Couple conserves private tract in Jackson

out easementA new conservation agreement finalized by the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee will protect 104 acres in Cullowhee from development, preserving it for wildlife, small-scale agriculture and timber management. 

The land, owned by Joan Byrd and George Rector, is the second tract that they’ve voluntarily placed restrictions on, preventing it from ever being developed.

“We both wanted in some way to help preserve the historical, rural character of Jackson County,” the couple said. “This is one of the fastest-growing counties in the region, and as the population increases, it is essential to protect the resources that people will demand in the future: farmland, clean water and healthy forests.”

The tract borders the Nantahala National Forest for 1,500 feet on the west side. To the east, it borders another conserved tract for 1,200 feet, which Rector and Byrd also own. It is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and includes 1.8 miles of forested streams. It’s home to bear, deer, turkey and forest songbirds. 

The conservation easement diminishes their property value, but is a benefit to the region and environment, said John Culclasure, land protection manager for LTLT. 

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to protect what we have, but when it comes to conservation there is always so much more to be done, and we only wish we could contribute more,” the couple said. 

The Conservation Trust of North Carolina helped fund the technical costs of the transaction.  

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