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LandTrust readies ‘Save the Yadkin’ campaign to buy Alcoa land

Staff report

LandTrust for Central North Carolina is launching a “Save the Yadkin” campaign aimed at purchasing 4,700 acres and 76 miles of shoreline owned by Alcoa.

The land was made available as part of a relicensing settlement agreement signed by Alcoa in 2007.

Later this month, LandTrust will host public meetings to inform the public about ways to support the effort to “Save the Yadkin,” a news release said. The meetings will be at 7 p.m. July 24, 26 and 31.

The July 24 meeting will be at the Stanly County Commons in the commissioners meeting room, 1000 N. First St. in Albemarle.

The July 26 meeting will be at the Gateway Building in Salisbury at 204 E. Innes St., and the July 31 meeting will be at the Davidson County Governmental Center in the fourth-floor conference room, 913 N. Greensboro St., Lexington.

The Salisbury-based LandTrust for Central North Carolina is working to conserve 2,310 acres along the Yadkin River, South Yadkin River and High Rock Lake.

The purchase price for this land is $7.7 million. LandTrust and its partners have raised $5.3 million toward the purchase, leaving $2.4 million to be raised — “and we need your support,” LandTrust said in the news release.

The money raised includes a $500,000 challenge grant. For the next $500,000 raised, contributions will be matched dollar for dollar.

“There is urgency to this effort as the clock is ticking on the time remaining to ‘Save the Yadkin,” LandTrust said. “The LandTrust has until September of 2019 to raise the remaining funds to purchase the High Rock Lake portion.

“We must be successful in raising these funds and purchase the High Rock lands to be given an additional two years to buy the 2,390 acres on Tuckertown Lake.”

LandTrust said ownership of the land will go to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and it will be open for public recreation.

The land represented is privately held by Alcoa, but it has been accessible as game lands to the public for more than 30 years.

Generations of North Carolinians have enjoyed access to the property for recreational activities such as camping, hiking, rock climbing, paddling, hunting and fishing.

“Without this purchase,” LandTrust said, “these lands could be sold on the open market, and the public recreation currently enjoyed would be lost.”

More than 1.7 million people use the waters of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin every day, for drinking water, industry, crops,  power and recreation. Twenty-five public utilities draw water from the river.

About 8,675,171 people live within 100 miles of the center of the proposed acquisition including the metro areas of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro.

Acquisition of the Alcoa lands would conserve critical habitat, connect conserved areas and wild places, provide for clean drinking water, maintain access for the public and help sustain the local outdoor recreation/tourism economies, LandTrust said.

To contribute to the conservation project, contact LandTrust at 704-647-0302 or donate online at https://landtrustcnc.org/alcoa-lands-conservation/.

To learn more about the project or how you can support LandTrust for Central North Carolina, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or crystal@landtrustcnc.org.

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