Panthertown land purchase finalized

A 16-acre property adjacent to Panthertown Valley Backcountry Area has been conserved following Mainspring Conservation Trust’s April 21 closing on the purchase.

The land, which was privately owned, borders Panthertown’s western entrance at the Salt Rock parking area near Cashiers. Mainspring and Friends of Panthertown teamed up to raise more than $82,000 from groups and individuals toward the $195,000 purchase. That money was matched dollar-for-dollar by Fred and Alice Stanback. 

The Jackson County Commissioners covered the remaining balance of $31,700 to complete the transaction. 

“This project has really confirmed how important conservation in western North Carolina is to people,” said Mainspring Board Chair Chris Brouwer. “Individuals from all over the country have contributed to this initiative, proving what a special place this region is. We are so happy that, when they visit to hike, fish and enjoy that area, the view from inside Panthertown Valley will be forever undeveloped as they look up at Salt Rock Gap.”

The Friends of Panthertown will now begin preparing the property for more parking. Friends of Panthertown will cut trees and lay gravel to make more room for visitors, who had previously been forced to park on the shoulder of Breedlove Road. Mainspring will ultimately convey the 16 acres to the U.S. Forest Service, to become part of Panthertown Valley. 

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