Dam Creek area between Carolina Pines, Stately Pines purchased

The N.C. Coastal Land Trust has completed the purchase of 90 acres of rolling hardwood forest surrounding Dam Creek for $1.43 million.

Dam Creek is a small tributary off the Neuse River between the Carolina Pines and Stately Pines subdivisions in Craven County.

The property is in two pieces. A 6.78 acre tract was purchased on Aug. 8 from Ellis Development Company for $350,000. According to the Crave County Tax Department, the land is valued at $387,630.

The vacant tract is located at the end of West Palmer Drive on the northwest corner of the Carolina Pines subdivision. The land includes about 562 feet of sandy beach frontage on the Neuse River.

The second tract of 85.26 acres was sold Aug. 12 by Bate Land and Timber Company for $1.088 million. The land value is listed by Craven County Tax Department as $852,600.

The lion’s share of the tract is behind a row of 18 homes along Carolina Pines Boulevard southwest of Wadkins Boulevard, homes at the end of Wanchese Way, Olony Circle and Dare Drive in Carolina Pines and behind homes and properties at the ends of Ridgewood Trail and Pioneer Trail in Stalely Pines.

The two properties join together with a vacant 38.23-acre tract that was acquired by the land trust in 2006. The property roughly separates portions of the Carolina Pines subdivision from the Stately Pines subdivision. That piece has 136.47 feet along the Neuse River, which includes the entrance of Dam Creek.

According to a land trust press release, all of the acreage now contains the length of Dam Creek from the Neuse River to its headwaters and totals 120 acres.

“The Coastal Land Trust has slowly and strategically conserved parcels of land along Dam Creek that connect and provide tremendous habitat for wildlife including colorful songbirds like the Prothonotary Warbler, elusive mammals like flying squirrels, and even rare butterflies like the Duke’s skipper butterfly,” said Janice Allen, deputy director of the land trust. “These new properties are a tremendous addition to the Coastal Land Trust’s Dam Creek Preserve, a nature preserve which not only provides some green space near the Carolina Pines and Royal Oaks subdivisions, but was deemed of conservation importance to the nearby Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, which contributed significant funding. The entire Dam Creek Preserve is a small, but significant ecological gem which hosts rich hardwood forest with rolling topography, an unusual feature for the coast.”

According to the release, the 38-acre tract was donated in 2006 by Ellis Development Company, owned by Eddie Ellis, a founder of the Havelock News and author of the book “In This Small Place” about Havelock.

“I actually grew up in this area of Carolina Pines and remember playing in the woods along Dam Creek,” Ellis said. “It has been wonderful to work with the Coastal Land Trust to preserve some of this land.”

Ellis now lives in Florida, but for many years was the historian for the city of Havelock. Bate Land and Timber Company is a development company based in Holden Beach.

Money for the purchase came from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act program, the U.S. Defense Department Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program, the Fred and Alice Stanback Fund and the Conservation Trust for N.C.

“The Coastal Land Trust is grateful to our military partner, MCAS Cherry Point, and to our many funders for their investment in this small but special place in Craven County,” said Allen.