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I am writing in support of the Oak Hill Community Park & Forest. This is a 660-acre tract between Hwy 181, Hwy 126, and Watermill Road. Foothills Conservancy has an option to purchase this property but only has until the end of 2019 to obtain the funding.

I have personally walked and mountain biked over most of the area. It would be ideal for Freedom High School and Table Rock Middle School to access for cross country runners and their mountain bike teams. Having recreational property of this type close to Morganton would allow citizens to utilize in multiple ways with a very short drive.

There are endless possibilities for community gardening on the very rich soil of the floodplain of Canoe Creek, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, forestry restoration, and environmental education opportunities. I could even imagine the proposed NC School of Science and Mathematics being involved in projects for the property.

Additionally, my family and some friends have hiked a short distance on this property from Hwy 126 and used the area for viewing meteor showers and comet events. With the pine forests, it is quite dark and not a lot of light pollution for viewing celestial events. Again there are not many areas left that are undeveloped and offer this range of recreational opportunities.

I urge interested individuals to get behind this effort and contact all of our state and local officials supporting this valuable project. Hopefully, Foothills Conservancy will be able to raise the funds needed to purchase and protect this land.

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