Charlotte Observer Jan. 25, 2005

2,600 acres set aside near Asheville

Associated Press

RALEIGH - More than 2,600 acres in Buncombe and Madison counties will be protected from development through a public-private partnership made up of two conservation trusts, area residents and the state.

The N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program contributed $9.2 million to purchase the Sandymush tract in late December from Progress Energy Carolinas Inc.

EEP worked with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and philanthropists Fred and Alice Stanback, who donated $1 million to the conservancy for the purchase.

The tract is west of the French Broad River less than 20 miles from downtown Asheville.

"We're preserving and restoring the creeks that flow through the property and immediately into the French Broad River," SAHC executive David Ray said.