Three Rivers Land Trust Purchases 500 Acres to Permanently Protect and Revert to Native Forest and Wildlife Habitat

Three Rivers Land Trust Purchases 500 Acres to Permanently Protect and Revert to Native Forest and Wildlife Habitat

Property includes sensitive bottomland hardwoods and upland hardwoods to be restored

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 11, 2021)

Greenville, SC – Three Rivers Land Trust (Land Trust) has secured permanent conservation easements on a total of 500 acres – including more than 290 acres of bottomland hardwood forest – adjacent to the Uwharrie National Forest in Asheboro, Randolph & Montgomery Counties, NC. The ancient Uwharrie Mountain region is home to some of the earliest Native American civilizations in the country. This conservation easement is made possible in part by a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund).

The landscape is part of the Barnes Creek and Poison Fork River watershed, one of only three priority watersheds in the Greater Uwharrie Conservation Partnership (GUCP), which is located in the southern, central Piedmont region of North Carolina. Poison Fork is an outstanding resource water, boasting the highest water quality designation given by North Carolina and home to diverse wildlife, including rare mussel species downstream. The land will be protected from residential, commercial, and industrial development and open to the public for Land Trust hikes and events, and educational workshops.

The entirely forested property includes mostly bottomland hardwoods, upland hardwoods, and some planted loblolly pine uplands. The pines will be harvested only one time to allow native hardwoods to regrow. Other than this one harvest, the conservation easement will ensure the forest is kept forever wild and that wildlife and plant habitat will continue to flourish.

The area is home to unique and rare plants and is a haven for timber rattlesnakes, which are frequently found there. The Land Trust intends to use forest management techniques, such as prescribed burns, to enhance forest habitat for the federally endangered and fire-dependent Schweinitz’s sunflower and the state listed Georgia aster. Additionally, the property is adjacent to the Uwharrie National Recreational Trail, to which there are plans to connect with spur trails.

“This project aligns perfectly with our mission to protect and conserve land, natural areas, rural landscapes, family farms, and historic places within North Carolina’s central Piedmont and Sandhills regions. Not only is this forest a part of the spectacular Uwharrie Mountain region, but it also has significant aquatic habitats, rare wetlands, and diverse forests, home to an incredible array of wildlife species,” said Travis Morehead, Executive Director of the Land Trust. “If we don’t act now to conserve the rural landscapes and natural areas in the region, these special places, and the species that call them home, will not survive. We are grateful to Enviva for their conservation partnership.”

“Congratulations to Three Rivers Land Trust on this conservation effort,” said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President of the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Combined with numerous projects in this important and culturally-significant area, the conservation easements that will preserve this property will help bring back the natural, native beauty and biodiversity of this region. The conservation work that the Land Trust is doing is critical to the health and future of species habitat as well as the watershed’s contribution of clean water to the surrounding communities.”

The Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for forest and habitat conservation in the US Southeast. More than five years into the planned 10-year partnership, 20 projects have been funded with a total commitment approaching $2.3million, including today’s announcement. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 27,000 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.


About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund

The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva Holdings, LP in December 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. Administered by the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund awards grants annually to nonprofit organizations and government agencies for conservation projects. Learn more at

About Three Rivers Land Trust

Three Rivers Land Trust works with private landowners and public agencies to conserve the most important natural, scenic, agricultural, and historic places in a 15-county region of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Since 1995, the Land Trust has worked to offer reasonable and attractive options to landowners who want to conserve their lands for future generations to enjoy. Our mission is to work thoughtfully and selectively with property owners to conserve our lands, vistas, and the essential nature of our region. For more information about how you can become a supporting member of Three Rivers Land Trust, please contact the Land Trust at 704-647-0302 or or visit their website at

About the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities:

The US Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. To learn more about the Endowment, please visit our website at

For more information, contact: Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President, (205) 792-8650,

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