Smith Island Land Trust

Smith Island Land Trust Post


To acquire, preserve, and provide stewardship for historically and ecologically significant lands on Smith Island for the benefit of current and future generations.

Smith Island Land Trust (SILT) was founded as a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation in July 1996.  Although SILT and the BHI Conservancy are separate organizations, SILT works closely with the Conservancy and serves as the primary land preservation organization on the island.  

 Click here for a map of SILT properties throughout the Smith Island Complex

Donated lots, like the picture below, can be identified by a brass plaque on the property bollard.

Watch the video above for an overview of the Smith Island Land Trust from some of its founding members.


  • 1991: Charlie and Pat Young donated 22 acres on Middle Island to the Bald Head Island Conservancy, now known as the Ibis Sanctuary
  • 1995: Property owners led by Nancy Maguire began a grassroots effort to “Save the Point”
  • 1996: The Smith Island Land Trust (SILT) was formed
  • 1997: SILT raised $1,000,000 from over a thousand Bald Head Island friends and associates to acquire from the developer 11 acres on the point at Cape Fear. In order to provide it the highest level of protection possible, this pristine parcel was subsequently deeded to the State of North Carolina and is now part of the Bald Head Island State Natural Area.
  • 2001: Thanks to Bob Timmons leadership and tenacity, an additional 14 acres of maritime forest adjacent to Federal Road were purchased to extend the boundaries of the maritime forest which has been added to the Bald Head Woods portion of the state’s maritime forest preserve.  In addition, 45 acres of hammocks in the marsh were purchased and donated to the state of North Carolina
  • SILT is legally independent of BHIC but since they have shared goals they do work together pursuant to an Operating Agreement that is renewed annually.
Smith Island Land Trust

To date, with the kind and generous donation of many land donors, the Smith Island Land Trust can boast that 10% of the developable land in the Smith Island Complex has been preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of the entire state of North Carolina.

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 the 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 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 information on land preservation, click the link to the Land Preservation Opportunities section of this site, or you may contact the administrative office for assistance.

Smith Island Land Trust Staff

G. Christopher Shank, PhD
Executive Director

Darice Voigt
Administrative Support

Smith Island Land Trust Board of Directors

Lynn Barnard, SILT Board President
Marianna Fitz-Hugh, Secretary
Slaughter Fitz-Hugh, Treasurer
Elayne Bennett
Alan Reyner
Melanie Robbins
Katie Chatas, BHI Conservancy President
Jim Brown
Bill Moser


The Smith Island Land Trust
G. Christopher Shank, Ph.D.
Executive Director
P.O. Box 3109
700 Federal Road
Bald Head Island, NC 28461
(fax) 910-457-9824

Land Trust Alliance
1660 L St. NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20036

Appraisers Familiar with Bald Head Island Properties and Land Trust Transactions

Hector Ingram, MAI
Ingram and Company, Inc.
2715 Ashton Drive, Suite 102
P.O. Box 1384
Wilmington, NC 28402-1384
910-763-9096 ex: 12
Dabney Shackelford, MAI
Bullard and Shackelford Real Estate Appraisers
5051 New Centre Drive
Wilmington, NC 28403
Earl Jones, MAI or Chuck Moody, MAI
Realty Services of Eastern Carolina Inc
2313 Grace Avenue
New Bern, NC 28562
Bob Cantwell, MAI
Robert C. Cantwell & Associates
125 Oak Drive North
Holly Ridge, NC 28445
Earl Worsley, MAI
Worsley Real Estate Company
P.O. Box 490
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Fax: 910-256-0488
Robert Glenn, MAI
Robert Glenn Associates, Inc.
4557 Technology Drive, Suite 5
Wilmington, NC 28405
Fax: 910-791-6761