The Coastal Land Trust has protected a spectacular piece of land along the Northeast Cape Fear River. A beautiful 282-acre Pender County tract, owned by the Owens Family, LLC, is surrounded on three sides by other conservation lands, and is the missing puzzle piece that will ensure that wildlife can roam freely to the river.

“That piece of land is not that large in and of itself, but its location is what is important,” Camilla Herlevich, Executive Director of the Coastal Land Trust, said in an interview with the Star News. “It was the only piece that was the holdout between the game land and the river. The reason that’s important is because the wildlife likes to get to the river for drinking, for migrating… It really gives 24,000 acres of game land access to the water.”

Herlevich said protecting the property also means that it will never be developed.

“It’s never going to become a subdivision … an industrial plant, wildlife will be able to wander down the Northeast Cape Fear River,” she said.

Strategically located, this amazing property lies west of the expansive 24,000-acre Angola Bay Game Lands, owned and managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and adjoins thousands of acres of privately-owned land lying to the north and south, which are already under conservation easement to the Coastal Land Trust.

This permanently protected property features more than 120 acres of bottomland hardwood wetlands along the Northeast Cape Fear River and fits in perfectly with Coastal Land Trust’s efforts to protect a forested corridor along this ecologically significant waterway.

The Northeast Cape Fear River has been a focus for the Coastal Land Trust since 1999, when the Thomas Family donated a conservation easement over 1,200 acres at its Five Eagle Partners Farm. With this new project, the 16th completed by the Coastal Land Trust in the Northeast Cape Fear River basin, almost 9,000 acres, primarily in Pender County have been saved for the future, protecting water quality and wildlife habitat.

Funds for the purchase of this most recent conservation easement came from a grant to the Coastal Land Trust from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.