Preserved land provides the whole community of people and nature with benefits. Protecting parcels in the maritime forest preserves ground water and habitat for native plants and animals. Over 200 bird species use the Smith Island Complex (Bald Head, Middle and Bluff islands) a feeding, nesting ground or a stopover point in migration. The island is an essential nesting location for endangered sea turtle populations and a home to creatures like River Otters, White-tail Deer, and Red Foxes.
Properties in the dunes offer valuable buffers against hurricane and winter storm damage. The forests create a thick canopy that shears of hurricane force winds and provide food and shelter for native and migrating species. Marsh properties buffer flooding from storm surge and are an important boundary between fresh and salt water lenses. Protecting marsh properties keeps our saltmarsh teaming with fish and oysters. Healthy waterways are perfect for recreation and boating.
Today, the Smith Island Land Trust has preserved in perpetuity over 25 additional properties, all of which have been deemed to have significant environmental and/or ecological value to the area. The value of donated lands preserved by the Land Trust now totals well in excess of $10 million.
With no more large parcels available for acquisition within the Smith Island complex, the Smith Island Land Trust (SILT) now focuses its efforts on the preservation of individual lots, in the pursuit of lower development density, enhanced ecological habitats and improved scenic values. Through the utilization of parcel donations, bargain sales and/or the placement of conservation easements on such properties, substantial benefits are available to those who collaborate with the Land Trust to preserve such properties.
For more SILT information, contact:
G. Chris Shank, PhD
Executive Director of the Smith Island Land Trust