P3: History Of The Land

Hidden Lake At Palmetto Peartree Preserve

HiIn the 1920s the lands that make up the Palmetto-Peartree Preserve were owned by the Foreman family. The Foremans operated a large sawmill in Elizabeth City and used the land to supply the mill. In the early 1950s a second generation of the Foreman family used the land for two different activities. One group of descendants converted a portion of the property into pasture, raising dairy cattle and producing ice cream that was sold in the local market. Another part of the family continued to harvest timber for the sawmill. Around the 1960s the land was sold to Butler Land and Timber who built a sawmill with the intention of using the land’s timber to supply the mill. Ultimately, the company bought most of its timber on the open market and the majority of the land remained forested. These forests now provide critical habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW).

In the early 1990s the mill closed, and the land was sold to Environmental Timber on behalf of Prudential Financial in 1996. At the time of the sale RCWs were discovered on the property, and after a year the company decided to sell the land. The Conservation Fund bought the land in 1999 with funding from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to manage the property as a RCW mitigation bank. Protection of the RCWs at the preserve mitigates RCW habitat lost in road construction projects. The property was named the  Palmetto-Peartree Preserve  due to Palmetto Point and Peartree Point, two land protrusions that extend into the Albemarle Sound.

dden Lake At Palemetto-Peartree Preserve

Photo by The Conservation Fund