Last Updated on July 28, 2021 6:19 pm
Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently transferred 615 acres of land to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to become part of Three Top Mountain Game Land. With this transfer, BRC has conserved 1,000 acres at Three Top, bringing the total area to over 3,100 acres of protected land.
Important for conservation due to its biodiversity, and designated as “exceptional” by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the Three Top Mountain Game Land addition includes over three miles of headwater streams of the North Fork New River and expands the protected range for wildlife habitat and migration corridors. The additional acreage also includes a new public access for recreational opportunities such as hiking, birding, and hunting.
“Acquiring land for public access and ecological protection has always been a priority for Blue Ridge Conservancy,” says BRC Executive Director Charlie Brady. “The significant expansion of Three Top Mountain Game Land provides permanent protection of large forested tracts which are important in providing climate resiliency for many species.”
NCWRC’s Northern Mountains Land Management Biologist Paul Thompson agrees: “The NCWRC is excited about the new addition to Three Top Mountain Game Land not only for the conservation value, but for the additional opportunities it will provide for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. We look forward to our continued partnership with Blue Ridge Conservancy to conserve and manage these naturally significant areas of Western North Carolina.”
Brady also notes that the Game Land expansion sets up a strategic piece for an upcoming BRC project: “This property provides a future corridor for the Northern Peaks Trail, our new State Trail that will connect the towns of Boone and West Jefferson.”
Three Top Mountain, named for its trio of prominent rock outcroppings, is part of the Amphibolite Mountain range. Located in Ashe and Watauga counties, the Amphibolites also include Howards Knob, Elk Knob, Snake Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Paddy Mountain, and Mount Jefferson.