Grants help PAC protect 200 acres in December

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

Through grants made available through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s (CTNC) Money in the Ground Program, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) was able to help four property owners in Polk County realize their dream of protecting their land through voluntary conservation easements in December 2013.

PAC learned about the grants late in the year, not until mid-October 2013, and thought that it was too good of an opportunity to let slide by. So, PAC began contacting several landowners who had been interested in protecting their land, but had not made the final commitment.

The landowners who were contacted were very grateful for the opportunity; the grant provided money to help landowners with the costs associated with protecting their land with a conservation easement, such as a survey of the property, attorney costs, appraisal costs and long-term stewardship needs.

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PAC submitted grants to CTNC on behalf of the landowners and all eagerly waited for news as to whether the projects would be approved or rejected. To the organization’s delight, all of the projects were approved. Then came the hard work. PAC had to complete the projects, all four of them, by 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.

PAC staff and volunteers and each landowner worked diligently with the help of many community members, whether they be attorneys, representatives of financial institutions, surveyors, employees of the Town of Tryon and Polk County or appraisers, to gather necessary documentation to complete each conservation easement which would lay out the future use and non-use of each property based on the landowner’s wishes.

After countless hours of work, all four conservation easements were completed, signed and recorded at the register of deeds by 2:03 p.m. on Dec. 31, cumulatively protecting another 200 acres of land in western North Carolina forever.

Each of these properties is unique with its own character, habitat and conservation values.

The protection of these lands ensures appropriate habitat for more than 100 species of birds (two listed by the state of North Carolina as special concern and one significantly rare), more than 275 species of plants (two listed by the state of North Carolina as threatened and one listed by the federal government as threatened), at least 15 species of reptiles (one listed by the state of North Carolina as special concern), at least 20 species of mammals and at least 10 species of amphibians.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission devised the North Carolina Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) in 2005 and these properties protect priority species as identified by SWAP: 12 birds, three reptiles and one amphibian.

More than 3,000 feet of two major creeks are now protected as well as eight tributaries to these creeks.

There is even a portion of family land connected to one of the original families that settled in Tryon, dating back to the 1760s, which has been protected as a legacy to the family in perpetuity.

The organization protected nearly 230 acres of land either by purchase or with voluntary conservation easements in Polk County and Greenville County, SC, bringing our total number of protected acres to 8,532. PAC appreciates all of those that helped make this accomplishment possible (you know who you are). PAC looks forward to another great year in 2014.

If you are interested in learning more about voluntary conservation easements, please contact the PAC office by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail, stop by 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon, or visit our website at

PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.

PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and our goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.

PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.


– article submitted 

by Pam Torlina