A Brunswick County landowner has granted a conservation easement over more than 57 acres to the Coastal Land Trust, the organization announced Thursday.
“I grew up camping, playing, and hunting on this property and have a deep appreciation for forest land," said Marty Lanier, whose property lies along a tributary of Town Creek, in a news release. "I inherited this land from my father who took care of it, now I am taking care of it, and I plan to pass it on to my son and daughter to do the same. The longleaf pine forest is part of our southern heritage.”
As a result of the donation, the Lanier property, like Orton Plantation and most of the other lower Cape Fear River’s conservation lands, remains privately owned, but its wildlife and conservation values are protected from development and regularly monitored by the Coastal Land Trust, the announcement explained.
A perpetual conservation easement donation, like the one made by Lanier, can qualify as a federal income tax deduction.
“Placing a conservation agreement on my land made sense to me as it met both my economic and land use objectives,” Lanier said in the release.
Coastal Land Trust officials described Lanier's property, which is along a Town Creek tributary called Slab Branch, as "a conservation gem" that "fits in perfectly with Coastal Land Trust’s efforts to protect a forested corridor along this alluring and ecologically significant waterway. What makes this property particularly impressive is its stunning longleaf pine forest expertly managed through the years by Mr. Lanier not only for the forest, but also for the many wildlife species that depend on it, including the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker."
The Town Creek/lower Cape Fear corridor has been a focus area of the Coastal Land Trust since the organization was founded 25 years ago, the release said.
Town Creek’s headwaters rise at the edge of Green Swamp, and flow some 30 miles east to its confluence with the Cape Fear River. Its waters, wetlands and forests all supply habitat for wildlife, and the lands along its banks "are equally rich in historic, cultural, and recreational values," the announcement said.
The latest donation means more than 17,000 acres along the lower Cape Fear River in Brunswick County, including 7,000 acres along Town Creek alone, have been protected by the Coastal Land Trust, according to the release.
The release said Brunswick Nature Park, a 900-acre nature preserve that's now open to the public and managed by Brunswick County, is the most well-known of the Coastal Land Trust’s projects on Town Creek.
A grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund provided funds for the Coastal Land Trust’s expenses associated with the Lanier conservation transaction.