EDITORIAL: Diligence by SALT Benefits All of Us
With development relentlessly encroaching on open spaces on a worldwide scale, it's gratifying to see someone making small but critical progress in the opposite direction.
That is what the Sandhills Area Land Trust is all about. And it's why we in Southern Pines are lucky to have SALT, a nonprofit organization that busies itself with rescuing and preserving environmentally important land in six counties, headquartered right here. That has now paid off big for Moore County.
Though SALT sometimes buys naturally sensitive land outright (it owns 16 nature preserves), it more frequently works out arrangements whereby the property stays under existing private ownership, but with conservation easements attached to prevent future development.
Over the years, like someone methodically putting together a jigsaw puzzle, SALT has managed to preserve great amounts of land along an 11-mile stretch of Drowning Creek -- something that is of more than incidental tree-hugging interest to us in Southern Pines, since that's where our water comes from. Having natural woods and wetlands along its shores obviously makes for a cleaner creek than lawns and parking lots.
Now the last piece of the puzzle is falling into place.
SALT received word this week that the board of the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund is awarding it a $661,000 grant to buy an easement on that last component, a 209-acre tract along Drowning Creek south of Pinebluff. The next step is to arrive at an appraisal of the land value agreeable to the owners, who are in harmony with the concept of seeing it preserved. The town of Southern Pines has agreed to advance the money for the valuation to expedite the process.
Kudos to SALT for the skill and indefatigable effort that must have gone into laying the groundwork for such a complex transaction and pulling it off. Seldom is there such a gratifying win-win situation all around. The town wins, the landowners win, the wildlife along the river wins, and so do the rest of us in this community -- every time we open a faucet.
More like this story