SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Morrow Mountain State Park now has an additional 45 acres of land along beautiful Mountain Creek, thanks to a partnership project between the property owners, Ron and Nancy Bryant, the Salisbury-based LandTrust for Central NC and North Carolina State Parks.
Ron and Nancy came to The LandTrust as "conservation buyers" in February of 2014. They were interested in doing a like-kind exchange in order to purchase some land with conservation value in Stanly County. The LandTrust contacted a local real estate agent, Curt Dorsey, who had helped locate the right parcel.
"This property has over 3,000 linear feet of stream frontage on scenic Mountain Creek, a stream that has rare mussels and high-water quality," states Land Protection Director, Crystal Cockman. "The site is part of Stony Hill Church Hardwoods, which is identified as a natural heritage area by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program because of its mature hardwood forests and rocky outcroppings."
The LandTrust initially applied to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) for a portion of the funding needed to purchase the property. Unfortunately, that application did not rank high enough to be funded. However, at the same time, State Park employees were pursuing a grant from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) and did receive a grant award for a portion of the purchase price of this property. With generous financial support from Fred and Alice Stanback, The LandTrust for Central North Carolina was able to close the funding gap in order to add the additional acreage to Morrow Mountain State Park.
"We are grateful to all those who came together to see this spectacular property added to Morrow Mountain State Park, Stanly County's number 1 tourist destination," states Executive Director Travis Morehead.
Ron and Nancy Bryant say of their participation in this project: "When we bought the land as conservation buyers, we had hoped that the State would want it to add it to the Park, and we are delighted that we were able to help provide an expansion to the Park."
Park Superintendent Jeff Davidson states, "Morrow Mountain State Park is excited to add this new property to our park. Public lands inspire people to be good stewards of their natural environment and help to connect people with nature. This new property will help preserve a unique ecosystem that is home to several rare species including the Carolina Creekshell and the Timber Rattlesnake. This is the also the first piece of property added to the park on the south side of Mountain Creek, further protecting the water quality and the creek's natural beauty. We are grateful for the hard work by The LandTrust for Central North Carolina and for financial support from our local citizens as they have been instrumental in adding new public lands to the park."