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Conservation purchase complete in Burke County

The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina has purchased 322 acres in Burke County, completing the second and final stage of a 652-acre conservation purchase.

The 652 acres comprise the Oak Hill Community Park and Forest, which partners plan to transform into a destination for hiking, mountain biking, outdoor education, archeological exploration, community events and other recreational and educational opportunities. The purchase ensures permanent protection of a segment of Canoe Creek, forested uplands, agricultural land and scenic views of the Blue Ridge and South Mountains. Previously timbered areas of the property will be stewarded through forest restoration projects to create new opportunities for forest management education. 

Originally a 913-acre parcel, the land was managed for timber production, private hunting and agriculture. In 2015, it was sold to a land investment partnership, and by 2018, the property was being subdivided and sold.

With the purchase complete, the land trust will now work to develop a park master plan with assistance from Destination by Design. The process will include opportunity for public input and feedback. Foothills Conservancy also hired EcoForesters, a nonprofit professional forestry organization, to complete a Community Forest Plan. A combination of private donations and grants made the purchase possible. 

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