Land with Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail segment to become part of South Mountains Game Land
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina has completed the sale of a 93-acre tract in the Dysartsville Township of eastern McDowell County to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The property, which contains important headwaters of Cane Creek and a piece of Revolutionary War history, will soon become part of the South Mountains Game Land.
The property, known as the Melton Tract, adjoins the existing South Mountains Game Land to the east, and U.S. Highway 64 to the west, thereby connecting the state game land to the highway. Foothills Conservancy purchased the property in November 2016 with plans to sell it to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“Getting the Melton Tract into public ownership through this sale is a win for both the natural resources and the history of our region,” said Andrew Kota, Foothills Conservancy associate director. “Important watershed lands at the headwaters of Cane Creek are now protected and an area of Revolutionary War significance is preserved. We are excited to collaborate with the National Park Service and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to establish public access and interpretive materials to educate and inform the public about this special place.”
Foothills Conservancy is working with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Park Service to establish a segment of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail on the property and to develop public access. Interpretive materials are also planned, including information on the Battle of Cane Creek, the historic trail, South Mountains Game Land, and the South Mountains in general.
“We certainly appreciate the hard work of Foothills Conservancy in negotiating with the former landowner to bring the project to fruition,” said Kip Hollifield, land management biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “We look forward to partnering with the conservancy and National Park Service to develop public access to the property.”
The property contains 3,500 linear feet of Cane Creek and its tributaries within the Broad River Basin, and more than 500 linear feet of a tributary stream of Magazine Branch in the Catawba River Basin. Both are significant river basins for recreation and drinking water in the region.
The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail passes through the middle of the tract. Foothills Conservancy hired an archaeologist with funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to locate the Cane Creek Battlefield site where a 1780 Revolutionary War skirmish occurred. The archeologist discovered that the Melton property is situated within the boundary of the Cane Creek battlefield and has recommended that the battlefield be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places as a significant historic battlefield related to events of the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War in general, and the Overmountain Victory campaign specifically.
“This is a great example of state, federal, and private partnerships to provide public access and interpret the stories of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail” said National Park Superintendent John Slaughter of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group.
“It has been a real joy working with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and Foothills Conservancy to develop this piece of history that blends natural resources with a critical, historic element of our American story,” added Ben Richardson, chief of planning and partnerships with the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group.