PILOT MOUNTAIN — Piedmont Land Conservancy has helped facilitate the largest land addition to Pilot Mountain State Park in more than 30 years, with a recent announcement of a 70-acre expansion there.
The addition will protect the Pilot Creek watershed, create a new hiking trailhead and provide other benefits to the popular park, which features miles of trails, camping, climbing and views of the iconic Pilot Mountain knob, rising over 2,000 feet into the Piedmont sky, according to officials there.
“We are so very glad that this has worked out for Pilot Mountain State Park,” Matt Windsor, park superintendent, said.
“Having this piece of land become a part of the park will mean that we can better protect the watershed of Pilot Creek, establish a new park trailhead access for the public, and hopefully link up with a planned greenway in the town of Pilot Mountain in the not-too-distant future. Hikers on the Mountains-To-Sea Trail would then be able to travel all the way from the Yadkin River to downtown Pilot Mountain without ever leaving the trail.”
In addition, Windsor said the park has received a commitment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for milkweed plants, allowing the creation of a monarch butterfly waystation in the expanded area.
Piedmont Land Conservancy received a grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to assist with the purchase. The remaining funds were provided by the state parks via the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a program that applies revenue from off-shore oil drilling leases and assists with conservation of our nation’s most special places.
The fund had previously expired in September after a 50-year history. The federal spending package recently passed included reauthorization of LWCF for three years and an increase in funding for the first year. Sen. Richard Burr sponsored legislation calling for the reauthorization of the fund.
Kevin Redding, executive director of Piedmont Land Conservancy, added, “A project like this is a perfect, local example of why the LWCF and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund are so important to our region’s quality of life.”
Piedmont Land Conservancy has previously completed land protection projects with Hanging Rock State Park, Haw River State Park and Mayo River State Park. Over its 25-year history Piedmont Land Conservancy has protected more than 200 special places, totaling more than 22,000 acres.