Poor Mountain preserve expands to protect habitat, viewshed, water quality

The Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve will expand by 78 acres

Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve. Photo by Virginia Department of Conservation. (Credit: Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation) (WSLS)

RICHMOND, Va. – The Poor Mountain preserve has expanded, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation.

On Monday, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation announced that the Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve has expanded over more than 78 acres.

Officials said that the expansion is meant to protect the scenic viewshed for residents and the habitat for a globally rare plant.

The Virginia DCR got the parcel from Urban Forestry Management LLC with a $236,847 grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, according to the release.

DCR officials said they look forward to the expansion.

“We are excited to be able to protect this key parcel with a ridgeline near a populated area that enhances outdoor recreation while conserving habitat for imperiled species,” said DCR Director Matt Wells. “This acquisition, in partnership with the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, is important to the long-term ecological integrity of the natural resources in the area.”

Poor Mountain is a favorite spot among Roanoke area residents, and the release said that the ridgeline and mountainside parcel on the Twelve O’Clock Knob Road, south of Salem in Roanoke County, can be seen by people in Salem and Southwest Roanoke, in addition to McAfee Knob and Peaks of Otter on the Appalachian Trail.

The release said that the land is ecologically significant, too, as it is a mixture of mature hardwoods and pines, and contains a headwater stream of the Roanoke River as well as a drinking water spring that has been used for many generations.

Not only that, but Poor Mountain has the world’s largest population of the globally rare piratebush, the release said.

“This population of piratebush and the surrounding central Appalachian forest community are truly irreplaceable,” said Jason Bulluck, director of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program. “We are proud to have expanded Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve and helped to ensure the resilience of the natural heritage resources there.”

This expansion now brings the total acreage of the Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve to 1,404, according to the release.

About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.