The North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF), formerly known as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, awarded Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) $1,064,895 toward the purchase of land on Three Top Mountain in Ashe County.
The 355-acre property is located within the Three Top Mountain Natural Heritage Area and will serve as a critical connection between existing game land managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. This project protects 3.5 miles of headwater streams and expands the range for wildlife habitat and migration corridors. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program defines the mountain as exceptional, the highest rating a natural area can receive.
Three Top Mountain is named for its three impressive rock outcroppings and is part of the Amphibolite Mountain chain. Located in Ashe and Watauga Counties, the Amphibolites include Howard Knob, Elk Knob, Snake Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Paddy Mountain, and Mount Jefferson.
“The Amphibolite mountain chain is a core conservation focus area for Blue Ridge Conservancy,” said Charlie Brady, BRC Executive Director. Three Top Mountain is home to an incredible abundance of biodiversity. We feel that it is our duty to protect these lands to keep ecosystems and their inhabitants healthy and intact.”
The grant received from the NCLWF leveraged $933,000 in private funding to cover the purchase of the property.
In 2019 the North Carolina General Assembly voted to rename the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to the Land and Water Fund because over the years its mission has expanded beyond the original focus on just water quality.
Since its creation in 1996 by the General Assembly, the Fund has conserved well over one-half million acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers.
Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) is a local, nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving natural resources in northwest North Carolina. BRC has conserved over 21,000 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties.
BRC’s efforts have resulted in the protection of scenic vistas, working farmland, rare and threatened ecological habitats and clean water resources. BRC assisted the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Elk Knob State Park in expanding their borders, established Pond Mountain Game Land and is spearheading the Middle Fork Greenway project to connect Blowing Rock to Boone, naturally.
Exceptional levels of financial transparency and accountability earned BRC a four star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations. BRC is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for meeting the highest standards for excellence and conservation permanence.
More information about Blue Ridge Conservancy is available at www.blueridgeconservancy.org.