Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) Secretary Reid Wilson participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Bobs Creek State Natural Area.
“North Carolina is a beautiful place, from the shining coast to right here in the foothills,” Governor Cooper said. “Bobs Creek State Natural Area will help protect our water quality while providing a space for North Carolinians to gather and enjoy nature.”
“The official opening of Bobs Creek State Natural Area is the result of years of hard work and generous donations to the state,” said NCDNCR Secretary Wilson. “As the property of the people of North Carolina, this area and its unique ecosystems will be permanently protected. We look forward to future low-impact recreational opportunities, such as hiking or bird watching.”
“Foothills Conservancy of NC’s staff and board of directors are honored to have Governor Cooper join our land trust for this momentous occasion,” said Foothills Conservancy Executive Director Andrew Kota. “Bobs Creek State Natural Area protects one of the state’s most significant ecological landscapes, benefitting the citizens and local economy in McDowell County and the entire region of Western NC for years to come through future outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“We are so grateful to Governor Cooper and our legislators, partners in federal and state government agencies, conservation partners and private donors who were instrumental in establishing Bobs Creek State Natural Area,” said State Parks Director Dwayne Patterson. “We look forward to protecting these lands for generations and offering low-impact access so that North Carolinians and our visitors can come to appreciate North Carolina’s Foothills as much as we do.”
In 2017, Governor Cooper signed House Bill 353 to establish Bobs Creek State Natural Area in McDowell County. There were three phases of land acquisitions that led to the completion of the natural area. With more than 6,000 acres of space, Bobs Creek contributes to a landscape network of nature preserves connecting the South Mountains to the Blue Ridge slope.
The state natural area will be managed by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation for passive recreation, water quality protection, preservation of rare plants and diverse natural ecosystems. The division oversees the state’s 41 state parks and supports other recreation providers.
North Carolina has become a leader in the fight for the planet. Last month, Governor Cooper released his recommended budget for FY 2022-2023, Building on Success, which includes investments to advance clean energy, prioritize clean air and water and upgrade wastewater and other critical infrastructure.
In January 2022, the Governor signed Executive Order 246 which lays out the next steps to transition North Carolina to a clean energy economy and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while creating economic opportunities across the state.
The Foothills Conservancy is a nonprofit dedicated to conservation in Western North Carolina by permanently protecting land and water for the benefit of people and all living things.