PLC’s latest land protection success will improve access for canoes, kayaks, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts near the much loved Mayo River State Park. This project was the culmination of over 25 years of patient waiting and planning.
In 2016, Piedmont Land Conservancy acquired 354 acres of forestland along the Mayo River in northwest Rockingham County to improve river access for outdoor enthusiasts. The acquisition represents one of the largest the non-profit has completed in its 26-year history. The funding comes from Duke Energy and will expand public access to the river near the Mayo River State Park, a 2,187-acre site near Mayodan.
Duke Energy provided $1.1 million to help the Piedmont Land Conservancy acquire the land as part of early restoration activities conducted under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration process to address recreational and ecosystem impacts in the Dan River watershed following the coal ash spill two years ago near Eden.
“Duke Energy is committed to the long-term protection of the Dan River and the ecosystems it supports,” said Davis Montgomery, Duke Energy district manager for the Dan River basin. “Protecting these natural treasures is important to ensuring these resources can be enjoyed today and for years to come.”
Beyond the conservation benefits, the land acquired holds an interesting history to the region.
Pieced together in the 1950s and 1960s, the parcels acquired originally comprised 22 different parcels along the Mayo River. Two local businessmen acquired the properties because they wanted to dam the river and sell water to Greensboro, a fast-growing city 30 miles south.
That never happened. Greensboro built the Randleman Reservoir and eased the need for an additional water supply.
“In 2015, PLC celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary, and this property is one that we’ve hoped to acquire from the very beginning,” says Kevin Redding, the Conservancy’s executive director. “Given the property’s fascinating history, and the miles of river frontage along the Mayo, this acquisition will provide a major boost to the growing recreational opportunities available at the Mayo River State Park.”
For the past several decades, the property has been tied up in a complicated series of estates, trusts and other legal proceedings. But the PLC waited patiently and worked with the landowners because the non-profit saw what this land acquisition meant to the region – preserving Rockingham County’s natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.
This major land protection success will now allow more access for canoes, kayaks, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.