When George Rector and Joan Byrd bought their most recent property in Jackson County, the couple already had a plan. “We purchased the 50 acres for the specific purpose of protecting it with a conservation easement,” George says. “The added tract forms a contiguous block with conserved land we already own, so this tract enhances the conservation value of the entire acreage.”
The forested land is visible from Richland Balsam and other overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway and from neighboring Nantahala National Forest Lands. Protecting this property also conserves water quality and aquatic habitat, as its intermittent and perennial streams feed into Bryson Branch and eventually into the Tuckasegee River.
This is the third conservation easement George and Joan have donated to Mainspring in the last five years. “Our two prior experiences with Mainspring were very positive,” Joan says. “We appreciate the fact that they recognize that each tract of land and its owners are unique. Mainspring tailors each easement to fit the land’s conservation values and the owners’ desire to retain specified development rights.”
George and Joan are motivated to do what they can to conserve important areas in Jackson County. “The fact that North Carolina has a rapidly growing population is putting increasing pressure on the remaining natural areas of the state,” George says. “We believe that future generations deserve the same access to clean air, clean water and healthy forests that we enjoy in western North Carolina today.”