WAKE FOREST — Lee and Perri Holt of Wake Forest recently placed conservation easements on 133 acres of timberland just outside Warrenton with the assistance of Tar River Land Conservancy. The conservation easements ensure that the land will remain permanently undeveloped while allowing the Holt family to continue managing the land as a productive tree farm.
The land was previously owned by Lee Holt’s parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Holt of Warrenton.
The stretch of N.C. 58 next to the Holt tracts is known as Lafayette’s Tour Byway, a scenic byway designated by the N.C. Department of Transportation. The byway follows the route taken by French General Marquis de Lafayette when he toured the area in 1825. The scenic byway spans 173 miles from Pasquotank County westward to Vance County.
The Holt conservation easements also preserve hardwood forest buffers along a mile of Bobbitt’s Branch, a tributary of Fishing Creek. The forested buffers will continue to provide wildlife habitat as well as help protect water quality during logging operations on the tree farm.
Lee Holt first weighed the idea of working with the Conservancy after hearing a presentation given by Executive Director Derek Halberg in 2008. By 2012, the Holts were ready to move forward with their vision.
“If landowners are indeed conservation-minded, they share a sense of responsibility to protect and preserve North Carolina’s land and waterways,” Lee Holt emphasized. “Conservation easements accomplish this and preserve their individual property rights for timber cultivation, farming or other non-development uses, while simultaneously providing tax benefits.”
Because of the multiple benefits generated by the project, Tar River Land Conservancy received grants from three funders to survey the properties and cover other costs of the easement transactions: the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Farmland Forever Fund and the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program.
“We can’t thank the Holt family enough for their generosity and vision,” said Halberg. “We hope their actions will inspire other landowners to work with us to protect this beautiful area of Warren County.”
The addition of Holt family conservation easements brings the total land area protected by the Conservancy over the last thirteen years to 17,116 acres. The mission of Tar River Land Conservancy is to preserve the natural and cultural resources of the Tar River Basin and surrounding areas by working in partnership with private landowners, public agencies and others to protect rural land, riparian corridors and ensure clean water.
The conservancy works with landowners across an eight-county region — Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Nash, Person, Vance and Warren counties.
For more information, see visit tarriver.org.