Ribbon cutting celebrates transfer of 92 acres to NC Wildlife Resources Commission

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 27, 2023

ALBEMARLE — Protecting natural resources takes all of us working together, from hunters and anglers to hikers and paddlers, and everyone in between. Three Rivers Land Trust (TRLT) has emerged as a conservation leader in the effort to transfer lands to public agencies for recreation and to protect water quality for our region’s wildlife and biodiversity.

To that end, TRLT celebrated the  transfer of a key property to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) on Oct. 20, with a ribbon cutting. 

Conservation partners and supporters gathered at the Tower Road entrance to the Uwharrie Trail at 10 a.m. and celebrated the transfer of a nearby 92-acre property from TRLT to NCWRC. This unique tract possesses frontage on Panther Branch and Barnes Creek, both designated as outstanding resource waters, the highest water quality designation given by the state of North Carolina.  

Travis Morehead, executive director of Three Rivers Land Trust, began the celebration with a few words about the project, stating that “TRLT is excited about this transfer to NCWRC because we are helping protect wildlife habitat, aquatic biodiversity, and providing additional gamelands for public recreation. Since 1995, TRLT has transferred over 8,600 acres to the public trust, and this new project just further confirms our commitment to expanding public lands.” 

Daron Barnes, Chris Dawes, Tracy Parsons and Cody Fulk were present representing the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Daron commented on the importance of this property for protecting rare mussels in these pristine creeks, which is the primary reason this property was so significant for NCWRC to acquire.

Crystal Cockman, associate director with Three Rivers Land Trust, also commented on the critical acquisition of this tract, adding that the “property was the last private land on the entirety of Panther Branch, so now this entire stream is protected, along with the rare species found in it.” 

After the ribbon was cut, the attendees took a short ride down Tower Road and a USFS road to the property. The acquisition of this tract and its transfer was made possible through a grant from the N.C. Land and Water Fund, and support from Fred and Alice Stanback, Jack Horan and additional TRLT donors and supporters.