While we frequently work one-on-one with landowners interested in conservation, we recently became aware that in the Spruce Run community, development was on the minds of many of the residents.
A landowner in the early stages of conserving his farm discussed his plans with neighbors, and we reached out to over 40 landowners with large tracts of land in the community.
We held a public meeting, where we met with about 15 landowners. Several have followed up with us, and we look forward to talking with others.
Spruce Run is adjacent to the Jefferson National Forest in Giles County – it’s the next valley over from the Poverty Creek Recreation Area, between Gap and Spruce Run Mountains. Spruce Run is an intact community of working farms with unique geography – the community is located between Rt. 460 and the New River, and there is only only one road to get in and out. Spruce Run is a place where neighbors help neighbors without thinking of how they’ll be paid back.
The land in this area is important to conserve due to good agricultural soils, karst geology, large areas of forest, and intact working lands valuable to the economy.
Community-focused conservation is an effective way to conserve larger areas of land, which is beneficial for habitat and provides climate corridors for wildlife, but it can also preserve something that doesn’t show up on a map: the sense of community that comes from a shared way of life and mutual aid. We hope to do more of this type of outreach in the future to preserve not only land but the farming communities that steward the land.