Arnett Branch Old Growth Longleaf Pine Forest
The largest remaining stand of old-growth Piedmont longleaf pine in North Carolina, which is in northern Montgomery County, was purchased in 2011 by the LandTrust for Central North Carolina and the N.C. Zoo.
A very special natural area
This newly preserved tract is a unique forest, with some trees nearly 200 years old. Longleaf forests are a unique ecosystem home to a suite of endemic species, and dry longleaf pine forests are extremely rare in the North Carolina Piedmont. Some animals who call this special place home include spotted salamanders, timber rattlesnake, and Kentucky warbler.
The property was previously owned by the late Margaret Nichols, who loved the longleaf pines and would not let them be cut down. She was a naturalist and knew the importance of longleaf forests for wildlife. Many years ago, a person could ride from that property all the way to Fayetteville and never be out from under the shade of a longleaf pine.
The work of many partners
The N.C. Zoo acquired half of the 116-acre property, and The LandTrust for Central North Carolina purchased the other half.
How the area will be used
The zoo has been working to buy the property through its Plant Conservation Program, part of the state-owned facility's mission to provide recreational and education opportunities for North Carolina residents while also preserving space for native plants and animals.