The Catawba Lands Conservancy has protected 68 acres along Gum Branch Creek in Mecklenburg County and the South Fork Catawba River in Lincoln County.
The city of Charlotte donated to the conservancy an easement on 46 acres of forest on Gum Branch, a tributary of the Catawba River, as part of the city’s effort to protect its tree canopy.
The land will become part of the future Gum Branch Greenway, for which Mecklenburg County has already acquired 47 acres.
“Any time we can preserve some of the limited remaining natural space in Mecklenburg County, it’s a significant accomplishment,” said Tom Okel, the conservancy’s executive director. “Located near numerous residential developments, this plot of green space will provide residents with access to the outdoors, while also contributing to Charlotte’s treasured tree canopy.”
The conservancy also recently protected 22 acres on N.C. 150 in Lincolnton with a grant from the state Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The easement protects about a half-mile of property along the South Fork Catawba River.
The property will extend the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of hiking and biking trails, by one-half mile to the existing South Fork Rail Trail. It will eventually connect to the nearby Marcia Cloninger Rail Trail.
The landowners, Carpenter Property Group LLC, will permit construction of a future trailhead parking lot on N.C. 150. The Carpenter property expands the conservancy’s 440-acre Historic Rhyne Conservation Area, a state-recognized natural area along the South Fork.
The Catawba Lands Conservancy has protected more than 15,000 acres in Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Union counties.