom had such a diversity of plant life because of the rich sediment deposited here by the river over thousands of years.

Bruce found a rare plant in bloom, Colville’s phacelia, also known as buttercup scorpionweed. This plant has a very disjunct distribution in the eastern United States, being found in Maryland, and North Carolina where it is listed as S1 endangered (and Bruce said was only found in about 6 counties in the Piedmont of NC), and then in Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. It also occurs in Washington DC, Illinois and Missouri. It has pretty little blue-violet flowers and is very delicate looking with lacy lobed green leaves.

The group made its way back up along the river to the huge Shumard oak, which we measured at over 6 feet in diameter. Truly an ancient giant, participants enjoyed taking their picture beside this massive tree by which they looked tiny in comparison. A short walk away from there was the other champion, the Florida maple, which was not a huge tree but a very large tree for its species. Many of the participants said how much they liked the walk and getting to see these large old trees and the blooming wildflowers of early springtime in central North Carolina.

Please visit our website at trlt.org to register for another one of our upcoming hike or paddle trips to see more conserved properties and the work that TRLT is doing in our region.

Three Rivers Land Trust hires Director of Development

 

With continuous efforts to conserve local lands for future generations to enjoy, Three Rivers Land Trust has made an addition to their staff. Recently, Andrew Younger was hired as the Director of Development of Three Rivers Land Trust. TRLT Executive Director, Travis Morehead, states, “We are thrilled about Andrew joining our team. His position is a new role at TRLT, so we are excited to see how he can make an impact in our efforts to conserve land in our 15-county region.”

Andrew completed his undergraduate degree at Portland State University and graduate school at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. He is Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) accredited and has nearly a decade of experience working as a philanthropic professional. Born in Alaska and raised in Oregon, he spent much of his youth chasing salmon on the Oregon coast and hiking the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. His upbringing shaped his passion for the outdoors and his belief in conservation. Younger currently lives in Lexington, NC with his wife and two children. In his free time he enjoys running, fishing/boating, hiking and spending time with his family exploring the beautiful NC countryside.

In Andrew’s role as the Director of Development at Three Rivers Land Trust, he will be working with individuals and businesses alike to further the mission of Three Rivers in conserving local lands. “I’m absolutely thrilled about joining the TRLT team. This role is the perfect blend of what I like to do professionally, and what I care about personally- but more than that, TRLT is a phenomenal organization and I feel privileged to have opportunity to connect people with its mission and vision,” states Younger.

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 b y email at emily@trlt.org.

Two properties permanently conserved in Montgomery County

With the warm weather approaching, people often choose to venture into the great outdoors as a means of recreation. Whether it is to hike, bike, paddle, or walk, Three Rivers Land Trust has made it their mission to provide public access for their 15-county region. With the recent closing of two different projects in Montgomery County on March 11, 2022, there will now be 221 more acres for the public to explore in the future. The plan is to eventually transfer these lands to the US Forest Service.

The larger of the two properties, Watery Branch Headwaters, is 210 acres and adjoins the Uwharrie Trail in an area where the US Forest Service land is very narrow. The majority of the property is a beautiful hardwood forest. In fact, there is a trail shelter aptly named “Crystal’s Place”, built by the Uwharrie Trailblazers and partially funded by the Randolph EMC’s Sharing Success Community Grant, for trail hikers and backpackers to use. It also has frontage on several tributaries of Watery Branch, which is a pristine stream in the area.

The other property conserved, Uwharrie Riverbend, is 11 acres, with approximately 2,000 feet of frontage on the Uwharrie River. This property has mature hardwood forest and adjoins US Forest Service property in the Badin Recreational Area. This section of the Uwharrie River is very popular for paddling from Highway 109 to Dennis Road, and is especially scenic. The area is even frequented by river otters, bald eagles, great blue heron, and many other species.

Travis Morehead, TRLT Executive Director states that “These projects in Montgomery County are perfect examples of why Three Rivers puts an emphasis on acquiring land for future public access. Projects like these will provide outdoor recreationists with places to hike, paddle, and enjoy the natural landscapes that we are lucky to have here in the piedmont of North Carolina.”

“Three Rivers has always worked earnestly to protect the Uwharrie region because it is so unique, which makes these two projects especially important,” states Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director. “Not only will these projects provide public access, but various wildlife species and the water quality is protected, which is another major focus of ours.”

This project was made possible in part by funding from Fred and Alice Stanback, along with donations from Land Trust supporters.

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 emily@trlt.org.

Organic family farm permanently conserved in Iredell County

Organic family farm permanently conserved in Iredell County

Located in the scenic Brushy Mountains between Love Valley and Harmony are 410 acres of family farmland. This farm, an organic dairy and organic beef cattle operation, is owned by a father and son operation. Now, this farm operated by Jim and Sam Dobson, is permanently protected for many more generations of Dobsons to carry on the family tradition.

On March 11, 2022, Three Rivers Land Trust conserved the 410 acres of land, 78% of which are considered prime and statewide important soils. As defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses. This is massively important for farmers like the Dobsons to have productive land for their farming operation.

When reflecting on this project, TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead states, “Farmland conservation is an important facet of what we do at Three Rivers Land Trust. According to the American Farmland Trust, it can take 2-3x the amount of marginal land to make up for the loss of Nationally Significant land, which is why it is important to conserve land like the Dobson farm before it is too late. Unfortunately, in North Carolina we are losing farmland at an alarming rate, primarily to low density development, but projects where we can conserve local farms like the Dobson’s are a great step in the right direction to combat that loss.”

Jim Dobson Jr. was also extremely pleased with the completion of this project and commented, “Our family has been farming this land for eight generations, and now it is permanently protected. It is important that land like our farm is conserved so that we can provide good, wholesome foods for the consumer, and for that reason, I believe that it is essential that our fellow farmers do all they can to conserve their farmland too.”

“For over three years we have diligently worked to conserve this property and now that it is complete, we could not be happier,” states Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director. “The Dobsons are a wonderful family, and we are grateful to have worked with them to protect their 410 acre organic beef and organic dairy farm, a true gem in Iredell County.”

This project was made possible in part by grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Lands Easement Program and the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

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 emily@trlt.org.

Public access at the peak of Dark Mountain

In spring of 2018, Three Rivers Land Trust, then known as The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, purchased 70 acres in Montgomery County. These 70 acres are special, as the peak of Dark Mountain is on the property. Sitting at 940 feet in elevation, Dark Mountain is the highest peak in all of Montgomery County and features mature hardwoods and large rock outcrops.

When this property was purchased by TRLT, the intent was to eventually transfer it to the United States Forest Service. Now, almost 4 years later, it has finally happened. This site is central to local folklore and several interesting features are located on this property as mentioned in Joe Moffitt’s book, An Afternoon Hike into the Past, including Liquor Springs, Painted Rocks, and Outlaw Cave. This transfer will be an incredible addition to the Uwharrie National Forest, as the property adjoins a small portion of the Uwharrie Trail, helping protect the viewshed of the trail.

“Providing public access is a key component of our conservation mission,” states TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We are extremely proud to complete this project with the transfer of land to the U.S. Forest Service, which will provide the public with access to experience this special tract of land in Montgomery County.”

With so much history in the Uwharries, Three Rivers Land Trust has put forth efforts to protect and raise awareness about the region. One way that TRLT has worked to raise awareness and funding to protect the area is through the Three Rivers Land Trust Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike. With a hike in both spring and fall, the thru hike is a 40-miles in 4-day experience that you cannot get anywhere else. This fully supported hike is a great way to explore a new area, and show your support for local conservation all while hiking alongside other outdoor enthusiasts. If you would like to learn more about Three Rivers Land Trust’s Uwharrie Trail Thru Hike, visit trlt.org/events for more information.

In celebration of this transfer of land to the US Forest Service, Three Rivers Land Trust will be hosting a Dark Mountain Ribbon Cutting on Friday, March 25th at 11am. If you would like to join the celebration, visit trlt.org/events for more information and registration.

This project was made possible in part by funding from Fred and Alice Stanback, along with donations from Land Trust supporters.

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 emily@trlt.org.

A Year of Local Conservation with Three Rivers Land Trust

A Year of Local Conservation with Three Rivers Land Trust

Conserving our natural resources is essential to maintaining this region’s character and quality of life. Protecting water quality, family farms, scenic rivers, and undisturbed natural areas is the mission of Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT), a non-profit conservation organization. TRLT focuses their efforts in a 15-county region in North Carolina’s central Piedmont and Sandhills. Reflecting on 2021, Three Rivers Land Trust had a banner year, conserving over 4,200 acres and increasing their total conserved acreage to 45,300 acres. Last year, TRLT completed 18 different projects in 9 counties, ranging from family farms, to hardwood forests, to wetlands and stream corridors.

In fact, 830 acres of farmland was conserved by Three Rivers Land Trust in 2021. With a determined focus on conserving more farmland, Three Rivers worked diligently to protect the farms that feed our local communities. “With North Carolina losing or impairing almost 6 acres of farmland every hour due to development, TRLT is working against to clock to save North Carolina’s family farms,” states Travis Morehead, TRLT Executive Director. Many of these farmland conservation opportunities were made possible with funding from organizations like the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) and the USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

In addition to protecting farms, Three Rivers worked to provide public access to connect residents and visitors to the outdoors. The Yadkin River Game Lands Project is a great example where TRLT and other conservation partners, like the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), worked together to permanently conserve 2,424 acres and 31 miles of shoreline on the eastern shore of the Tuckertown Reservoir. In 2021, TRLT also acquired land that will become part of two local parks, one state park, and the Uwharrie National Forest. The most notable acquisition was a 215 acre tract that will be added to Morrow Mountain State Park. “We appreciate TRLT’s long standing commitment to expanding recreational access for all North Carolinians,” states Jeff Michael, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Public access is only one facet of conservation that Three Rivers focuses on. The core of TRLT’s mission is to work with private landowners to and conserve land. Conservation minded property-owners often conserve the land they grew up on. “The reasons someone permanently conserves their property varies, but most of them do it because of their deep connection to the land,” states Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director.Looking back on 2021, Three Rivers Land Trust, with the generous support of its members and conservation partners, accomplished a great deal. Travis Morehead, TRLT Executive Director stated that, “This year is one for the record books, but we [Three Rivers] are going to do our best to try and top it in 2022. Thanks to all of our conservation partners like the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF) and the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, (ADFPTF), for helping to make 2021 so successful.”

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 emily@trlt.org.

Three Rivers Land Trust starts off 2022 by conserving 67 acres in Montgomery County

Three Rivers Land Trust starts off 2022 by conserving 67 acres in Montgomery County

Conserving local lands is the mission of Three Rivers Land Trust, and sometimes this mission is achieved through sentimental intentions. Discovering the Land Trust from a newspaper article, Robert Kinch became inspired to help carry out Three Rivers’ mission by leaving a conservation legacy of 67 acres in memory of his wife, Virgie Coggin Kinch.

Closing on January 6th, this is the first completed project by TRLT this year. The 67 acres donated by Mr. Kinch are located in Montgomery County, and maintains 3,000 linear feet of frontage on Clarks Creek. The property is two and a half miles upstream from the confluence of the Pee Dee River. The 67 acres contains a mature hardwood forest with a very diverse understory, with lots of native wildflowers and forbs.

“This is the first project closing of 2022, and we couldn’t be happier. We [TRLT] could not think of a better way to start off the year,” commented TRLT Executive Director, Travis Morehead. “We finished off 2021 strong, conserving over 4,200 acres last year alone. Thanks to Mr. Kinch, we can celebrate another conservation project closing early in 2022.”

“We are so pleased to be able to conserve this special property, protecting the diverse plant species in its forest understory,” stated Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director. “This donated property means so much to Mr. Kinch, and now it will be protected in perpetuity in memory of his late wife, Virgie, for future generations to enjoy.”

This property was donated by Robert Kinch in memory of his wife Virgie Coggin Kinch and transactional costs of this project were generously funded through a NC Land and Water Fund Mini Grant.

Photos were taken by Justin Mercer, Eastern Region Field Representative with the NC Land and Water Fund.

To learn more about how to conserve your own lands or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in our conservation mission, please contact Crystal Cockman, Associate Director of Three Rivers Land Trust at 704-64 7-0302 or crystal@trlt.org.

Three Rivers Land Trust conserves 92 acres on Panther Branch, protecting the complete water source

On December 22nd, Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) closed a 92 acre project in Montgomery County – one that will help protect the high water quality designation along Barnes Creek and Panther Branch. Both tributaries are designated as outstanding water sources, which is the highest water quality designation that the state of North Carolina gives any stream.

This property is exceptional because of the water frontage, rare species, being in viewshed of the Uwharrie Trail and almost completely surrounded by U.S. Forest Service land. Knowing this, the previous owner (Jordan Lumber Company) came to Three Rivers Land Trust and offered TRLT a unique opportunity to purchase the property.

“This property is definitely a special one,” stated Crystal Cockman, TRLT Associate Director. “We are elated that the previous owner approached us with their interest in ensuring this property’s protection. This is the only private land on the entirety of Panther Branch, and now that it is conserved, we are protecting this water resource in its entirety.”

“Mussels are indicator species, which means they are used to determine the water quality in an area,” said Emily Callicutt, TRLT Land Protection Specialist. Callicutt described that “there are numerous species of rare mussel found in this stream, including a species previously believed to be extinct, the Carolina elktoe. The presence of rare mussels, like the Carolina elktoe, show the pristine water quality of this area because the mussels cannot exist in areas with poor water quality.”

“We are extremely proud of conserving this property, especially with its proximity to the Uwharrie Trail,” commented TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We [TRLT] have the long term plan of adding this property to the public trust. At Three Rivers, it is part of our mission to provide access for public recreation, and this project will do just that.”

This project was made possible in part by funding from Fred and Alice Stanback, and Jack Horan, along with other private donations from Land Trust supporters.

To learn more ab out how to conserve your own lands or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in our conservation mission, please contact Crystal Cockman, Associate Director of Three Rivers Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or crystal@threeriverslandtrust.org.

Three Rivers Land Trust receives $30,000 grant from SC Johnson

With a recent refocus on conserving farmland, Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) created the Save the Farm Campaign to help permanently conserve local farms that are facing increased development pressure. Regardless of who you are or where you live, everyone is connected to a farm. SC Johnson also recognized the need to protect farmland, and recently donated $30,000 to TRLT with the goal of permanently conserving more local farms.

In 2021, Three Rivers conserved over 1,300 acres of farmland in their fifteen-county region, and plans to conserve additional farmland in 2022. The funding provided by SC Johnson will be a substantial springboard to help TRLT work towards conserving more farmland that will not only maintain the rural character of our region but also provide for the area’s food and fiber needs.

“We consistently have farmers call us very interested in the permanent conservation of their farms. Farmers are the very first to realize the impact growth and development are having on our region.” stated Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We established the Save the Farm Campaign to help permanently conserve local farms, and SC Johnson generously chose to support us in our efforts. Their generous donation will make an immediate difference in our ability to conserve local farms. We hope that other businesses will follow SC Johnson’s example and join TRLT in our mission to protect our region’s farms.”

If you are interested in learning more about Three Rivers Land Trust, or how to support TRLT’s local conservation efforts, please visit trlt.org.

To learn more about how to conserve your own lands or how you can support Three Rivers Land Trust in our conservation mission, please contact Crystal Cockman, Associate Director of Three Rivers Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or crystal@trlt.org.

 

Contact

Phone

(704) 647-0302

Address

204 East Innes Street, Suite 120
Salisbury, NC 28144

Email

threerivers@threeriverslandtrust.org