preserving a whole ecosystem

227 Acres Protected
near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Surry County

JULY 2023

The broad leaves of grand chestnut oaks wave in the summer breeze high on the ridge. Below, a small, unnamed creek spills steadily down steep slopes and into the Fisher River. Only a third of a mile northwest, tourists crane their heads, taking in the views along Blue Ridge Parkway.

This land, 227-acres, is now forever protected by Piedmont Land Conservancy (PLC), saving beautiful views, wildlife habitat, and water quality of the Fisher River. Sandwiched between two areas of previously protected land (Cumberland Knob Recreation Area on its west, and Fisher Peak on its east, where PLC protects 2,010 acres), this parcel creates an almost continuous protected space along the North Carolina/Virginia border measuring five miles in length. With PLC’s protection, it will always remain a haven for a wide array of plant and animal species and serves as a vital corridor for wildlife migration.

“The protection of this 227-acre parcel represents another step forward in our mission to fill in the gaps and preserve the unique biodiversity and scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Escarpment,” said Kevin Redding, Piedmont Land Conservancy’s Executive Director.

The Blue Ridge Escarpment, the area of drastic elevation gain between the rolling foothills of the Piedmont and the peaks of the Blue Ridge, is one of the most ecologically significant landscapes in North Carolina. The presence of large, unfragmented forests, headwater streams, and habitat for many sensitive species of plants and animals mean this land has always been a top conservation priority for PLC. This particular property contains a portion of the Fisher Peak Natural Heritage Area, which is state significant as it contains noteworthy natural areas, uncommon plant communities, rare species, and the highest elevations in Surry County. 

The preservation of this land also contributes to keeping our region’s waters clean. Almost half a mile of the Fisher River, which begins just north over the Virginia border, runs across the land, and the property has several, beautiful unnamed tributaries as well. Although a portion of the site was logged within the last 4 to 6 years, the easement will restrict future timber management and allow for the new growth to regenerate without human interference. Most of the site still contains mature forest, steep slopes, and very good habitat for wildlife.

The protection of this ecologically important land was made possible through the purchase of a conservation agreement which safeguards this property from development and other detrimental activities. “We are so grateful to our donors who understand the importance of preserving these irreplaceable landscapes,” Kevin Redding added.

Since its founding in 1990, PLC has protected 8,488 acres along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in North Carolina with a deliberate vision to keep the large natural area healthy and whole. With the completion of this conservation agreement, this land’s pristine streams, diverse hardwood forest, and awe-inspiring vistas will remain forever, helping to complete the bigger vision of preserving a whole ecosystem.

An unnamed tributary runs across the western portion of the land

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