Gifts of Land for the Benefit of All

Blue Ridge Conservancy received a generous donation of a conservation easement protecting 186 acres in Alleghany County.  Landowner Marvin Mann contacted BRC with interest in conserving his farmland used for agriculture, forestry, and recreational hunting. The land is located adjacent to Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

“I enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains; my goal is to preserve the beauty of this property through the ages for the enjoyment of numerable people forever and for the benefit of wildlife,” said Mann.

BRC recognizes the need to protect the rapidly vanishing rural landscape and farmland in Western North Carolina. Forestlands in rural landscapes provide valuable benefits, such as the protection of wildlife habitat for threatened and endangered species, and viable economic options for landowners.

“Protecting the High Country’s agricultural heritage is part of Blue Ridge Conservancy’s mission,” said Charlie Brady, BRC’s Executive Director. “We realize the importance of working lands to the overall economic health of North Carolina. Finding ways to protect the conservation values of our mountains while promoting economic prosperity is a priority for BRC.” 

Eleven other private conservation easement properties are located within a 5-mile radius of Mr. Mann’s property, as well as 4 state or federally managed conservation lands including Stone Mountain State Park, Thurmond Chatham Game Land, Bullhead Mountain State Natural Area and the Sparta Bog Conservation Site.  These large tracts of undeveloped land adjacent or in close proximity to one another promote healthy wildlife connectivity to support needs for breeding, feeding, and migration.

BRC works with its conservation easement landowners to conduct land management activities for protecting and enhancing a property’s conservation values.  A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land, sell it, or pass it on to heirs.  Conservation easements run with the land, therefore future landowners need to abide by the restrictions as well.

From implementing Best Management Practices to controlling invasive species, BRC can help landowners obtain the necessary resources to take care of their land.  BRC relies on its partner agencies like the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, NC Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Forest Service to provide conservation easement landowners, as well as BRC, with technical expertise and other resources related to land management.  Some of these agencies provide financial assistance to landowners willing to implement BMPs or enhance wildlife habitat on their property.

To learn more about BRC’s mission, conservation successes, and ways to become involved, please visit www.blueridgeconservancy.org.

Nikki Robinson