Foothills Conservancy adds 32 acres to Smith Cliff/Henry Fork River Preserve

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina has added 32 acres along a half-mile of the Henry Fork River in Burke County to its Smith Cliff/Henry Fork River Preserve.

The tract, known as the Cane Brake Property, is positioned between the Smith Cliff/Henry Fork River Preserve and the conservancy’s South Mountains Headwaters Preserve. The property is mainly forested, and also contains a 2.5-acre field, a few small rocky outcrops, a half-mile segment of the Henry Fork River and numerous tributary streams of the Henry Fork.

“We are excited about protecting the Cane Brake Property because it is an important puzzle piece connecting two of our conservancy preserves: the Smith Cliff/Henry Fork River Preserve and South Mountains Headwaters Preserve,” said Andrew Kota, stewardship director for Foothills Conservancy. “In addition to protecting lands that benefit the health of our region’s waters, we also have a goal of creating land corridors that benefit wildlife. Adding puzzle pieces between the two preserves works toward that goal.”

The Cane Brake property is located in the Catawba River Basin — one of North Carolina’s most important river basins. More than two million Carolinians from Marion to Charlotte and downstream to Columbia, South Carolina rely on the river for their drinking water supply.

The property’s southwest corner is at the confluence of the Henry Fork River with one of its major headwaters tributaries, He Creek, which flows out of the conservancy’s South Mountains Headwaters Preserve. The Henry Fork River, which serves as the western property boundary, is a major tributary of the South Fork Catawba River. The N.C. Division of Water Resources (NC DWR) has designed the Henry Fork River as “Outstanding Resource Waters.”