239 Acres of Tater Hill Basin Protected (NC)

Charlotte, NC, 1/10/02 – Another 239 acres of the Tater Hill Lake Basin have been permanently protected by the Trust for Public Land as part of an ongoing effort to preserve this entire rare highland bog ecosystem. The lake basin lies at the headwaters of the New River in the Amphibolite Mountains, and the combination of underlying amphibolite rock with permanent wetlands creates a unique habitat which harbors two federally endangered plant species, the long stalked holly and Gray’s lily, and two species considered endangered in the state of North Carolina, the linear leaf willow-herb and swamp saxifrage. Tater Hill has been a state priority for preservation since the 1980’s, when it was first threatened with development.

TPL partnered with the Plant Conservation Program of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to buy the 239-acre tract from the Replogle family of Boone. The Replogle family has sold two properties in the Tater Hill Lake Basin to the Trust for Public Land – last February, they sold 158 acres to TPL. This land is now managed as an ecological research preserve by Appalachian State University, and the 239-acres just protected by TPL will be added to the preserve. “The Plant Conservation Program appreciates the work of TPL and is glad to be a partner on this project to protect these unique plants and their habitat,” said Hollis Wild, Chairperson of the Plant Conservation Program Board. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund provided funding for the protection of the property.

Studies currently being conducted at the Tater Hill preserve include: analysis of plant and bird life, research into historic patterns of forestation, and excavation of Native American and early European settlements. A study of the reptile and amphibian populations is also planned, as is a complete GIS survey of the property.

“We were delighted that the Replogle family chose to work with TPL again to protect this unique part of our state’s natural heritage,” said TPL project manager Maggie Clancy. “We look forward to a long partnership with them as we continue our work in the Amphibolite range.”

Tater Hill lies at the southernmost end of the Amphibolite Mountains, which are the focus of a comprehensive conservation effort among the Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, and local conservation organizations, including the High Country Conservancy. The two national conservation groups will work with local partners and interested landowners to acquire land along the full length of the corridor and create a protected area of several thousand acres. TPL’s efforts are focused on the southern end of the range, starting with the Tater Hill Lake Basin.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting land for people. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.2 million acres nationwide valued at $2 billion. TPL has helped protect more than 10,000 acres across North Carolina, from Mountain Island Lake to the Chattooga River. For the second year in a row The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, please visit www.tpl.org.