Grants to double the size of Spencer Nature Reserve – Salisbury Post
By Carl Blankenship
SPENCER – Three Rivers Land Trust received funding to significantly expand the Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest and Nature Reserve.
The existing 42-acre property will gain an additional 50 acres, connecting the reserve to Grants Creek. The Duke Energy Foundation paid Three Rivers $ 10,000 for the acquisition, and the trust received another private donation of $ 10,000. The remainder of the funding has been âprovisionallyâ allocated for the acquisition by the NC Land and Water Fund, with the remaining amount to be made available in early 2021.
The land will be transferred to the Town of Spencer after Three Rivers has acquired the property from a private owner and added to the existing park.
Crystal Cockman, director of preservation for Three Rivers Land Trust, said the trust has a conservation easement over the existing park with the city to preserve it. Funding for the initial purchase was in honor of the Stanbacks, notable local philanthropists, and collected from a number of private donors. Cockman said it’s unique to have an intact, undeveloped natural community with as much biodiversity as the park near a city center.
Cockman said the land trust tries to maintain and improve habitats. He did a natural heritage inventory in the area this spring and found a rare plant species in the park as well as a number of native species, such as wild ginger and Jack-in-the-pulpit.
An intern from Catawba College also did an invasive species inventory, and the trust asked goats who volunteered to feast on kudzu in the park to prune the vines.
The current park has approximately 2.5 miles of trails. The addition will allow the construction of more trails as well as access to the creek so that residents can cast off for canoe or kayak expeditions.
A passive park means that the intention is to minimize human intervention by not cutting trees or having many structures.
âWe are trying to keep it in its natural state,â Cockman said, adding that the nearby town of Salisbury has always been the home of the trust. Having amenities nearby for everyone in the county is a great resource, she said. Cockman hiked the park’s trails on Tuesday for National Hiking Day.
Spencer’s Mayor Jonathan Williams said the expansion is a great opportunity to develop what he called a Spencer gem.
âIt protects important, undeveloped natural lands,â Williams said. âAs we know, in our municipalities, there are not many these days. “
Williams said the city wanted to continually promote its green spaces, including through a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation it was awarded to provide pedestrian and bicycle access from the Yadkin Trailhead. to the city.