Conservation Success Stories
North Carolina has one of the most diverse natural environments in the nation, stretching from the mountains to the sea. Many partners are working to conserve these resources for future generations, resulting in a number of success stories. The N.C Natural Heritage Program plays a valuable role in the successful protection of some of our state’s most unique and special places.
Sandy Run Savannas State Natural Area
[include photos, such as: Asclepias lanceolata 2006-6-16a RJL.JPG, Calopogon tuberosus flowers Sandy Run Savanna E Corey.JPG, Carex lutea spikelets by Misty Buchanan.JPG; Sandy Run Swamp by Amin Davis, Haws Run-scrape by ditch]
Sandy Run Savannas State Natural Area, owned by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, protects almost 2,500 acres of savannas, swamps and pocosins in western Onslow and northeastern Pender counties. The project area, which lies between Camp Lejeune and Holly Shelter Gameland, encompasses several miles of the blackwater Sandy Run Swamp and Shelter Swamp Creek, part of the relatively pristine Holly Shelter Creek watershed.
Home to many unique species
Sandy Run lies within one of the largest, nearly contiguous natural areas in North Carolina.
The work of many partners
State, federal and private organizations worked together with interested landowners to achieve this conservation success.
Arnett Branch Old Growth Longleaf Pine Forest
The largest remaining stand of old-growth Piedmont longleaf pine in North Carolina, located 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 that call this special place home include spotted salamanders, timber rattlesnakes and Kentucky warblers.
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.