Three Rivers Land Trust finalizes deal to double size of nature preserve in Spencer

Published 3:43 pm Monday, July 26, 2021

SPENCER — Three Rivers Land Trust says it has closed a deal that will roughly double the size of the Fred and Alice Stanback Education Forest and Nature Preserve, which was formerly known as the Spencer Woods.

Three Rivers finalized the preserve’s expansion last week, which included purchasing 32 acres of hardwood forest and 13 acres of its own land. The existing park, which is about 42 acres, contains 2.5 miles of trails, and the added acreage will offer more recreational opportunities, a news release said. The expansion will connect the park to Grants Creek. Three Rivers Land Trust hopes to eventually donate the expansion land to the town of Spencer.

Travis Morehead, executive director of Three Rivers Land Trust, said adding land into the public trust is at the core of the conservation organization’s mission and the expansion will add to that legacy.

Making the project possible were grants from the Duke Energy Foundation and N.C. Land and Water Fund as well as the Wallace family.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to work with the Wallace family in order to conserve the land adjacent to Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest and Nature Preserve. We are so grateful for their willingness to donate a substantial portion of the property’s value to make this project happen,” said Three Rivers Land Trust Director of Conservation Crystal Cockman. “Conserving land is important everywhere, but it is especially important in urban regions. This project will provide wildlife habitat in an area where natural areas are sparser, as well as providing people in the region with a space for recreational activities like hiking and birding.”

Leo Wallace of Wallace Realty said his family is happy to help with the expansion.

“This project will provide members of our community even more space to get outdoors and enjoy what we have right in our own backyard,” Wallace said.

To learn more about conserving or protecting your property, contact Crystal Cockman at 704- 647-0302 or