Twenty years ago, Mary McDaniel fought to convince people to notice the beauty and significance of Mountain Island Lake. That effort has preserved drinking water for 750,000 Charlotte-area residents, and protected natural wildlife habitat. It also marked the beginning of Catawba Lands Conservancy. Today, the Conservancy now has more than 11,000 acres of protected local lands that preserve clean water, farmlands, wildlife habitats and connections to nature. Here are a few significant milestones throughout the years:
1991- The first meeting of Catawba Lands Conservancy is held in July at Mary McDaniel’s home in Charlotte.
1995- In April, the Conservancy protects its first property, the Catawba Wildflower Glen.
1999- The first conservation easement is completed on Redlair Farm and Forest, which will eventually include 755 acres.
The land is home to the rare Big Leaf Magnolia and the federally endangered Schweinitz sunflower.
2000- The Pharr Yarns Company donates the Pinhook Preserve, a 125-acre area in Gaston County.
2001- The 252-acre River Oaks Plantation was preserved, adding 252 acres that aids watershed preservation along the
South Fork Catawba River in Lincoln County.
2003- In December, the 506- acre Stanley Creek Forest was permanently protected by the Conservancy, home to a state significant natural heritage site.
2005- Catawba Lands Conservancy’s first public-access trail opened in May at the Rhyne Conservation Preserve.
2006/2007- The Carolina Thread Trail, a 15-county trail network concept that began in 2006, is launched in 2007. The Conservancy acts as lead agency for the project.
2009- The Conservancy becomes one of the first land trusts in the country to receive national accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.
2010- Catawba Lands Conservancy passes the 10,000-acre mark and communities throughout the Carolina Thread Trail
footprint have planned nearly 1,000 miles of trails.
2010- The Carstarphen family’s generous donation of the Pharr Yarns Preserve provides 95 acres of protection for water
quality, fish, wildlife and plants.
2010- The Conservancy preserves 719 acres in the Mountain Creek and Terrapin Creek conservation area on Lake Norman.
2011- The Conservancy protects the Seven Oaks Preserve, 77 acres adjacent to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.