from the Conservation Trust of North Carolina
A forested property along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville has been protected forever in its natural state. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) purchased the land on August 14, 2012 in a charitable sale from the Ferguson family.
CTNC intends to convey the Big Cove Ridge property to the National Park Service (NPS) for inclusion in the Parkway’s official boundary. The 33.85-acre tract between Parkway Mileposts 439 and 440, called Big Cove Ridge, connects two properties that CTNC previously protected and conveyed to NPS. They are:
Cove Field Ridge (87 acres, Milepost 439)
Richland Creek Headwaters (110 acres, Milepost 440)
All three properties are highly visible from several Parkway vantage points including the Cove Field Ridge Overlook. The property contains headwaters of Richland Creek, which flows through the Town of Waynesville (along the Waynesville Greenway) and into Lake Junaluska less than seven miles downstream.
The properties are part of a growing landscape of protected land in the area. They lie between the 8,030-acre Waynesville municipal watershed to the south (protected by CTNC, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, and NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund), and the proposed Plott-Balsam/Waterrock Knob park to the north.
“If Big Cove Ridge was developed, it would mar the scenic views from nearby overlooks. We appreciate the Conservation Trust for North Carolina stepping in to protect this wonderful property in its natural, forested state,” said Phil Francis, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent.
“The more pristine we can keep our mountains, the better it will be for all of us and for generations to come,” said Phil Ferguson, one of the landowners. “My parents Mike and Judy Ferguson were proud that they could help CTNC protect Cove Field Ridge, and my brother Greg and I are thrilled that we could follow that up with protection of Big Cove Ridge.”
“People travel from all over the country to experience the Blue Ridge Parkway’s majestic views. The protection of Big Cove Ridge will ensure the integrity of the vistas, protect water quality in Richland Creek, and contribute to the growing tourism economy in Haywood County,” said Reid Wilson, Conservation Trust for North Carolina Executive Director.
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, based in Asheville, also protects land along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is dedicated to protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway’s natural and scenic corridor. CTNC has protected more than 30,000 acres in 43 locations along the Parkway. CTNC also promotes, represents and assists 23 local land trusts so that they can protect more land in the communities they serve. Land trusts preserve land and waterways to safeguard our way of life. We work with landowners to ensure critical lands are protected for clean drinking water, recreation, tourism, healthy forests and working farms that produce fresh, local foods.