Pleasants Protects Forestland and Water Quality

January 6, 2011

Two hundred acres of timberland and wetlands in Franklin County are now permanently protected for conservation, thanks to Gene Pleasants of Raleigh. Pleasants, a Franklin County native, donated permanent conservation easements on two adjoining properties in December to Tar River Land Conservancy, a local land trust based in Louisburg. The protected tracts adjoin Beasley Road and US Highway 401 about two miles north of town.

The 200 acres placed into conservation easements is actively managed for pine timber and wildlife habitat by Pleasants.

The conservation easements allow Pleasants to continue using the properties for low-impact recreation and managing the forests for pine timber but the land cannot be converted to residential or commercial development. “Some of my best memories are the times I spent in the woods growing up in Franklin County. I still love to go out, take my dog and let him run,” said Pleasants. “I am glad that the conservation of these properties will be part of my legacy.”

The conservation easements also provide permanent forested buffers along Bear Swamp Creek, roughly a mile and a half upstream of the creek’s confluence with the Tar River. The Conservancy received a grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund to complete the project.

In addition to the conservation easements completed last month, Pleasants placed conservation easements on five other tracts in Franklin, Halifax, and Warren Counties in 2009. The previous conservation easements, also held by the Conservancy, encompass 334 acres of managed pine forest and wildlife habitat.

“Conservation easements are an attractive option for landowners who want to protect farms and forests,” says Derek Halberg, Executive Director for the Conservancy. “Placing an easement on eligible land can also provide federal income tax deductions and state tax credits. The tax bill passed by Congress last month included significant incentives for property owners who donate conservation easements to their local land trust before the end of 2011.”