The Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently transferred 615 acres in Ashe County to become part of Three Top Mountain Game Land.
The BRC has now brought 1,000 acres at Three Top under protection, making the game land total there over 3,100 acres.
Important for conservation due to its biodiversity and designated “exceptional” by the N.C. Natural Heritage program, the Three Top Mountain Game Land addition includes over three miles of headwater streams of the North Fork of the New River. The additional acreage also includes a new public access for recreational opportunities such as hiking, birding, and hunting.
“Acquiring land for public access and ecological protection has always been a priority for Blue Ridge Conservancy,” said BRC Executive Director Charlie Brady. “The significant expansion of Three Top Mountain Game Lands provides permanent protection of large forested tracts which are important in providing climate resiliency for many species.”
The commission’s Northern Mountains Land Management Biologist Paul Thompson said his agency is excited about the new addition to Three Top Mountain Game Land for the conservation value and the additional opportunities it will provide for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Blue Ridge Conservancy to conserve and manage these naturally significant areas of western North Carolina,” said Thompson.
Brady said the game land expansion “provides a future corridor for the Northern Peaks Trail, our new state trail that will connect the towns of Boone and West Jefferson.”
Three Top Mountain, named for its trio of prominent rock outcroppings, is part of the Amphibolite Mountain range. Located in Ashe and Watauga counties, the Amphibolites also include Howards Knob, Elk Knob, Snake Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Paddy Mountain and Mount Jefferson.