What's in a Land Trust?

Land Trust Day 2022 is June 4


Land trusts are non-profit organizations that work with landowners and other associations to help save our land heritage, create open spaces, protect wetlands and wildlife habitats, and provide recreational opportunities for everyone.

Also known as conservancies, land trusts perform a number of roles. They may purchase land from or negotiate easements with private property owners. They may ensure that a small family farm is passed down to the next generation through the financial help of tax breaks. They may assist in expanding the boundaries of state and national parks.

Land trusts throughout the Mast Store’s region carry out all these measures as they make our communities more livable, generate local economic opportunities, and tell the story of the places we call home.

On June 4, all Mast Store locations will host representatives from a community land trust partner. To support the important work that they do, each store will donate 20% of that day’s sales to its partner conservancy.

Here’s a list of our land trust partners and a bit about who they are:

Oak Tree at Valle Crucis Conference CenterBlue Ridge Conservancy, Original Store and Annex – Formed in 2010, Blue Ridge Conservancy protects more than 22,000 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancy counties. Since then, it has created the 3,600-acre State Game Land preserve, helped Elk Knob and Grandfather Mountain state parks expand their borders, protected biodiversity with the establishment of several state natural sites, and maintains working farmland.

New River Conservancy, Boone – The New River Conservancy protects the waters, woodlands, and wildlife within the New River Watershed. The group emphasizes educating those who live in communities along the river’s three-state course about the importance of water quality in maintaining the river’s health and growing its economic and recreational opportunities.

Crab Orchard FallsSouthern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville and Waynesville – Established in 1974, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy today protects more than 75,000 acres in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. In doing so, it’s saving unique plant and animal habitats, such as the Highlands of Roan along the Appalachian Trail, freshwater sources, farmland, and pristine, natural landscapes.

Conserving Carolina, Hendersonville – This group protects 47,000 acres in Western North Carolina – from the waterfalls of DuPont State Recreational Forest to the rock cliffs of Hickory Nut Gorge. Conserving Carolina’s work has created new greenways, parks, and trails while restoring woods, meadows, and wetlands.

Upstate Forever, Greenville – Since 1998, the mission of Upstate Forever has been to maintain the critical, natural lands and waters of Upstate South Carolina. The group has played a key role in securing and opening Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, encouraged ecological activism and responsible community growth, and, today, protects more than 28,000 acres on 140 properties across its region.

Foothills Land Conservancy, Knoxville – In 37 years, Foothills Land Conservancy has preserved more than 140,000 acres of land in 47 Tennessee counties and across six states in the southern Appalachian region. The agency works primarily with landowners, who seek to preserve their property in its natural state or as a working farm, but it has also preserved more than 10,000 acres of land for public use.

Working the landCongaree Land Trust, Columbia – The Congaree Land Trust protects 88,000 acres of scenic lands, open spaces, farms, forests, and natural habitats across 14 counties in the Midlands of South Carolina. For 29 years, this agency has promoted voluntary conservation efforts that support the regional economy, promote healthy lifestyles, safeguard clean air and water sources, and improve the local quality of life.

Piedmont Land Conservancy, Winston-Salem – Since 1990, the Piedmont Land Conservancy has protected more than 28,000 acres of land from Central North Carolina to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Through upwards of 200 land protection projects, the group has helped create nature preserves and spaces for outdoor recreation, added significant acreage to state parks, saved Piedmont farmland from development, and preserved more than 10,000 acres of land adjacent to vital waterways.

Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, Roanoke – This agency protects 21,000 acres of land in Southwest Virginia, including areas containing the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Smith Mountain Lake. The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy also hosts events on preserved headwater lands to educate local students about the interconnectedness of Virginia’s waterways, which lead to the Chesapeake Bay.

Drop by the Mast Store nearest you on Saturday, June 4, to learn about your local land trust and the outdoor spaces it has conserved in your community! It’s a great opportunity to acknowledge their important work that helps us all enjoy nature, breathe fresh air, and drink clean water every day.

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