Making a Difference
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina was formally organized in 1995 as an off-shoot of the Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes Project. The founding Board of Directors saw the need for a land conservation organization to compliment the sustainable development work of the Project. Thanks to seed money offered by several individuals and local foundations, The LandTrust was quickly moving forward. Jeff Michael, a Stanly County native, was hired as the organization's first Executive Director. Later that year the Cooleemee Plantation became the first property protected through the use of a conservation easement.
For the next few years The LandTrust grew into a larger, more sophisticated group with lots of projects on its horizon. Tremendous projects like the preservation of the Wesfell Preserve in Stanly County, acquisition of the Catawba College South Yadkin Wildlife Refuge, implementation of ambitious projects like the Grant's Creek Project and others were falling into place.
In 2001, upon the departure of Jeff Michael, Jason Walser was promoted to Executive Director. Since that time The LandTrust has crossed many thresholds as an organization. In late 2004, the 10,000th acre was protected. During his tenure, staff and Board members have refined the organization's focus to place a major emphasis on the Two Rivers Preserve located along the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers, and the Uwharrie Mountain region. Additionally, the protection of working farm lands has continued throughout the ten county region.
Today, The LandTrust faces another important crossroad. With original Board members completing their terms and incredible opportunities awaiting, The LandTrust stands poised to protect an additional 10-15,000 acres in the coming years. Many of the opportunities currently presenting themselves will represent the last chance to ever protect these few remaining large tracts of land in the Piedmont.