On May 23rd, approximately 30 attendees came out to a ribbon cutting to celebrate the transfer of an 8-acre parcel that was purchased and protected by Three Rivers Land Trust in Fall of 2021, and then transferred earlier this year to the Uwharrie National Forest. The significance of this tract is that it is surrounded by US Forest Service Land, and a portion of the Wolf Den Off- Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail goes through this previously private property.

The Wolf Den OHV trail is part of the 17 miles of 4-wheel drive trails in the Badin Lake OHV Trail complex in the Uwharrie National Forest. At 2 miles long with beginner-friendly terrain, Wolf Den is often a starting place for those looking to explore the OHV trails. With a portion of the Wolf Den trail crossing private property, the public was at risk of losing access if TRLT did not acquire the property.

Supporting this acquisition was the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative, which promotes safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable riding areas. “It’s super exciting to be able to support the land managers in acquiring this piece of property to ensure that theaccessibility will remain for years to come”, shared Mike Keller, the Marketing Strategy Project Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. Mike expressed his hopes of continuing to partner with TRLT and USFS on additional projects in the Uwharrie Region in the future.

USFS representative Kimberly Rust spoke about the importance of protecting this property, which was a critical inholding for the Forest Service in the Badin Recreation Area. “Now that we have this land,” she stated, “we have the potential to get the trailhead moved a little to get it out of the road intersection, so it’s a big win for safety as well.” This move would provide additional parking and a safer place to park vehicles at this popular trailhead.

TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead spoke about the importance of this project, emphasizing that transferring tracts into public access is a core tenant of TRLT’s mission. Since 1995, TRLT has transferred over 8,600 acres of land into public ownership, including State Parks, local parks, Gamelands, and National Forest, providing safe and accessible land for a wide variety of user groups.

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, Senior Land Protection Specialist at Three Rivers Land Trust by phone at 704-647-0302 or by email at emily@trlt.org.

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 membership@trlt.org or visit their website at trlt.org.