YEAR-END DONATION CONSERVES WORKING FOREST LAND ALONG TOWN CREEK
While others hustled about shopping and preparing for the holidays, Marty Lanier was focused on completing a very important year-end gift to the Coastal Land Trust, the gift of a perpetual landowner agreement (also known as a conservation easement) over his 57+ acre property in Brunswick County.
“I grew up camping, playing, and hunting on this property and have a deep appreciation for forest land. 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,” said Marty Lanier.
Mr. Lanier’s property along Slab Branch, a Town Creek tributary, is a conservation gem and 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 Lanier family property is a perfect example of the extraordinary conservation values found in the Town Creek/ lower Cape Fear Corridor, a focus area of the Coastal Land Trust from its founding almost 25 years ago. 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 rich habitat for wildlife, and the lands along its banks are equally rich in historic, cultural, and recreational values.
With this new project, 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. Brunswick Nature Park, the 900-acre nature preserve, which is 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.
The Lanier property, like Orton Plantation, and most of the other lower Cape Fear River’s conservation lands, is privately owned; its wildlife and conservation values are protected from development and are regularly monitored by the Coastal Land Trust. A perpetual conservation easement donation, like the one made by Mr. Lanier, can qualify as a federal income tax deduction. As noted by Mr. Lanier, “Placing a conservation agreement on my land made sense to me as it met both my economic and land use objectives.”
A grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund provided funds for the Coastal Land Trust’s expenses associated with this conservation transaction.