Jan. 16, 2012. Local nonprofit Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) adds more than 400 acres of protected land to Pond Mountain Game Land in northwest North Carolina. Pond Mountain touches Virginia and Tennessee with elevations ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 feet.
In October 2012, through a generous contribution from Fred and Alice Stanback, BRC purchased 128 acres at auction. Then in December 2012, after several years of negotiation, BRC purchased 281 acres including 3.7 miles of trout streams along Big Laurel Creek. This property was identified in the Big Laurel Creek Riparian Corridor Conservation Design as the number one “High Priority” preservation tract in the watershed.
“Completing these two projects are very important pieces of a much larger puzzle of creating a huge contiguous tract of land in northwestern North Carolina, northeastern Tennessee and southwest Virginia,” said Walter Clark, Executive Director of BRC. “Protection of these properties expands the Pond Mountain Game Land and helps unite the game land with the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee.”
The acquisition of this property will further protect several rare and threatened wildlife species including Native Southern Appalachian Brook Trout and Golden-winged Warbler. Funding to purchase the 281 acres was provided by the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Acres for America and Fred and Alice Stanback. Following the purchase, the property was immediately transferred to the State of North Carolina for inclusion in the Pond Mountain Game Land.
“Protecting these two properties is crucial for wildlife habitat and the protection of important water resources that flow into the North Fork New River,” said Eric Hiegl, Director of Land Protection and Stewardship at BRC.
In 2011, Blue Ridge Conservancy completed the five-year acquisition process of the original 2,000 acres which became the Pond Mountain Game Land.
“Despite the economic downturn, Blue Ridge Conservancy’s success on Pond Mountain leaves the organization optimistic about future of land conservation in North Carolina,” said Clark.
Hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing, birding, and cross country skiing are activities that make Pond Mountain a year round destination.
Blue Ridge Conservancy is a private, nonprofit, non-governmental organization incorporated in North Carolina that works with willing landowners and local communities to permanently protect land and water resources with agricultural, ecological, cultural, recreational, and scenic value. BRC has protected close to 17,000 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties.