The Transylvania Times -

Proposed Headwaters State Park Gets $3 Million Grant - Brevard NC


Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced Friday that the proposed Headwaters State Park located at the East Fork of the French Broad River was the recipient of a

$3 million grant.

According to the news release, the East Fork of the French Broad Headwaters project will protect 8,000 acres of working forestland.

This tract connects to more than 100,000 acres of existing conservation lands in North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Jocassee Gorges Management Area, S.C., a 2001 Forest Legacy Program acquisition.

The project will expand the opportunities for public recreation by protecting the last privately-owned section of the Foothills Trail; opening more than five miles of trout streams to the public, and securing access to Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point. The project will also preserve more than 60 miles of streams and protect endangered plant species and other plant and animal species of concern.

The grant is part of a total of $44.2 million in grants to permanently protect 16 working forests in 15 states.

“Since 1990, the Forest Legacy Program has prevented the loss of more than 2.3 million acres of private forest lands for future generations of Americans,” said Tidwell. “In an era of continued sprawl, this program protects land and keeps working forests working.”

Private forest landowners are facing increasing real estate prices, property taxes and development pressure, resulting in conversion of forests to other land uses. This program protects working forests, thereby supporting rural jobs and economies.

The Forest Legacy Program, a model of cooperation between states, partners and private landowners, is the only federal grant program focused on the permanent protection of important private forestland.

The program promotes voluntary land conservation by operating on the prin-ciple of “willing buyer, willing seller.”

These grants support many goals set out in President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, including the need to support locally-led conservation efforts and enhance recreational access and opportunities.

Additionally, scientists continue to accumulate evidence that the warming of the climate is changing the odds of extreme events like floods, droughts, heat waves and downpours. Conserving the more than 2.3 million acres of private forest legacy program lands is one of a number of important steps the Forest Service has taken to help make America's forests more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Landscape-scale initiatives like the Forest Legacy Program are at the core of the Forest Service mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of all of the nation's forests, providing tremendous benefits for rural and urban communities.


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