Eno River Association Protects Important Connector for the NC Mountains to the Sea Trail in Orange Co.

December 30, 2010 (DURHAM, NC) On December 30, 2010, LinkBros, LLC, a North Carolina limited liability company, donated a 1-acre tract of land on Pleasant Green Road to the Eno River Association to fill a missing section in the route of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The property, which has approximately 200 feet of frontage on the Eno River, will be donated by the Association to the State of North Carolina for inclusion in the Eno River State Park.

When the Mountains-to-Sea Trail is completed it will stretch 1,000 miles from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks. To date more than 500 miles of footpath have been built in segments across the state, joined together by temporary connectors on back roads and state bike routes. Acquisition of the Link property will allow completion of section of the trail through the Eno River State Park between the Cabe Lands area and Pleasant Green Road.

In addition to its contribution to local and state-wide recreation, acquisition of the property will provide critical ecological and resource protection. The donation of this property completes over 8.5 miles of permanently protected frontage along the southern bank of the Eno River, stretching from Pleasant Green Road in Orange County to Roxboro Road in the City of Durham. The importance of this protected corridor is accentuated by the fact that the NC Natural Heritage Program has designated the Eno River as a Nationally Significant Natural Heritage Area, due in part to the occurrence of rare mussels, including the state endangered Yellow lampmussel and Atlantic pigtoe, and the state threatened Creeper, Eastern lampmussel, and Triangle floater.

“We are excited to have completed this acquisition just in time for the New Year,” says Robin Jacobs, Executive Director of the Association. “It closes a gap in the Mountains-to-Sea Trail corridor along the Eno River, and we appreciate all that the Links have done to make it possible. We plan to celebrate with our friends and supporters at this week’s New Year’s Day Hike.”

The donation of the property was made by John M. Link Jr., Thomas E. Link, and Robert E. Link, the Members of LinkBros, LLC, in loving memory of their Great Grandfather, Emmett Green Link, and their Mother and Father, Peggy Sykes Link and John M. Link Sr. The Link family has deep roots along the Eno River. This land has been owned by the family for more than 100 years. “We have always called it the Spring Lot,” says Thomas Link. “Fable has it that the spring on the property has never dried up in the last 250 years.” The Links are also no strangers to conservation along the Eno River. In 2009 they worked with the Association to donate 17 acres for inclusion into the Eno River State Park.

“What a breakthrough for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail!” says Kate Dixon, Executive Director of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the organization responsible for the construction of the trail. “Our trail-building volunteers were approaching this tract, concerned that we would need to dead-end the trail for awhile. Now they’ll be able to keep extending the trail west toward Hillsborough. Thank you to the Link family for its very generous donation and to the Eno River Association for the hard work to make it possible.”

The Eno River Association has been working on land and water quality conservation in the Eno River Basin for more than 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 7,000 acres of protected land in the watershed. The Eno River Association holds an annual New Year’s Day Hike at the Eno River State Park, attracting hundreds of hikers for a communal walk in the woods. This year’s hike is Saturday at 2pm at the Few’s Ford Access to the Park.

For more information about the Association’s conservation activities contact the Association Office at (919) 620-9099 or email at land@enoriver.org.