Forks of the Little River Protected in Star

by Alicia Vasto, LandTrust AmeriCorps member

July 2, 2015

Thanks to important state trust fund monies and a partnership between the Town of Star and The Land Trust for Central North Carolina, the Town of Star is now the owner of a beautiful new passive park along the Little River. Aptly named Forks of the Little River Passive Park, the property is situated at the confluence of the east and west forks of the Little River. It includes good paddling and fishing access at the river. It was purchased in February with a combination of North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund monies and Parks and Recreation Trust Fund monies. The LandTrust worked with the Town of Star to apply for both grants. The partnership between the Town and The LandTrust was key to the purchase of this property, and will continue to be a vital relationship moving forward as the park is developed for enhanced public use. [Read more…]

Two Decades of Conservation

by Ruth Ann Grissom

June 24, 2015

In 1995, the year the Landtrust for Central North Carolina was founded, our state’s population was 7.35 million.  Remember those days?  Back when we bought CDs by Coolie and Joe Diffie (really?) and drove to video stores to rent copies of Toy Story, Clueless and Braveheart?  When we flocked to AOL for this new-fangled thing called internet service?  When we couldn’t even do a Google search?

Fast forward to 2015.  Our population is approaching ten million, an increase that seems as rapid as the innovations in technology.  During that period, folks have settled in the mountains and at the coast, but the Piedmont has accommodated the bulk of these newcomers.  The trend is expected to continue, even accelerate.  A recent United Nations report projects that during the twenty-year period ending in 2030, Charlotte and Raleigh will be the fastest-growing cities in the nation.  In the face of this development pressure, the Landtrust has managed to protect 25,000 acres across a ten-county region that straddles the Yadkin-Pee Dee River.  [Read more…]

The Disappearance of the Longleaf Pine Savanna

by Lucas Crim, LandTrust intern summer 2015

June 18, 2015

Once covering 90 million acres of the southern colonies, including much of North Carolina’s coastal plain and the southern Piedmont region, longleaf pine forests were a dominating feature of the 18th-century South. These forests were unique from any seen today due to the hardy, fire-resistant nature of the longleaf pine. Seedlings stick low to the ground to survive as fires sweep over them, and then undergo a growth spurt that quickly elevates their fire-sensitive needles above the flames. Fires would sweep through swaths of forests, destroying competing trees and undergrowth, and creating vast tracts of grassy forestland spotted with mature longleaf pines. These fires were mostly natural or lit by Native Americans to flush out game. The unique environment they left behind came to be known as “longleaf pine savannas.” [Read more…]

The Forgotten Pine

by Greg Cooper, LandTrust intern summer 2015

June 4, 2015

Shortleaf Pine savanna. Photo by U.S. Forest Service

Two long prized pine species have faced a drastic decline as a result past exploitation, a history of fire suppression, and a widespread transition to loblolly pine plantation: the longleaf and shortleaf pine. Currently, the much publicized longleaf pine is on its way to recovery thanks to conservation groups working with private landowners to restore these forests. On the other hand, the shorter needled counterpart of the idyllic longleaf, has not received the attention nor funding it deserves. The shortleaf pine, which was once considered widespread across a wide array of habitats all over the southeast and was highly prized for its form and wood quality, has now been reduced to half of its historical acreage. [Read more…]

“Squeaky Wheel” Warblers

by Philippa Tanford, LandTrust intern summer 2015

May 20, 2015

Photo by William H. Majoros

Have you heard what sounds like a rusty bicycle making its way through the forest recently? That “squeaky wheel” is the signature sound of the Black-and-white Warbler, Mniotilta varia, a migrating songbird and summer resident in the deciduous and mixed forests of North Carolina and much of the Eastern United States. One of the earliest arrivals during spring migration, the sound of their song is a sure sign that summer is around the corner. [Read more…]