Mulberry Creek Land added to Pisgah National Forest

May 19, 2015

A 517-acre block of land has been added to the Pisgah National Forest, The Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Forest Service announced today. The property is near Mulberry Creek in Caldwell County.

The Trust for Public Land bought the property for $1.707 million and sold it to the Forest Service for the same price, in two separate transactions. The first 318 acres was sold three years ago, and the final 199 was sold on May 11.

The Forest Service bought the land with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government's main source of money for protecting land. LWCF money comes from federal receipts collected by the government from oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.

"This was a rare opportunity to preserve an important tract of forest just an hour from Charlotte that protects the headwaters of the Catawba River and the water supply for millions of North Carolinians," said Kent Whitehead, the Carolinas director for The Trust for Public Land.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., a supporter of LWCF, recently introduced legislation to reauthorize the program, which expires at the end of September unless Congress acts.

"I have seen firsthand the role that the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays maintaining North Carolina's reputation as one of the most scenic and unique states in the country," Sen. Burr said. "LWCF is the best dollar-for-dollar conservation program Congress has ever created and has a proven track record of making good on their promise to conserve parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitats for the benefit of future generations."

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., also supports LWCF and this conservation effort.

"I'm extremely pleased to hear of the addition of Mulberry Creek property to the Pisgah National Forest," said Rep. Meadows. "I applaud the Land and Water Conservation Fund and U.S. Forest Service for this acquisition and am grateful for their continued efforts to protect our forests, wetlands and recreational areas through commonsense conservation that are essential to preserving our natural resources for future generations."

The Mulberry Creek tract is one of the largest parcels in the state's "Threatened Treasures initiative," which prioritizes the purchase of lands at high risk of development for homes.

"The Mulberry Creek parcel is a welcome addition to the Pisgah National Forest and will significantly enhance the Forest Service's ability to provide clean water, protect critical habitats and expand recreation opportunities for all Americans," said Kristin Bail, Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina.

The property includes the headwaters of Wilson Creek—a federally designated Wild and Scenic River—and the Johns River, both of which flow into the Catawba River, the primary water supply for many cities in the state.