PAC director represents Blue Ridge Forever Group in meeting with Rep. Shuler

Published 2:07 pm Friday, September 11, 2009

Sally Walker, Executive Director of the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), joined fellow land trust representatives from the Blue Ridge Forever Coalition on August 25 to discuss conservation issues with Congressman Heath Shuler.

Walker thanked Shuler for sponsoring legislation to make the expanded federal conservation tax incentive permanent, noting that owners of more than 2,000 acres who recently placed conservation easement agreements on their lands with PAC received federal income tax benefits. &bsp;&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;

Shuler stated that conservation is an important issue, and he said that the easement incentives legislation was currently in the Ways & Means committee, which is also in charge of health care reform.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Blue Ridge Forever group discussed the fact that unless Congress acts on this issue, the incentive will expire at the end of 2009.

The Blue Ridge Forever contingent discussed other issues such as the Land & Water Conservation Funding, Forest Legacy, and The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blue Ridge Forever Campaign Manager Phyllis Stiles and High Country land Trust Executive Director Gary Wein explained the group&39;s mission of protecting 50,000 acres through voluntary conservation agreements and acquisitions before the end of 2010, with Wein stating that the group had collectively protected 37,000 acres so far.

Since Blue Ridge Forever&39;s inception in 2004, The Pacolet Area Conservancy, located in Tryon, has helped protect more than 3,000 acres in the Polk County and upstate South Carolina area, bringing PAC&39;s total protection to 7,000 acres for this area alone.

For information about Blue Ridge Forever, PAC or conservation in general, contact PAC at 828.859.5060 or go to; &bsp;