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Taylorsville, North Carolina

86 Acres | April 3, 2007
The Nature Conservancy, donor
Owned in Title

In 2007 the Joe Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was established when the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust accepted title of the property from the Nature Conservancy. Under the protection of the Wildlife Land Trust, not only will the property remained undeveloped, but recreational and commercial hunting and trapping will always be prohibited.

The Joe Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is an undeveloped oak hickory forest located in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains of North Carolina. Comprised of 86 acres in three parcels, it has an unusually large concentration of fringe trees in the understory. There are also stunted red cedars and exposed rocks with lots of different species of ferns and flowers. In the open grassy areas is black needle grass, and there are different flowers under the fringe trees.

Fringe trees usually grow in groups of about 20, but this sanctuary has thousands. This is highly unusual, and when all are in bloom, it is quite a sight. In 2010 permission was given to the National Arboretum to take some tissue samples of the leaves and about 30 voucher specimens of the trees to be used in research.

Families of white-tailed deer as well as eastern cottontails and gray squirrels call this sanctuary home.  And many birds nest here or come through on their migratory routes including red-tailed hawks, ravens, turkey vultures, crows, robins and mourning doves.  The entire sanctuary teems with life in undisturbed habitat.

The sanctuary features steep cliffs and numerous rock outcrops, making it an ideal habitat for timber rattlesnakes, eastern fence lizard, and five-lined skink. In North Carolina, the timber rattlesnake is listed as a species of Special Concern.

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust holds the title to this sanctuary.  That means HSWLT is responsible for all property taxes and maintenance costs for the property -- every year, forever.  In addition periodic inspections are made to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition.  These inspections, and the handling of any damage or destruction, cost heavily in professional staff time and travel expenses.

HSWLT has promised to keep this property as a sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept.  If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

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