WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — When you think of North Carolina's famous landmarks, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or Kitty Hawk may come to mind, but now you can add a 133-acre area southeast of Raleigh to that list. Lower Marks Creek is now designated as an endangered national treasure.
For Bailey Williamson, the fields on the Wake-Johnston county line are more than farm soil. To him, they are about family and history.
"Well, it was the Michigan regiments of the Union army and they came through here from Smithfield right up [a] path here," he said.
Lower Marks Creek is also part of what has been named one of the nation's top 10 "Last Chance American Landscapes." It is designated as "last chance" because development threatens the area.
"This area is growing very quickly. The eastern part of Wake County is growing very quickly," said Lorelei Costa, of the Triangle Land Conservancy.
Williamson recently gave a 133-acre easement to the Triangle Land Conservancy to hold and protect the area. The tract could open the door for a lot more land to be protected. For Williamson, knowing the land will stay open and undeveloped is key.
"I love the land and I want to see it remain this way. I can't think of any better reason than that," he said. "That's what this easement is about -- protecting it forever."
Williamson is the sixth generation of his family to till the land. His family has been tending the land since 1775.