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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Land for Tomorrow

Posted July 5, 2006

Did you realize that every day 400 acres of North Carolina’s forest and farmland is lost to development? Did you know that every year more than 100,000 acres of land is developed in North Carolina? That’s an area as large as Winston-Salem and High Point combined. Three million acres in NC has been gobbled up over the past 20 years. These are facts from a disturbing documentary that I am currently working on with Clay Johnson, Jay Jennings and Mariana Jacob here at WRAL. The more we develop the more we have to worry about air and water pollution. Already, thousands of miles of streams and rivers in NC are polluted. In Wake County growth is galloping at an alarming rate. Experts estimate that available land will be consumed in fewer than 20 years. I personally applaud people such as Bob Nutter who owns Maple View Farms near Chapel Hill. Bob donated 187 acres of land to the Triangle Land Conservancy. It’s a way to get value for your land without having to sell it to developers. Hugh Morton did the same thing years ago at Grandfather Mountain. Another positive development is the Land for Tomorrow Initiative. It would create a $1 billion bond referendum to buy and preserve key natural areas across the state over the next five years. Why put off something like this? We know the land isn’t going to get any cheaper. I certainly hope the General Assembly shows the wisdom to put this issue on the ballot in November.
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