As far as early Christmas presents go, the one the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina received in 2023 was truly incredible.
On Dec. 23, the organization was given a donation of 120 acres of land among the Brushy Mountains. In addition to abundant trees and lush grassland, the property boasts almost a mile of headwater streams of the Muddy Fork tributary, according to ABC 13 News.
Larry Sorkin, who has owned the protected land for almost five decades, was the generous donor, and he said the property, which is located less than three miles from the Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area, has provided “no end of wonder.”
“I’m grateful and want to return the favor by offering it the protection it deserves,” he said, per ABC 13. “I’m thankful that Foothills Conservancy is proving to be the perfect partner in achieving that end.”
The easement agreement means Sorkin can keep the land in his name but will receive assistance from the Foothills Conservancy in monitoring the property. Sorkin will also prevent developments or subdivisions from being granted that would disrupt or destroy the surrounding environment.
“We deeply appreciate Larry’s commitment to environmental conservation,” Andrew Kota, Foothills Conservancy executive director, told ABC 13. “This property has tremendous environmental value and will allow us to protect more of the Lower Little River and several peaks of the Brushy Mountains in Alexander County.”
Donations like these can be a real lifeline for a state’s natural resources, keeping land out of private hands to ensure that these spots remain untouched for the benefit of local wildlife and to stop the destruction of vital trees and green spaces – which are essential in the battle against global heating.
In Texas, a similar gift has been given recently, with the Collins family signing an easement with the Texas Nature Conservancy for 531 acres in Williamson County, north of Austin.
Outside of the U.S., Kris Tompkins handed over $345 million worth of land she bought with late husband Doug Tompkins to the Chilean and Argentinian public, ensuring 14.7 million acres and 30 million marine acres will be protected for 99 years.
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