The Sandhills Area Land Trust is a community-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Hoke, Cumberland, and Harnett counties in southeastern North Carolina. SALT works with private landowners to negotiate voluntary conservation agreements (Conservation Easements) on private property. Since its founding in 1991, SALT has permanently protected more than 11,800 acres of working farms, water supplies, endangered ecosystems, and urban open-space in our six-county service region.
The North Carolina Sandhills-the Legacy of Longleaf:
“A magnificent grove of stately pines, succeeding to the expansive wild plains we had a long time traversed, had a pleasant effect, rousing the faculties of the mind, awakening the imagination by its sublimity, and arresting every active, inquisitive idea, by the variety of the scenery.”
-William Bartram, Travels (1791)
SALT’s service area incorporates much of the North Carolina Sandhills, a region of rolling sandy soils perched between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. The landscape has been radically altered since the days of William Bartram, but the region is still home to the largest contiguous stands of longleaf pine forest in North Carolina, numerous wetlands, and dozens of rare plants and animals.
Interwoven with the natural history of the Sandhills is a rich tapestry of local culture. Because the region was too sandy to farm, the first settlers drove cattle and extracted gum from the stately pines to make tar and turpentine. The early Sandhills settlers were among the first true “tar-heels” in North Carolina. Today many Sandhills residents still make a living off the land. Timber and pine straw harvesting are important economic engines for rural communities throughout the region. The recent growth of Fort Bragg Military Reservation and the resort communities of Pinehurst and Southern Pines have brought thousands of new residents to this fascinating region. With increasing pressure from residential development, we now face a grand challenge: how can we build strong, vibrant communities while protecting our precious natural legacy, local culture, clean air, and clean water?
Rising to meet this challenge, SALT fosters partnerships among landowners, local businesses, and government agencies to protect our most sensitive lands and waters.