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Land Trust Day is Set for June 2

 
This farm is in a land conservancy land trust.

 

Mark Twain once said, “Buy land, they’re not making it any more.” It stands to reason, that if they’re not making it any more, then we should consider it rare and care for it as a collector’s item, making certain that it will be passed on to a new generation. In a nutshell, that’s what a land trust does, and why we should celebrate their efforts because we all benefit from them.

On June 2, for the 15th year, all Mast Store locations will host a local land trust partner to share information about their activities to protect land, watersheds, and family farms.

The operations of a land trust are often misunderstood. It is not a government agency; it is a non-profit organization that holds the deed in trust under the agreement reached between it and the landowner. This voluntary relationship includes the uses that will be permitted on the land in the trust, which can include recreational use, farmland, and even limited development.

"We believe in the work land trusts do in all our communities because we want to see children put their feet in the stream ..."- Lisa Cooper, president

While the landowner may benefit from tax incentives, we all benefit from having open space, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, and even cultural and historical preservation. Many of the greenways we enjoy are pieced together through land trust easements. Family farms are kept in the family by utilizing these organizations. Endangered species and ecologically important areas are preserved with these agreements. It could be said that a land trust speaks for the voiceless – for the gentle slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, which provide harbor for the tiny bog turtle and fertile soil for the Fraser Fir, which are endangered or species of concern, respectively.

Protecting farmland is an important function of a land trust. The efforts undertaken by land trusts and the individuals who have easements in the trusts help us enjoy clean water, fresh air, and local food. They contribute greatly to an area’s quality of life with spaces where all can engage with, and in nature, where we can recreate and reflect.

These land banks are a healthy component of the community’s economic well-being, too. From helping to maintain the cultural and historical heritage of an area, they help create a sense of place that is important to residents because of their attachment to the land and also to visitors because of its beauty. If you’ve taken a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the beautiful vistas or have traveled the winding road out to Valle Crucis, you’ll understand the importance of protecting our land heritage.Land trusts make it possible to enjoy nature.

Lisa Cooper, the president of Mast Store, shared, “I believe when my parents happened across an old general store in a beautiful and remote valley, they fell in love with both. They were able to save the store, and then turned their attention to helping preserve the special place around it.

“We believe in the work land trusts do in all our communities because we want to see children put their feet in the stream and to experience the magic of watching tadpoles grow into frogs,” continued Lisa. “These are just some of the reasons we partner with land trusts and support their work with 20% of our sales on Land Trust Day.” 

Land Trust Day partners include the New River Conservancy and Blue Ridge Conservancy in the Boone and Valle Crucis area, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville and Waynesville, Conserving Carolina in Hendersonville, Upstate Forever in Greenville, the Foothills Land Conservancy in Knoxville, the Congaree Land Trust in Columbia, and the Piedmont Land Conservancy in Winston-Salem. Stop by any store to learn more about how land trusts work and what new projects are happening in the local area. Your purchase on June 2 will make a difference, because 20% of the day’s sales are donated to our partners.