Press release from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, local leaders and partners with The Conservation Fund will officially open Headwaters State Forest on Thursday, Sept. 6, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Carolina Point Young Life Camp in Brevard. The event for the state’s newest forest will take place at 2 p.m.
Speakers include former N.C. Congressman Charles Taylor; Michael Leonard, chairman of The Conservation Fund; Michael Murphy, Forest Legacy Program manager with the U.S. Forest Service; and Commissioner Troxler.
“Protecting the Headwaters forest land is a tremendous accomplishment for our environment and state. I am proud our department is a partner in conserving and managing this valuable natural resource for generations to come,” Troxler said. “Our forests and farmlands define our state, providing not only beauty to our landscape, but providing the essentials for life. Conservation of this important piece of property will go a long way in helping protect water quality in the headwaters of the French Broad River.”
The nearly 6,730 acres of Headwaters State Forest will be managed by the N.C. Forest Service with help from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The property will be a working forest with opportunities for low-impact recreation such as fishing, hiking and hunting as a public game lands. Headwaters will also provide a platform for educating landowners and others on the principles of good forest stewardship.
The acquisition of the land began in 2009 when former N.C. Congressman Charles Taylor sought out partners interested in conserving the land. Recognizing the opportunity to provide North Carolinians with an ecologically and aesthetically important piece of land, the N.C. Forest Service, partnered with Conserving Carolina and The Conservation Fund to acquire the land. Funding for the acquisitions came through the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the former N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy Program, which is funded by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Persistence, dedication and partnership over the last nine years allowed for the vision of Headwaters State Forest to now become a reality,” said Justin Boner, The Conservation Fund’s real estate director for North Carolina. “Headwaters State Forest is a landscape that will benefit North Carolina’s economy and environment for generations to come, and we thank our elected officials for championing the effort to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and our state conservation trust funds.”