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Nags Head Woods Preserve Grows

This bridge over a pond at Nags Head Woods gives the place part of its charm.

The Conservancy has worked at Nags Head Woods for more than 30 years. But, there is still work to be done as evidenced by a recent 20-acre purchase. The Town of Nags Head contributed $25,000 toward the purchase with the balance coming from a bequest and from a longtime Conservancy supporter, Fred Stanback.

Conservation Resources Director Fred Annand has had his hand in most of the acquisition work at the preserve dating to the early 1980s. He helped Steward Aaron McCall with the latest purchase, which Annand describes as a “great ecological transect,” running from high relict forested dunes through a mature swamp forest to the sound.

“This is great habitat,” McCall explained during a recent visit. “Under its current zoning, the owner could have built four houses with 22 bedrooms. This particular owner wasn’t planning to do so, but who knows what would happen in the future with a different owner. The Outer Banks is a really popular place to live and visit.”

Construction could have extended into the water. “If it had been developed, it is almost certain that there would have been an extensive dock constructed to the sound as well,” Annand added.

There are no plans to put trails into the new area. “But, this is going to be a great place for us to conduct ecological monitoring, because the property runs from the center of the maritime forest to the sound and is well away from existing trails” explained McCall.

Like the rest of the preserve, the new tract feels more like the Piedmont, or even the mountains, than it does the beach. Large oaks, huge American hollies and beech trees cover the higher elevation part of the property.

“This was the last chunk of this size, but we will keep on acquiring property when it comes available,” says McCall.

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