Conservation & Stewardship Highlights

May 2, 2023

TLC Completes Transfer of Brogden Bottomlands

Brogden Bottomlands showing Nuese River by Rupert Hester

In 2019, TLC purchased the 1,120 acre Brogden Bottomlands in Johnston County with help from a generous private donor who extended a zero interest loan to provide the funds. This year, NC Division of Parks and Recreation purchased the property from TLC after recognizing it as a suitable site for a future state park and a pathway for the Mountains- to-Sea Trail (MST). The MST is a 1,175-mile trail system that runs from the Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks and connects to ten state parks. The trail winds through places like Asheville, the Triad, and the Triangle before turning south toward the coast.

Brogden Bottomlands is part of the ‘last vast wilderness areas’ in the southeastern United States. While TLC bought this property in 2019, we began focusing efforts to protect land within the Neuse River Lowgrounds, the larger region Brogden Bottomlands are a part of, in the 1990s. The area holds many unique natural features found in a few places in North Carolina and is listed as a Regionally Significant habitat by the NC Natural Heritage Program.

TLC consistently seeks opportunities to collaborate with local and state governments, and other stakeholders to balance growth and development across the Triangle.

We are excited to know that this land will not only remain a permanently protected natural area for wildlife but also a future addition to the scenic trails that display the diversity of North Carolina’s natural beauty.

Wake County Lazy J Farm Protects Vital Farmland
TLC recently bought an 86-acre conservation easement on Lazy J Farm with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Land Easement Program, the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, and Wake County.

This agricultural easement advances TLC’s goal of supporting local food production while preserving an active family farm in one of the fastest-growing counties in North Carolina. The establishment of the easement here will preserve the opportunity for agriculture in an area under enormous development pressure.

Almost all of the soil on this property consists of prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance. But the land has other qualities that add value to the community: rolling hills and pristine waters to healthy woodland that supports various species of plants and animals. The streams on this property make it important to conserve watershed health and protect water draining to the downstream Buckhorn Reservoir.

Manco Dairy Easement Protects 257 Acres

Manco Dairy photo by TLC staff

This easement is on a NC Century Farm, a program that honors longstanding contributions to NC’s rich agricultural heritage, in Chatham County that has been owned and managed by the Mann family since 1840. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services awards the Century Farm designation to farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 years. The farm is northwest of the town of Pittsboro, a rapidly expanding area in the County, with lots of new developments underway on its outskirts. With the Manco Dairy easement and the Harland’s Creek Farm easement TLC recorded last year, we have 450 acres of conservation land buffering Pittsboro to the northwest.

In a county with an average farm size of 95 acres, this 257-acre easement significantly contributes to keeping the rural character prioritized by Chatham County residents and is a key step TLC has highlighted in its Strategic Action Plan to support local farms that improve food access in our communities.

Enhanced Preserve Signs
The next time you visit Johnston Mill, Brumley South pond or Swift Creek Bluffs, you should notice the updated kiosk signage. New wayfinding signage at Johnston Mill not only helps visitors navigate
the trail system, these signs also include updates of notable species, habitat features, and historical information. We are incredibly thankful for donor support that funded this project. Revamped signs at Brumley South pond and Swift Creek Bluffs provide updated information about watershed conservation efforts and species highlights.

Our stewardship team and volunteers do an amazing job of keeping the trails safe, including keeping trail markers visible, clearing blocked trails, especially after storms, to make sure that all visitors can enjoy a refreshing outdoor experience. Always be sure to check TLC’s website for trail status updates before going to Brumley South or Williamson because trails are closed when wet! We look forward to seeing you on the trails.

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