The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee has saved a key tract from development along the Little Tennessee River near Cowee Mound.
The Land Trust bought three acres that were being marketed for an RV park. The low-lying land, which sits between N.C. 28 and the river, has 900 feet of river frontage and lies directly across the river from the Cowee Mound.
“This is a great acquisition that will support a community vision of heritage-based development in this historic landscape,” said LTLT’s Sharon Fouts Taylor. “With some modest investment it can provide a safe place for people to pull of the highway, park, and view the river and the mound.”
The purchase was made possible by a gift from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, key philanthropists for land preservation in the mountains.
In 2007, Cowee Mound itself was protected by LTLT in partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the state, now augmented by the protection of a near-by parcel.
The ancient Cowee Mound was at the heart of the principal commercial and diplomatic town of the mountain Cherokee in the decades leading up to the American Revolution. A council house on the mound seated hundreds. In the mid-18th century, Cowee was at the geopolitical center of the South due to its position in the principal trade route through the southern mountains into the interior of the continent.
An 1837 map of Cowee shows a bridge crossing the river at the site of LTLT’s new purchase.
“When the river was low during the severe drought two years ago, large squared boulders that must have buttressed that bridge were clearly evident in the river channel between this parcel and the mound on the opposite bank,” said Paul Carlson, LTLT’s Executive Director. “The Little Tennessee River and the largely-intact historic landscape of northern Macon County are the greatest local assets we have for future economic development as well as for enhancing the fine quality of life we enjoy in this area.”
www.ltlt.org or 828.524.2711.