Sen. Brent Jackson Recognized as Land and Water Champion

DURHAM – Sen. Brent Jackson has been recognized as a North Carolina Land and Water Champion by the North Carolina Land for Tomorrow Coalition.

“Sen. Jackson is a steadfast supporter of funding for land and water conservation,” said NC State Director of The Conservation Fund Bill Holman, who chairs the coalition. “His support has been crucial to increasing the dollars available for this vital work.”

Sen. Jackson is one of three state legislators to receive this year’s award. Other awards went to Rep. Larry Strickland and Rep. Kyle Hall. Because of their work, this past year the General Assembly directed well over $300 million towards game lands, working farms, military buffers, local nature preserves, and parks and trails across North Carolina. These legislators also led efforts to restore funding for conservation programs that suffered in the previous economic downturn.

“North Carolinians benefit from these funds through new places to be outdoors—a need that became particularly important in the past few years,” said Holman. “All of us who value North Carolina’s natural resources owe Sen. Jackson gratitude for his support.”

Picture Caption: Representatives of the Land for Tomorrow Coalition recognized Sen. Jackson during a visit to Holly Shelter Game Land, one of the many natural areas that have been protected with funds from the N.C. Land and Water Fund. Pictured left to right: Nature Conservancy Southeast Coastal Plain Director Deb Maurer, Nature Conservancy Government Relations Director Will Robinson, Sen. Jackson’s dog Angel, Nature Conservancy Executive Director Katherine Skinner, Wildlife Resources Commission Legislative Affairs Manager Ashton Godwin, Wildlife Resources Commission Forester Casey Phillips, Friends of The Mountain to Sea Trail Board Member Tammy Proctor, and Pender County Commissioner Dr. Jimmy Tate.

ABOUT LAND FOR TOMORROW COALITION:
Land for Tomorrow is a statewide coalition of community leaders, conservation and wildlife organizations, and parks and recreation advocates with a common goal: increasing land and water conservation in North Carolina. http://www.land4tomorrow.org/

Rep. Kyle Hall Recognized as Land and Water Champion

DURHAM – Rep. Kyle Hall has been recognized as a North Carolina Land and Water Champion by the North Carolina Land for Tomorrow Coalition.

“Rep. Hall is a steadfast supporter of public funding for land and water conservation,” said NC State Director of The Conservation Fund Bill Holman, who chairs the coalition. “His support has been crucial to increasing the dollars available for this vital work.”

Rep. Hall is one of three state legislators to receive this year’s award. Other awards went to Rep. Larry Strickland and Sen. Brent Jackson. Because of their work, this past year the General Assembly directed well over $300 million towards parks and trails, working farms, local nature preserves, game lands, and military buffers across North Carolina. These legislators also led efforts to restore funding for conservation programs that suffered in the previous economic downturn.

“North Carolinians benefit from these funds through new places to recreate—a need that became particularly important in the past few years. That includes strong support for Hanging Rock, Mayo River, and Pilot Mountain state parks, Belews Lake Park, and the establishment of Dan River State Trail,” said Holman. “All of us who value North Carolina’s natural resources owe Rep. Hall gratitude for his support.”

Picture Caption: Representatives of the Land for Tomorrow Coalition recognized Rep. Hall as a North Carolina Land and Water Champion at the Piedmont Land Conservancy’s Shoe Buckle tract on the Dan River, which is one of many natural areas across North Carolina that have been funded by the North Carolina Land and Water Fund. The 850-acre tract will provide river access, eventually becoming part of the Mountains-To-Sea Trail. It will also become a key part of the Dan River State Trail. Pictured from left to right: Piedmont Land Conservancy Board President Will Truslow, Piedmont Land Conservancy Executive Director Kevin Redding, Rep. Kyle Hall, and Piedmont Land Conservancy Conservation Planner Palmer McIntyre.

ABOUT LAND FOR TOMORROW COALITION:
Land for Tomorrow is a statewide coalition of community leaders, conservation and wildlife organizations, and parks and recreation advocates with a common goal: increasing land and water conservation in North Carolina. http://www.land4tomorrow.org/

Prioritizing land and water conservation

Thank you to North Carolina’s governor and legislators for passing a budget that prioritizes land and water conservation. Funding of $48.4 million to the state’s conservation trust funds will benefit people and nature for generations.

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. The Land for Tomorrow coalition thanks our state leadership for building on the foundation of conservation funding established in 2021. By securing reoccurring funding, every generation now has a chance to have clean air and water as well as beautiful places to play.

Land and water are North Carolina’s most important economic assets. The four engines of North Carolina’s economy – agriculture, tourism, forestry and the military – depend on land and water conservation. Therefore, protecting these vital natural resources is essential to North Carolina’s bottom line – boosting spending and providing jobs.

Our state’s conservation trust funds ensure that the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are fully funded to be the safeguards for our state. In addition, these funds enable conservation groups to continue working with state agencies to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources, ensuring that both current and future generations will continue to benefit from all our state has to offer.

Thank you to the governor and our legislators for conservation funding of the following:

  • Increases recurring funding for the North Carolina Land and Water Fund by $11 million, taking the total recurring funding from $13.2 million to $24.2 million.
  • Increases recurring funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund by $8 million, taking the total recurring funding from $16.2 million to $24.2 million.

To learn more about the impact of the conservation trust funds and see your tax dollars in action, follow Land for Tomorrow on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/L4TNC – and Twitter – https://twitter.com/land4tomorrow.

National Trails Day

June 4 is National Trails Day®! Thousands of hikers, bikers, rowers, horseback riders, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts, and businesses come together in partnership to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails. Here are just a few of the amazing trails you can ramble on during National Trails Day and beyond.

  • Elk Knob is one of the Amphibolite Mountains, named for the mineral-rich amphibolite gneiss creating more neutral soils than usually found in the mountains, which leads to amazing plant diversity. There are several lovely hikes here ranging from the strenuous Summit Trail for advanced hikers to the Beech Tree Trail, an easy one-mile loop that is designed for children.
  • Chimney Rock State Park is a great spot to see waterfalls. If it looks familiar to you, then you might be a fan of The Last of the Mohicans. The movie’s final climactic scenes were shot on location here. Rumbling Bald, which is part of the park, is an incredibly popular rock climbing and bouldering area.
  • Carvers Creek is parkland including the Long Valley Farm, which was once the summer residence of James Stillman Rockefeller, a scion of the prominent family who bequeathed the farm to TNC. Although the park is still under development, it is a wonderful place for a stroll or a picnic among longleaf pine.
  • Rumbling Bald has a great 1.5-mile loop trail that makes for a quick and fun woodland hike, and watching rock climbers from the base of the cliffs. The trailhead is large and accessible (and features impressive views from the parking area), and the location is convenient to Lake Lure.
  • Nags Head Woods features a diversity of plant and animal life that is unusual to find on a barrier island. Towering oaks, hickories, and beech trees—some hundreds of years old—rise from the sand and create a canopy of trees more typical of the mountains of the eastern United States.
  • The Sandhills Game Land is a true natural treasure. It is one of the best places remaining on the planet to experience a fully functioning longleaf pine ecosystem.
  • Kitty Hawk Woods & Buxton Woods are now managed as part of North Carolina’s Coastal Reserve System. Right in the thick of the hustle and bustle of the northern Outer Banks is Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. The eastern and western tracts of the Reserve, separated by The Woods Road, offer very different experiences.
  • Mainspring Conservation Trust has developed beautiful public trails on most of their conserved lands (except for Rickman Store). The crowning jewel is Queen Branch which has a new trail for disability.
  • We can enjoy the Dupont State Forest because of teamwork in action. Thanks to the conservation trust funds, The Conservation Fund protected the land and The Nature Conservancy is working with the NC Forest Service to manage Dupont State Forest. Nestled in Cedar Mountain, NC, this is a great place to see waterfalls— several of the prettiest and most well-known are an easy walk from the forest parking lot. If these waterfalls look familiar, that’s because they were featured in the movie The Hunger Games. The forest has also become a popular mountain biking destination, with bikers converging on the area from across the country.
  • Take a hike in the Foothills! Check out some rambling trails on the Conserving Carolina website 
  • Trails are beautiful but they are also a path to cost-effective and long-term solutions that allow all people to share in the benefits of land, water, wildlife, and outdoor recreation. Hiking at Waterrock Knob –  conserved by CTNC and a consortium of land trusts including TNC, The Conservation Fund, and SAHC – is open for all to enjoy.
  • The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional network of trails, blueways and conservation corridors that will ultimately link more than 2.3 million citizens in North and South Carolina.

NC Land & Water Fund Successes!

Since its creation in 1996, the NC Land & Water Fund (NCLWF) has conserved well over one-half million acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers. Here are just a few examples of how they’ve helped protect land in our state.

  • Orchard at Altapass
    In the 1990s, the property was for sale and many people thought it would be developed for second homes. However, the new owners wanted to preserve its beauty and history. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) worked with the owners to protect the orchard by raising funds to purchase conservation easements, which included a grant of $180,843 from NCLWF. Together with the state, the property is now in permanent conservation easement and is still a working orchard. Learn more.
  • Waccamaw River
    NCLWF has awarded 10 projects, totaling over $9 million for projects in the Town of Lake Waccamaw and the Waccamaw lake and river system. This funding has matched over $11 million from local, state, federal, and private funds. Read more.
  • Chestnut Mountain Nature Park
    Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy made this park in Canton, NC, possible thanks to a $1.2 million award from the NC Land and Water Fund, with support from the Attorney General’s office EEG grant, CTNC, Pigeon River Fund, and more. Add this new park to your must-hike list.
  • Salmon Creek – Site X
    This site could hold clues to North Carolina’s oldest mystery, the lost colony of Roanoke. In 2017, NCLWF awarded a grant to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust to assist with the purchase of 995 acres at the confluence of Salmon Creek and the Chowan River. The Salmon Creek tract is steeped in North Carolina history and could provide clues about much of our state’s past. Preliminary surveys indicate the presence of 18 different archaeological sites throughout the property. Learn more.
  • New River
    With funding from the NCLWF, New River Conservancy works with landowners in Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga counters to replant and maintain stream-side environments. In Ashe County, Greater Lansing Area Development will restore over half a mile of the actively eroding streambanks of Big Horse Creek. Together, these projects will protect and enhance the trout streams and outstanding resource waters of the New River. Learn more.

Invest in Conservation for North Carolina’s Future

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. The Land for Tomorrow coalition is working with state leaders to build on the foundation of conservation funding. Every generation deserves to have healthy functioning land and water that are not only beautiful but also provide clean air and water.

We commend our governor and legislators for passing a budget in 2021 that prioritized land and water conservation. Our state leaders put our parks, game lands, forests, trails, and farms at the top of the priority list and we are thankful for that. This historic spending allocation was the highest since the 2008 recession and will benefit people and nature for generations to come.

Land and water are North Carolina’s most important economic assets. The four engines of North Carolina’s economy – agriculture, tourism, forestry, and the military – depend on natural and working lands and clean water. Protecting these vital natural resources is essential to ensure these economic drivers will continue to flourish and provide jobs for North Carolinians.

Our state’s conservation trust funds ensure that the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are fully funded to be the safeguards for our state. These funds enable conservation groups to continue working with state agencies to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources, ensuring that both current and future generations will continue to benefit from all our land has to offer.

In 2022, we are asking for our legislators to invest in our state’s future. With necessary increases in funding to the conservation trust funds, we will all be able to protect our state’s clean water, parks and recreation land, and farmland. Our state legislators alone determine the fate of the conservation trust funds and important legislation that helps our state thrive. Forward planning is what we’re asking for today.

Land and Water Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Additional Funding for Conservation Projects
Non-recurring funds to LWF for military projects and to help match the FY 2023 ENC Sentinel Landscape REPI Challenge proposal to the US Dept of Defense

Heirs Property
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports HB 367/S363, Uniform Partition of Heirs Property

Conservation Tax Credit
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports H323, Military Readiness and Rural Resilience Act

Restore Dedicated Conservation Funding
Adopt House Bill 372/Senate Bill 354 “Restore Funding/State Conservation Purposes”

Trails Funding
Land for Tomorrow support recommendations from the Great Trails State Coalition

State Parks
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC State Parks to open & operate new facilities and land funded by the Connect NC Bond, PARTF stateside LWCF and other sources as recommended by the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources

Game Lands
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC Wildlife Resources Commission to manage new and expanded game lands as recommended by the WRC

Forests
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds for NC Forest Service to manage state forests as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture

Help us make sure that our land and water is protected for everyone.

Ways you can get involved:

  • Share on social media – Share a photo or video about the land you’ve enjoyed and want to protect using #land4tomorrow on Twitter or Instagram.
  • Ask your friends to join – Encourage your friends to make a video.
  • Thank your legislator – Let them know we appreciate their support of NC land and water

Cooper’s Budget Works to Protect Our State’s Land and Water

The Land for Tomorrow coalition praised Governor Cooper’s proposed budget, which increases appropriations to the state’s conservation trust funds and provides additional funding for building resilient communities.

“It’s clear that our citizens want to protect our land and water, from the coast to the mountains. We applaud Governor Cooper for responding to that desire with a sound budget proposal,” said Bill Holman, NC State Director for The Conservation Fund and chair of the Land for Tomorrow Executive Committee. “Land and water conservation are important to North Carolina’s economy. In the last budget, we saw support for conservation on both sides of the aisle. This is a good beginning for another budget that protects our state’s natural resources for our communities and allows tourism and agriculture to thrive. We look forward to working with the N.C. General Assembly on a final budget that supports protecting our land and water.”

The highlights of Governor Cooper’s budget for natural and working lands and building more climate resilience:

  • Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF): Provides an additional $3,757,116 recurring and $20 million nonrecurring to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) for projects in state parks, the development and renovation of local parks, and beach access. In FY 2022-23, the total funding is $40 million.
  • North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF): Provides $6,842,470 recurring and $20 million nonrecurring to DNCR to support NCLWF grants to protect and restore the state’s land and water resources, preserve military buffers, restore degraded streams, and develop and improve stormwater treatment. In FY 2022-23, the total funding is $40 million.
  • Peatland and Pocosins Conservation and Inventory: Provides $10 million nonrecurring to DNCR for peatlands and pocosins acquisition and restoration to reduce carbon emissions and wildfire risk, provide flood resilience, and improve water quality. DNCR’s Natural Heritage Program will inventory Coastal Plain wetlands not previously included in natural heritage inventories to inform acquisition and restoration efforts.
  • Resilient Communities Grant Program and Resiliency Staff: Provides $762,825 recurring and $10 million nonrecurring to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) within the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for core resiliency staff, to expand the program to additional communities, and to provide grants, enabling regions and local governments to reduce flood risk and promote long-term resilience.
  • Swine Floodplain Buyout Program: Provides $18 million nonrecurring funding to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to purchase permanent conservation easements on properties currently used for swine production that are within the 100-year floodplain.
  • Forest Development Program: Provides $2 million in one-time funding to DACS for cost-share assistance to NC landowners to improve forest management on private lands through landowner outreach, tree plants, and technical support to adopt and follow best practice management plans.
  • Coastal Habitat Assessment Program: Provides $720,526 recurring and $122,500 nonrecurring to DEQ to establish the Coastal Habitat Assessment Program. This program will assess coastal habitats through site mapping, vegetation assessments, and observation of wetland changes over time.

READ THE FULL BUDGET HERE: https://www.osbm.nc.gov/media/2575/open

Land for Tomorrow is a statewide coalition of community leaders, conservation, and wildlife organizations, and parks and recreation advocates with a common goal: increasing land and water conservation in North Carolina.

Conservation Trust Funds Bring Success

Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the North Carolina outdoors. Here are a few great places to visit thanks to grants North Carolina conservation trust funds.

Mainspring Conservation Trust
  • You can’t go wrong with a springtime hike in the mountains! Visitors can take advantage of the most extensive trail system found on any Mainspring property. The Tessentee Bottomland Preserve is a stop on the NC Birding Trail with the preserve’s bird list at 129 species and butterfly list at 56 species and counting.

    VISIT: 2249 Hickory Knoll Road, Franklin, NC 28734

    Learn more about this beautiful slice of North Carolina history.

  • Spring means getting ready to dip our paddles in North Carolina’s waterways! Have you checked out the Deep River Paddle Trail and the Haw River Natural Area? Both of these areas greatly benefitted from the conservation trust funds.

    Learn more about these two natural beauties:

  • Asutsi means “bridge” in the Cherokee language. This short, easy trail (0.4 miles) offers a good family hike with a stream to splash in and rocks to clamber.
    CTNC

    VISIT: The Asutsi trailhead is on U.S. 221, 0.6 miles south of the U.S. 221 intersection with Holloway Mountain Road.

    The Conservation Trust for North Carolina recently closed on the Florence Boyd Home/Asutsi Trailhead Property thanks to funding from the NC Land and Water Fund and support from Fred and Alice Stanback. This protection will help keep this trail accessible for generations to come. Read more about the area.

Success Thanks to ADFPTF

The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) supports the farming, forestry and horticulture communities within the agriculture industry by supporting the purchase of agricultural conservation easements, funding conservation agreements and more.

Here are just some of the success stories thanks to ADFPTF grants over the years:

The 2021 NC Budget will Benefit People & Nature for Generations to Come

Thank you to North Carolina’s governor and legislators for passing a budget that prioritizes land and water conservation. This historic spending allocation for land and water conservation is the highest since the 2008 recession and will benefit people and nature for generations to come. When additional resilience money is factored in, it represents a benchmark for conservation funding.

“I’ve been at this a long time and this budget is one for the ages,” says Bill Holman, NC State Director of the Conservation Fund. “This is great news for nature and for people. Game lands, parks, trails, and communities that are threatened by flooding will all benefit.”

In a year with surplus funding, our state leaders put our state’s parks, game lands, trails, and farms at the top of the priority list and we are thankful for that. This is a strong boost for conservation funding that we can build on in future years.

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. Land for Tomorrow coalition members will work with our leaders to build on this foundation. Every generation deserves to have a beautiful North Carolina.

Thank you to the governor and our legislators for funding:

Land and Water Fund

  • $62.7 million for FY21-22 and $64.7 million for FY22-23
  • $15 million in nonrecurring funds in FY21-22 for floodplain projects, bringing the total for all NCLWF projects in FY21-22 to $77.7 million.

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund

  • $61.7 million in FY21-22 and $61.7 million in FY22-23
  • $10 million in FY21-22 specifically for local parks projects for persons with disabilities

Trails Funding

  • Creation and funding of the new Complete the Trails fund at $29,250,000, as well as the new Trails Coordinator position

Farmland Preservation

  • $12,970,000 in FY21-22 and $12,970,000 in FY22-23.

State Parks & Sewer Projects

  • $40 million for water and sewer projects in State Parks
  • Fully funds the operating requirements for State Parks that have been recently expanded or improved: $2.1 million recurring and $877,000 nonrecurring in FY21-22, and increased to $3.5 million recurring in FY22-23.
  • The authorization of two new State Park units: the Roanoke River Paddle Trail and Bakers Lake State Natural Area.

Some Highlighted Projects

  • $12.2 million for Pisgah View State Park ($9 million in FY21-22 and $3.2 million in FY22-23)
  • $150,000 to Blue Ridge Conservancy for the Watauga Paddle Trail
  • $200,000 to the Foothills Conservancy for Oak Hill Community Park
  • $4 million for Vade Mecum at Hanging Rock State Park
  • $550,000 for Mayo River State Park land purchase
  • $500,000 to BRC for Middle Fork Greenway
  • $50,000 for Northern Peaks Trail
  • $4 million for Pilot Mountain Bean Shoals Trail
  • $3.1 million for Rendezvous Mountain Park, which will be a satellite annex of Stone Mountain SP
  • $3 million for the Wilderness Gateway State Trail

Resilience Priorities
As noted above the resilience package contains $15 million for the Land and Water Fund. In addition, it includes:

  • $20 million to the Division of Mitigation Services within DEQ for the creation of a “statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint”
  • $15 million for a Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund at DPS
  • $15 million for a Transportation Infrastructure Resilience Fund at DPS
  • $25 million to Golden Leaf for a Small Project Mitigation and Recovery Program
  • $40 million for a Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund at DEQ
  • $4 million for a Dam Safety Emergency Fund at DEQ
  • $3.5 million to DEQ for specific DMS pilot projects
  • $1.15 million to DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management for the Resilient Coastal Communities Program
  • $300,000 to DEQ’s Division of Coastal Management for 2 time-limited, full-time positions to staff the Resilient Coastal Communities Program