Forest Service awards $3 mil to NC conservation project

The U.S. Forest Service awarded $3 million to the East Fork of the French Broad Headwaters project that will protect 8,000 acres of working forestland, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a news release. The funding is part of $44.2 million in grants to permanently protect 16 working forests in 15 states.

Money for the project will allow for the acquisition of an estimated 800 to 1,000 acres of land for a proposed Headwaters State Forest, said Kieran Roe, executive director for Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

The property has been acquired in installments over the past few years. Earlier this year, in partnership with The Conservation Fund and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, the Forest Service acquired 1,319 acres of land offered for sale by former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor in the East Fork headwaters of the French Broad River. The Conservation Fund purchased another 786 acres in 2010.

The property will eventually be transferred to the state.

The East Fork property includes about 20 waterfalls, 60 miles of high-quality trout streams and nine rare Appalachian mountain bogs. The 107-mile Foothills Trail contains 50 miles of logging roads that will be used for recreational access for outdoor enthusiasts.

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