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River Oaks Preserve

The wild and wooly Cape Fear corridor

When you think of waterfalls, deep ravines, mountain laurel, galax and, in springtime, a forest floor blanketed with a vast array of wildflowers, our beautiful North Carolina Mountains come to mind. What is little known is that such landscapes, a unique phenomenon in North Carolina’s coastal plain, can be found along the banks of the Cape Fear River and its tributaries.

For the past 7 years, as part of its strategic Cape Fear River Protection Plan, the Sandhills Area Land Trust has been actively identifying the best of such lands and pursuing funding for their protection.

One such area, now protected by SALT and known as the River Oaks Preserve, is characterized by a deep sinuous ravine approximately 50 feet in depth and sloping terraces nearly 70 feet above the Cape Fear River, giving the property its wild character. Two creeks cut through the terraces and slopes en route to the Cape Fear River. Of particular interest is a waterfall with a drop of 3 feet along one of the creeks, an unusual feature for the coastal plain. The property also supports many nesting species of neotropical migrant birds and other wildlife such as deer, bats, wild turkey, and numerous reptiles and amphibians.

As a "flagship tract" for the environmental outreach and education activities of SALT, a network of foot trails is being developed highlighting the spectacular features of the preserve for the public benefit.

Land protection activities continue along the Cape Fear River. Interested in protecting your land? Check out our landowners page for more information. Interested in helping SALT manage River Oaks with our “Hands to Lands” volunteer program? Click here for information about how you can help