A 1,488-acre tract along the Blue Ridge Parkway in McDowell County has been protected from development thanks to a conservation agreement with the landowner, a railroad corporation.
The long, linear tract is owned by CSX, a rail shipping corporation. A rail line on the tract will continue operating, but the property can never be developed or logged. CSX got $3.67 million for placing the property in a conservation agreement with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina. More than half was state money from various conservation trust funds, while the rest was raised privately. Land conservation philanthropists Fred and Alice Stanback and Bill and Nancy Stanback, all of Salisbury, were among the major contributors.
In addition to preserving Parkway views, it contains state Natural Heritage Areas and Catawba River headwater streams. The property also includes about 1.5 miles of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, the route followed by mountain militiamen during the American Revolution on their way to the pivotal Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.