Sandhills Area Land Trust Adds Tract on Cape Fear River
A scenic tract along the Cape Fear River has been added to the protective umbrella of Sandhills Area Land Trust (SALT).
The Southern Pines-based nonprofit has announced the addition of about three miles of contiguous buffer comprising 95 acres of riverfront protection.
Known as River Road Hardwoods, the project is located along the east side of the Cape Fear River about five miles northeast of downtown Fayetteville. It is also located directly across the river from the recently protected SALT-owned River Oaks Preserve, the Methodist College River Preserve and the new Cape Fear River Bike Trail. SALT reports that it forms the view shed for public enjoyment along the west side.
Owners of the land are identified as Earl and Betty Hubbard, Jack Hubbard, John and Carol Hubbard, Bill and Laurie Hubbard and Craig and Lynn Williams, of Fayetteville. Their property is designated by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program as a regionally significant natural heritage area.
"We are so grateful to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund for providing funding for the protection of this project and to its landowners and SALT supporters who share the vision of saving the lands that we love for future generations," said Dan Bell, SALT director.
Bell said the project is characterized by deep ravines, terraces up to 70 feet in height, majestic hardwoods, flowing waterfalls and flora generally found in the North Carolina mountains. He called it "one of the two finest examples of mature high quality mesic forest remaining in the Harnett-Cumberland-Bladen sector."
Waterfalls are something of a rarity in this part of the state, and the flowers, such as mountain laurel and galax, are likewise more common in the mountains.
The tract supports a rare plant, the eastern isopyrum (enemion biternatum) and a rare orchid, the lily-leaved twayblade (liparis lilifolia), a first for Cumberland County and one of a handful of populations known in the Coastal Plain. The land also sports an enormous population of state-rare sedge, known as James' sedge (Carex jamasii) as well as longleaf spokegrass (Chasmanthium sessiliflorum).
Bell said the project is also located in the portion of the Cape Fear River that is designated by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program as "Upper Cape Fear River Aquatic Habitat." That means it is an area known to support six rare freshwater mollusks and rare sightings of the federally and state-threatened American alligator.
Protection and preservation of lands along the Cape Fear River is among the major strategic focus areas of SALT. Through its Cape Fear River Protection Initiative, SALT is protecting the drinking water supply for communities along this waterway as well as conserving the ecosystem that exists from the Erwin Bridge in Harnett County through Cumberland County and terminating in northern Bladen County. The initiative is a landscape scale effort to secure riparian buffers of significant natural areas along the river.
SALT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to natural preservation in the Sandhills, encompassing six counties. Targeted lands for conservation include areas around Drowning Creek, Deep River and the Lumber River. It has also placed conservation easements in parts of Moore County's horse country.
Under a conservation easement, the private property owner retains ownership but waives the right to develop the land.
Since its formation in 1991, SALT has placed 46 separate conservation easements on more than 4,300 acres and has acquired 16 nature preserves. SALT now has more than 8,500 acres under its protection.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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