Driving on I-26 from Spartanburg to Asheville, right across the state line, travelers heading north experience the dramatic face of White Oak Mountain. This escarpment is both the geological and physical boundary to the mountains of western North Carolina, and forms the entrance to the high-elevation ecosystems of the Appalachians. The 125-acre Cecil tract on White Oak Mountain is home to the White Irisette, an endangered plant species. TPL purchased the property in 2007 with the help of a generous grant from North Carolina's Natural Heritage Trust Fund (NHTF). NHTF provides supplemental funding to select state agencies to acquire and protect important natural areas, preserve the state's ecological diversity and cultural heritage, and inventory the natural heritage resources of the state. It is one of four trust funds the state administers to protect and conserve land.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.