More Trails are
Heading Your Way
PLC Acquires Additional 69 Acres to add
to the future
Caraway Creek Preserve
For the past year and a half PLC staff and volunteers have been building hiking trails on a beautiful parcel of land near Asheboro in anticipation of opening the land as PLC’s second nature preserve: Caraway Creek Nature Preserve. That plan just got bigger and better!
On September 30th, 2022, PLC acquired an additional 69 acres of adjacent land which brings the total size of the preserve to 167 acres. The addition will increase trail milage, provide better parking access, and protects a very unique ecosystem.
PLC’s Conservation Adviser and Inventory Biologist, Dr. Kenneth Bridle, said that the new addition was a key parcel to protect because it expands the site diversity: “It has areas of mature trees in a nice tributary stream valley leading to Caraway Creek and a few open fields that can make wildflower and pollinator habitat. My favorite part is the floodplain bottomland with lush wildflowers, native cane, and vernal pools for amphibians.”
Piedmont Land Conservancy has protected 1,064 acres of land in the northern Uwharrie Mountains, all within a 2.5 miles radius of the future Caraway Creek Nature Preserve, including portions of Caraway Mountain, Mt. Shepherd, and Ridges Mountain, the highest peaks in the northern Uwharries. This landscape scale conservation helps protect the ecological integrity of this important habitat for wildlife and aquatic life, like the six rare freshwater mussel species that call Caraway Creek home.
“We are excited to expand PLC’s conservation work in Randolph County, particularly with a property that will be open to the public to get out and explore,” shared PLC Executive Director, Kevin Redding. The future Caraway Creek Nature Preserve will be the first PLC managed, public preserve in Randolph County.
The land helps tell the story of thousands of years of history beginning with the Keyauwee tribe, Native Americans who lived along Caraway Creek. The term “Caraway” is an Anglicized name for “Keyauwee.” The land is likely part of or very close to the Great Trading Path, a Native American trail that stretched across North Carolina which became a primary trading route in the 1600-1700s. Patches of younger woods and planted pines illustrate the agricultural and timbering history of the area. Additionally, the State Historic Preservation Office identified multiple potential archeological sites on the future preserve.
Volunteer crews from Piedmont Land Conservancy and the Uwharrie Trailblazers are currently working to build around 3 miles of trail across the protected land. After the addition of a small parking lot, signage, and benches, PLC plans to open the preserve in 2023, during North Carolina’s Year of the Trail.
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