The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust announced yesterday (Dec. 21) that it recently acquired 24 acres of hammock and marshes on the east side of Ocracoke Village adjacent to the Ocracoke Community Ball Field.
The property was donated to the CLT by the Ocracoke Preservation Society, a community-based organization dedicated to the island’s historical and cultural heritage, said Camilla M. Herlevich, executive director.
“We are delighted to be able to partner with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust in preserving this tract of undeveloped land, both because of its environmental importance, and because of its potential to provide islanders and visitors with an appreciation for the beauty and significance of a pristine Outer Banks marsh,” said Philip Howard, outgoing president of Ocracoke Preservation Society.
The property was originally donated to Ocracoke Preservation Society by Ross Lampe and family of Smithfield, Johnston County.
With this new tract, the CLT becomes the largest non-government land owner on Ocracoke Island as it also owns and manages the island’s largest nature preserve, Springer’s Point Nature Preserve, located on the west side of Ocracoke Village off Loop Road.
The Coastal Land Trust hopes to construct a nature walkway and interpretive signage on this land to enhance its enjoyment by the community. An additional goal will be to eradicate or control an invasive plant species, Phragmites, along one boundary of the property.
The trust said preservation of this tract is a critical conservation addition to the island. Conservation of the property protects habitat for bird species such as Seaside Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Black Rail, Yellow Rail, and Painted Buntings, and also protects the scenic view from N. C. Highway No. 12.
Lee Leidy, Northeast Director of the trust, said this tract will be a great asset to the community since it adjoins the new Community Park Ball Field.
“Ocracoke Island is such a special place,” she said. “We are delighted to be involved in preserving one of the largest remaining tracts of undeveloped land in the village.”
The trust received two grants that helped defray acquisition expenses–one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and one from the Conservation Trust of North Carolina. Additional funds of $5,000 are being sought for the stewardship endowment, which helps cover costs associated with the lands. Those interested in donating to the stewardship endowment can send tax deductible donations to the CLT at 131 Racine Drive, Suite 202, Wilmington NC 28403
A membership organization, the CLT works to save coastal lands for the benefit of all North Carolinians, and has helped save 65,000 acres of land in 22 coastal counties since 1992. The trust has offices in Elizabeth City, Wilmington and New Bern.
For more information, visit their website here.