Congratulations to the Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust for its most successful year in terms of acres of North West North Carolina protected from development.
We say protected from development. In an uncustomary twist of thinking, it is an arm of development in the region; although this may not be the intent of the BRRLT.
Still it can have the affect of protecting the heritage and uniqueness of the region while unearthing a resource some may readily mine for profit.
The land trust protects the most unique, rugged and -- by anyone’s standard – beautiful ground in this part of the state. It preserves it for wildlife for sure and current owners, for sure but also for visitors.
It does so without governmental restrictions on a grand scale. It allows current owners to decide on the preservation of property that for many of them have been maintained in families for generations. But not all of them are currently family properties.
In November, BRRLT protected 712 acres of the Herring Ridge YMCA Camp in Wilkes County. This project is a wonderful example of two non-profit organizations working together to conserve land, stated “B” Townes, board president. “Because of our protection efforts, Herring Ridge will continue to serve as a natural laboratory and recreation area for thousands of young people.” The Herring Ridge project was made possible by a grant to BRRLT for $876,550 from North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
BRRLT is also leading the effort to protect Pond Mountain, a beautiful 5,000-foot high peak in northwestern Ashe County. The Pond Mountain project protects 1,800 acres of beautiful ridgeline that offers a 360-degree view of peaks and wilderness in three states. Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust put together the nearly $14 million deal from various funding sources including a private donation from the Foundation for the Carolinas and public funding from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund.
360 degree view of three states. Some might describe standing on Pond Mountain as standing on the top of the world.
Such places are quickly changing and becoming unavailable to anyone covered by condos and ski resorts and golf courses.
It’s not that condos and ski resorts and golf courses are bad. They have developed and will continue to develop as a recreational spots throughout the region from which to enjoy the more remote places like Pond Mountain .
They will be a part of the reason people come here.
It is a delicate balancing act but we need to realize the value of protecting land to build our future.