Nature Conservancy purchases major Sandhills tract
Fri, Oct 02 2009 at 5:03 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy today announced the purchase of a key tract in northern Cumberland County. The 1,263-acre parcel includes a critical block of longleaf pine ecosystem at the eastern edge of the Sandhills.
"We talk a lot about keystone tracts, pieces of property that are vital to an ecosystem," says Conservancy Conservation Director Rick Studenmund. "This truly is a keystone tract in every sense of that word. Several clusters of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers nest on the property. It contains the headwaters of Carvers Creek and includes extensive forested wetlands."
The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, which inventories rare plant and animal species, ranks the tract as nationally significant. It is one of the finest examples of longleaf pine forest left in the Sandhills, and boasts a rich variety of plants and animals in addition to red-cockaded woodpeckers.
The tract is also important for its location; it shares two and one half miles of border with Fort Bragg. Because it provides an important buffer to the installation and helps the Army in its efforts to restore red-cockaded woodpecker habitat, the Army helped The Nature Conservancy to purchase the property. It also shares a two-mile border with Carvers Creek Sandhills State Park; one day it will become a part of that park.
In 2001, the Conservancy purchased 1,173 acres in the area, which formed the core of Carvers Creek Sandhills State Park. In 2004, James Stillman Rockefeller bequeathed the 1,435-acre Long Valley Farm to the Conservancy; that property will also be transferred to the state park system.
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