A $3 million federal grant will help protect 8,000 acres of working forestland in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina from development.
The tract contains the East Fork of the French Broad Headwaters and connects to more than 100,000 acres of existing conservation lands in North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Jocassee Gorges Management Area.
The project will also expand public recreation by protecting the last privately-owned section of the Foothills Trail, opening more than five miles of trout streams to the public, and securing access to Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina’s highest point.
The project will also preserve more than 60 miles of streams and protect endangered plant species and other plant and animal species of concern.
The project is one of 16 conservation projects in 15 states that received a total of $44.2 million in grants. The grants are part of a U.S. Forest Service program called the Forest Legacy Program.
“Since 1990, the Forest Legacy Program has prevented the loss of more than 2.3 million acres of private forest lands for future generations of Americans,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “In an era of continued sprawl, this program protects land and keeps working forests working.”