The Little River is Montgomery County is certainly a hidden gem in the Piedmont. There are multiple stretches of this river available to paddlers with gorgeous forested stream buffers, and almost no houses or development in sight from the river. However, much of this river remains privately held with no formal protection to ensure this undeveloped treasure remains such in perpetuity. Now, thanks to an acquisition made by Three Rivers Land Trust on December 21, 2023, an additional 350 acres of land along this river will be permanently conserved.

Bald eagles, river otters, great blue herons, little green herons, beaver, cormorant, white tailed deer, a plethora of Neotropical migratory songbirds, and many other species make their homes on the Little River. The high water quality found here and the forested riparian areas make it a perfect spot for wildlife and for paddlers. There are several river put-in locations open to the public that make this river easily accessible, and a popular spot for kayaking and fishing in the Piedmont.

“Three Rivers Land Trust has a focus on protecting local waters, and the Little River in Montgomery County is no exception to that rule,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “Last year we acquired 90 acres on the river, and earlier this year, we worked with another landowner to conserve 80 acres through conservation easement. Now we’ve acquired an additional 350 acres, ensuring that these sections of the river remain undeveloped and forested to protect water quality. Altogether, this represents over 3.5 miles of frontage on the river that is now permanently conserved as a direct result of TRLT’s efforts.”

“This section of the Little River where these 350 acres occur is identified as a High Quality Watershed by the State of North Carolina, with 6 different species of rare mussel known from here, as well as Carolina redhorse and Carolina darter, two state listed fish species,” states Associate Director Crystal Cockman. “In addition, there are unique natural communities found on this land, including Piedmont Basic Glade and Piedmont Coastal Plain Heath Bluff, as well as a rare plant, Mountain Camelia. These lands are truly a treasure worth conserving in our region.”

This acquisition was made possible through a generous donation by Fred and Alice Stanback, and grants from the NC Land and Water Fund, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. If you would like to find out how to conserve your property or support TRLT’s conservation mission please contact Emily Callicutt, Senior Land Protection Specialist, at

About Three Rivers Land Trust

Three Rivers Land Trust works with private landowners and public agencies to conserve the most important natural areas, scenic rivers, family farms, and historic places in a 15-county region of the central Piedmont and Sandhills. Since 1995, The Land Trust has worked to offer reasonable and attractive options to landowners who want to save their lands for future generations to enjoy. Our mission is to work thoughtfully and selectively with property owners, conserving land that is essential to our region. For more information about Three Rivers Land Trust, please contact the Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or or visit their website at