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LandTrust transfers tract to U.S. Forest Service

LandTrust for Central North Carolina

LandTrust for Central North Carolina has transferred the 17-acre property known as the Dark Mountain Tract to the U.S. Forest Service in Montgomery County.

The tract adjoins Forest Service property south of Flint Hill Road, near Dark Mountain and buffering Barnes Creek. The Barnes Creek watershed is one of only two outstanding resource watersheds in the Uwharrie region. It houses rare species, including the Alasmidonta robusta mussel previously thought to be extinct.

A ribbon-cutting celebrating the transfer of the property will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 10 at the Jumping Off Rock Trailhead, 2410 Flint Hill Road in Troy.

The Jumping Off Rock Trailhead on the Uwharrie National Recreational Trail, a popular 40-mile hiking trail, is just east of the property. Jumpin’ Off Rock itself, a scenic overlook on Barnes Creek, is just up the road.

The stretch of road is designated as an N.C. Scenic Byway known as Flint Hill Ramble.

The Dark Mountain property includes 20-year-old hardwoods, and adjoining properties house longleaf pine. There is potential to restore the site to Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forest, as well.

“The LandTrust is excited to see this property added to the Uwharrie National Forest,” said Executive Director Travis Morehead.

The property, like all Forest Service land, is available to be hunted during applicable hunting seasons and for hiking year-round.

“This is a huge accomplishment and should be celebrated,” said Uwharrie District Ranger Michael Spisak. “This could not have been done without the long-term partnership between the LandTrust and the Forest Service. Since 1999, the LandTrust has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to add more than 800 acres to the national forest for public enjoyment and land conservation.

“t is important to recognize that the Dark Mountain tract was selected for funding as part of the North Carolina’s Threatened Treasures Land and Water Conservation Fund core program among many other properties across the Southern region and nationally.”

The transaction was made possible by money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The funding is derived from royalties paid by private gas companies that are extracting oil and minerals from federal waters in the outer continental shelf.

The fund supports acquisition of land and conservation easements to protect important game lands, national parks, trails, historic monuments, watershed protection, recreational access and vital forestland and resources.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr applauded the new acquisition.

“I’m glad to see that more of North Carolina’s beautiful forests will be available for folks to hike and enjoy,” Burr said. “This investment demonstrates the vital role the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays in ensuring our nation’s parks, trails and backwoods are available and open to all. The LWCF is one of the nation’s most successful conservation programs, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to reauthorize it on a permanent basis before the end of this year.”

LandTrust for Central North Carolina operates in a 10-county region in the central Piedmont. To learn more about how to conserve property, visit www.landtrustcnc.org.

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

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