Last updated: January 21. 2014 9:27AM - 1450 Views
Wil Petty Staff Writer jpetty@civitasmedia.com

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The N.C. Wildlife Commission is planning to gain 205 acres of Ashe County game land as part of a $16.25 million grant from the Clean Water Management Trust fund.

According to a release from the N.C. Wildlife Commission, the addition of land to the Three Top Mountain Game Land was funded at $861,000. The purchase will improve public access to the area.

“(The purchase) will provide access from a public road to a portion of existing state lands that don’t have good public access,” said Isaac Harrold, the lands program manager for the N.C. Wildlife Commission.

The new acquisitions will allow users to access the land from Saddle Gap Road, which sits off West Buffalo Road. Three Top Mountain Game Land will also increase its size from 2,891 acres to 3,096 acres.

Three Top Mountain Game Land is public property. Harrold said the property is mostly used for hunting, but people also use the land for bird watching and hiking.

“(The new land) will become an addition to the Tree Top Mountain Game Land that currently exists adjacent to the property,” he said. “It is a simple acquisition from a willing seller. The property is for sale and the state will acquire it.”

Harrold said the time it takes to close the deal and allow people on the property can vary, but he expects the state to close on the property in the next four to six months.

The state first acquired the game land in 1994. Initially, Three Top Mountain Game Land totaled 1,133 acres, and has continued to grow for 20 years.

The multi-million dollar grant will also go for other projects throughout the state.

Other funding includes $1.5 million towards acquiring 18,000 acres near Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County, owned by the Riverstone Project. The Riverstone Project supports several areas and endemic species throughout the nation.

North Carolina’s Wildlife Commission will also by the Birkhead tract in Randolph County for $192,000. The property will add 288 acres to the Uwharrie Game Land, which is adjacent to the Birkhead Mountain Wilderness area near Asheboro.

The N.C. Wildlife Commission manages more than 2 million acres of land for hunters, anglers, trappers and other fans of the outdoors to enjoy.

For more information on the recent acquisitions, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

Wil Petty may be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @wilpetty

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