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Trust buys land ‘too pretty to develop’

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LITTLE SWITZERLAND, N.C. — When Augusta Developers bought a 101-acre Jackson Knob Cove tract in McDowell County, they fully expected to turn it into 21 house lots.

That was before developer Johnny Craver of Mooresville, N.C., fell in love with the plot’s natural beauty.

“It’s just magnificent,” Craver says in a statement. “It’s probably the only property I’ve ever seen in my life that was too pretty to develop.”

Craver and developer Fred Suther of Concord decided to sell the Catawba River Basin plot to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina to ensure it stayed untouched.

They sold the property for $350,000, well below its appraised value of $410,000.

Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, both long-time conservation supporters, contributed $180,000 toward the purchase, which closed Nov. 10.

The tract, located just north of Little Switzerland, is one of many along a five-mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that the trust aims to preserve because of their natural and historic significance.

The plot of land contains not only a half-mile of headwater streams, but also a section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which follows the route taken by Revolutionary War militiamen in 1780 to the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina represents 24 local land trusts throughout North Carolina that have protected over 286,000 acres in more than 1,660 places across the state.

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