A conservation group has partnered with the Marine Corps to preserve nearly 700 acres of land in Carteret County. The land is located beneath airspace near Cherry Point that's used for training runs for pilots. Camilla Herlevich is Executive Director of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.
Camilla Herlevich: "Luken's Island, the property is actually owned by a partnership, a limited liability company rather, and it's used primarily as recreational land for hunting and fishing. And what the military's interested in is making sure is ensuring that there isn't any development. There's no residential development, no people in houses complaining about noise from jets overhead and no one to be harmed if something falls off of a jet overhead."
Funding for the land acquisition was provided in part by the Department of Defense, which is not uncommon because of the need for safe training space. Herlevich says the military contacted them about 7 years ago about the acquisition and they were happy to be involved.
Herlevich: "So it's been really a great bonus to be able to look back on these projects now and know not only that we're contributing to the safety of our military pilots as they are on training missions, but also that we have helped to create the ability of eastern North Carolina to continue to have military jobs. And to me it's been a wonderful learning experience to see that we can protect conservation assets and also contribute to the economic vitality of coastal North Carolina."
Click the audio file to hear the full interview with North Carolina Coastal Land Trust founder and Executive Director Camilla Herlevich.