STATE: Three Rivers Land Trust conserves land near Fort Bragg

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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As 82nd Airborne Division jumpmasters are preparing to safely exit jumpers from multiple aircraft headed toward Holland Drop Zone, an inconspicuous farm is one of the last parcels they will see before entering Fort Bragg and jumping from the aircraft. Thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Army and Three Rivers Land Trust, this 92-acre parcel has been permanently conserved and will remain undeveloped in perpetuity.

Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, and Moore counties are continuing to see increased residential growth near Fort Bragg. According to Brian Williams, the Fort Bragg Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) and Range and Training Lands Assessment (RTLA) program manager, “Fort Bragg has one of the largest garrison populations in the Army, but we are nowhere close to being the largest by acreage. This results in training lands and range managers having to manage a heavier training load across the landscape while maintaining a healthy longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem that is endemic of the NC Sandhills and Fort Bragg.
“The ACUB Program exists to help buffer surrounding communities from noise and smoke generated on the installation, reduce the effects of light pollution that could impact training and where possible, enhance the habitat of threatened and endangered species in
the Sandhills,” Williams added. “In short, ACUB helps to alleviate pressure on Fort Bragg’s training lands and is a key tool to ensure the installation will still be functioning for generations to come.”

For Three Rivers Land Trust this was a win-win-win scenario.

“Conserving this farm is a win for conservation, a win for the military, and a win for what may have been future homeowners, should this parcel have been developed. Our conservation work supports two of North Carolina’s largest industries; agriculture and defense. Fort Bragg and the defense sector are huge economic drivers both locally and for the entire state. In fact, the defense sector is the second largest industry in North Carolina,” TRLT Executive Director Travis Morehead said. “Our goal is to work with willing landowners and our military partners to permanently conserve land around Fort Bragg. The overall strategy is to reduce the impacts of military training on the civilian population and to further protect the area needed by the military to provide realistic and effective training to its units and soldiers.”

To learn more about how to conserve lands or how to support Three Rivers Land Trust in their conservation mission, contact Emily Callicutt, land protection specialist at Three Rivers Land Trust, by calling 704-647-0302 or by email at