News About Homes and Land for Sale in Brevard NC and Western North Carolina
Breaking news in Transylvania County.. with an agreement offer 8000 acres to WNC Conservation from Charles Taylor
The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy announced today that it had reached an agreement to acquire the largest privately-owned piece of wilderness in the southern Blue Ridge Moutains - 8,000 acres in Transylvania County. Full announcement below:
[BREVARD, NC] Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and The Conservation Fund (TCF) announced plans today for the acquisition of the largest privately owned block of wilderness remaining in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Champion Cattle and Tree Farms, has signed an agreement to convey 8,000 acres in Transylvania County to the nonprofit conservation organizations. The forested tract, home to native brook trout, extensive timber resources, rare bogs, and stunning waterfalls encompasses most of the pristine headwaters and main stem of the East Fork of the French Broad River. CMLC and TCF are working to put the land into future public ownership and open it to public hunting, fishing, hiking and other multiple use management consistent with protecting water quality.
Champion Cattle and Tree Farms is a subsidiary of Financial Guarantee Corporation, owned by the Charles Taylor family. "The Taylor family has offered the opportunity to add another jewel to the crown of conserved land in western North Carolina," said Kieran Roe, executive director of CMLC. "The conservation of the East Fork Headwaters tract will yield many public benefits: permanent protection of a clean water supply, extensive hunting and fishing opportunities, a new driver for the local recreation and tourism economy, and the preservation of habitat for some of North Carolina's rarest plant and animal species," he added. According to Dick Ludington, southeast regional director of TCF, "Congressman Taylor's family's willingness to provide this land has made this acquisition possible. This is the last opportunity we will have to acquire such a sizable and significant tract in the southern Appalachians for conservation ownership ever again."
Conservation of the East Fork Headwaters tract will have a regional impact. The tract is bounded by the North Carolina/South Carolina state line for over eight miles. Nine miles of the Foothills Trail, a major east-west hiking path, winds through the tract creating a link between Caesar's Head State Park in South Carolina and North Carolina's Gorges State Park. The Foothills Trail Conference, which maintains the trail, has operated under a year-to-year lease on the Taylor property, but public ownership would allow this section of the 107-mile trail network to remain permanently intact. The acquisition will also protect the North Carolina section of the top of Sassafras Mountain, the highest peak in South Carolina.
The East Fork is classified as "Outstanding Resource Waters" by the N.C. Division of Water Quality, a designation reserved for rivers and streams of the highest quality and ecological significance. The East Fork flows to the French Broad River, which serves as a back-up drinking water source for the Asheville Regional Water Authority and is expected to increase in importance as a public water supply as regional population grows in coming decades.
The acquisition project will open up over 50 miles of streams teeming with rainbow, brown, and the elusive Southern Appalachian-strain of brook trout, the region's only native trout. Coldwater sport fishing is a key driver in western North Carolina's tourism industry. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission calculates that trout fishing generated $147 million in revenue for the area in 2008. The conservationists are seeking to open the land for public game hunting as well.