GRAHAM — The County Parks Department has bought a third tract in the Cane Creek Mountains Natural Area, bringing the total acreage of the planned park to about 620.
The purchase furthers a plan to get about 1,000 acres of park with 10 to 15 miles of trails and an observation tower on the highest peak east of Greensboro, from which you’ll be able to see Greensboro on a clear day, surrounded by old-growth forest on a truly ancient mountain.
The $610,000 price tag was covered largely by a $295,000 grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund in 2017, with additional funding from the Conservation Fund, Piedmont Land Conservancy and Alamance Parks, according to a county news release.
The property, known as the Henderson-Dixon-Steele tract, comes to nearly 153 acres and includes the site of the Pioneer Camp, a popular summer camp for area children in the 1950s and ’60s, and the remains of a few buildings are still on site.
About 8 miles south of Graham, Cane Creek Mountain is 991 feet above sea level at its peak, but geologists say it could have been 20 times as high a few hundred million years ago. It was part of a range that included the Uwharrie Mountains west of Asheboro and Occoneechee Mountain in Hillsborough, created by the slow-motion collision of what is now North America and Africa in the formation of the super-continent Pangea.
Before the California Gold Rush, this was where prospectors were hunting.