January 15, 2012 (Durham, NC) On January 15, the Association transferred two adjacent properties, totaling 36 acres, to the Eno River State Park. These properties protect 1,750 feet of stream buffer along a tributary to the Eno River in Durham County, provide important buffer and access to nearby hiking trails and are designated as a Significant Natural Heritage Area.
The addition of these important areas to the Park has been a long time in the making. The smaller property was acquired through a bargain sale by the Association in 1998, with the help of an open space and trails grant from Durham County. It was along the path of the then-proposed Eno Drive and was protected by the Association to secure additional buffer for this section of the Park. Since then, it has served as a well-used entryway to the Park’s Laurel Bluffs trail from adjacent neighborhoods. Robin Jacobs, Executive Director of the Association, notes that “This is one of the key roles the Association has been able to play over the years – responding when opportunities arise for acquiring important conservation and recreation land and protecting the property until the State is in a position to take ownership.”
The larger property was purchased last year from Unique Places, LLC, a private conservation real estate company. Unique Places held the property for nearly a year while the Association and State secured funding for its permanent protection. “We have strong conservation partners in Durham, including the Eno River Association,” says Unique Places’ Managing Partner Guenevere Abernathy. “This is our second project in Durham County, and we’re glad it will play a role in protecting the natural and cultural resources associated with the Eno River.” The tract is in a fast growing area of the county and was in danger of being developed. This could have impacted the current backwoods feel of the Pump Station Trail, one of the most popular hiking trails within the Park, particularly for spring wildflower viewing.
Both of the properties are covered in mature pine and hardwood forests and share the area’s interesting natural and historic significance. The nearby stretch of the Eno River is habitat for several rare mussels, including the eastern and yellow lampmussels, the Atlantic pigtoe and the Triangle floater. This area is also tied to the site of the old Durham Pump Station, which provided water to the city from 1887 to 1927. The original roadbed to the pump station came through these now protected properties. Funding for the project came from the State’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
Eno River Association has been working on land and water quality conservation in the Eno River Basin for over 40 years. It was instrumental in the creation of the Eno River State Park in the early 1970s and continues to actively work to expand park holdings and other protected areas throughout the Eno River basin. The Association’s efforts have resulted in more than 5,500 acres of protected land in the watershed. For more information about the Association’s conservation activities contact the Association Office at (919) 620-9099 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.