New North Carolina state natural area achieves milestone

  A recent 1,500 acre land purchase by the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and North Carolina State Parks marked acquisition of the first chunk of the new Bobs Creek State Natural Area in southeastern McDowell County, North Carolina.

Over the course of several years, a conservation enthusiast purchased 6,000 acres in the area with the intention of permanently protecting the land and allowing public access. The first 1,500 acres have been transferred through a bargain sale and are now permanently conserved. N.C. State Parks will own and manage the land, but not as a traditional state park.

Unlike a state park, the natural area will not provide visitor amenities such as campgrounds and picnic areas but will allow for low-impact uses like hiking and scientific research. The property was once managed by a timber company that protected several hundred acres as a “pocket wilderness” that was open to the public for hiking, wildlife viewing and camping.

Funding came from a variety of public and private sources, including $1.2 million from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, $1 million from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, $240,000 from the Open Space Institute and $4,000 from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina. CWMTF has also provided $1.2 million for the second phase of the project, acquisition of an additional 2,000 acres scheduled for completion this year.

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