Holt Family Protects 133 Acres along Scenic Byway
Lee and Perri Holt of Wake Forest recently placed conservation easements on 133 acres of timberland just outside Warrenton with the assistance of Tar River Land Conservancy. The conservation easements ensure that the land will remain permanently undeveloped while allowing the Holt family to continue managing the land as a productive tree farm. The land was previously owned by Mr. Holt’s parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Holt of Warrenton.
The stretch of NC Highway 58 next to the Holt tracts is known as “Lafayette’s Tour Byway”, a Scenic Byway designated by the NC Department of Transportation. The byway follows the route taken by French General Marquis de Lafayette when he toured the area in 1825. The scenic byway spans 173 miles from Pasquotank County westward to Vance County.
The Holt conservation easements also preserve hardwood forest buffers along a mile of Bobbitt’s Branch, a tributary of Fishing Creek. The forested buffers will continue to provide wildlife habitat as well as help protect water quality during logging operations on the tree farm.
Mr. Holt first weighed the idea of working with the Conservancy after hearing a presentation given by Executive Director Derek Halberg in 2008. By 2012, Mr. and Mrs. Holt were ready to move forward with their vision.
“If landowners are indeed conservation-minded, they share a sense of responsibility to protect and preserve North Carolina’s land and waterways,” Mr. Holt emphasized. “Conservation easements accomplish this and preserve their individual property rights for timber cultivation, farming, or other non-development uses, while simultaneously providing tax benefits.”
Because of the multiple benefits generated by the project, Tar River Land Conservancy received grants from three funders to survey the properties and cover other costs of the easement transactions: the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Farmland Forever Fund, and the NC Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program.
“We can’t thank the Holt family enough for their generosity and vision,” said Mr. Halberg. “We hope their actions will inspire other landowners to work with us to protect this beautiful area of Warren County.”