BOONE — The Blue Ridge Conservancy recently transferred 615 acres of land to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to become part of Three Top Mountain Game Land. With this transfer, BRC has conserved 1,000 acres at Three Top, bringing the total area to more than 3,100 acres of protected land.
Important for conservation due to its biodiversity and designated as “exceptional” by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the Three Top Mountain Game Land addition includes more than three miles of headwater streams of the North Fork New River and expands the protected range for wildlife habitat and migration corridors. The additional acreage also includes a new public access for recreational opportunities such as hiking, birding and hunting.
“Acquiring land for public access and ecological protection has always been a priority for Blue Ridge Conservancy,” said Charlie Brady, executive director of BRC. “The significant expansion of Three Top Mountain Game Lands provides permanent protection of large forested tracts, which are important in providing climate resiliency for many species.”
Three Top Mountain, named for its trio of prominent rock outcroppings, is part of the Amphibolite Mountain range. Located in Ashe and Watauga counties, the Amphibolites also include Howards Knob, Elk Knob, Snake Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Paddy Mountain and Mount Jefferson.
“The NCWRC is excited about the new addition to Three Top Mountain Game Land, not only for the conservation value, but for the additional opportunities it will provide for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Paul Thompson, a Northern Mountains land management biologist with the Commission. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Blue Ridge Conservancy to conserve and manage these naturally significant areas of western North Carolina.”
Brady noted that the Game Land expansion sets up a strategic piece for an upcoming BRC project.
“This property provides a future corridor for the Northern Peaks Trail, our new state trail that will connect the towns of Boone and West Jefferson,” Brady said.