U.S. Forest Service buys mountain tract

A 212-acre mountain tract that is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest has been acquired by the U.S. Forest Service and the Conservation Fund.

The property in the Johns River watershed was part of a 752-acre tract, Backbone Ridge, that was to be developed.

The Conservation Fund bought Backbone Ridge in 2009 and 2010. Funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund enabled the Forest Service to acquire the 212-acre portion.

The state of North Carolina has also bought 250 acres for a state educational forest at Backbone Ridge and hopes to buy more acreage.

The tract is visible from Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Blowing Rock. It’s been a conservation priority for its wealth of streams, waterfalls and forest.