An effort to combine geographic features of the Sandhills and Piedmont with cultural and historic aspects of the area is still going strong, according to Sandhills Area Land Trust Consultant Jesse Wimberley.
The Sandhills Area Land Trust Consultant Jesse Wimberley has teamed up with Richmond County Cooperative Extension Agent Paige Burns and Richmond County Planning and Zoning Director of GIS James Armstrong to strengthen the relationship between the landowners along U.S. Highway 73 and the organizations that offer programs to foster economic goals and culturally historic goals. This project is part of the Sandhills Area Land Trust’s (SALT) effort to preserve the history and natural resources along scenic by-ways in North Carolina. There are two other projects nearby that are similar.
When Wimberley spoke of the preservation effort, he used a term many may not have heard before: view-shed.
“As people travel along the road, they have a very positive experience,” said Wimberley. “It makes you feel better. It induces you to feel like you want to see more. You want to explore. It makes the whole experience pleasurable.”
Wimberley hopes to help landowners expand the view-shed by implementing strategies to increase land value and to entice businesses to locate on Highway 73.
“It will have an accumulative effect if we set up the climate for business growth,” said Wimberley.
One strategy Wimberley aims for is to place a map in the hands of people who are interested in the area.
“I want to create a hard copy map,” said Wimberley. “The map will drive you to the website. It will be something you can pick up and it will have all three scenic byways. I hope it will catch your eye. Then for more details you would go to the website.”
Wimberley said the website should allow visitors to the area to create a personalized tour tailored to their interests.
“For instance, if you like birdwatching, you would put that in and the website would tell you where to stop along the way, where good viewing spots were,” said Wimberley.
He said he has been in conversation with Armstrong about tying in real-time updates and creating an app for smart phones that can be downloaded from the website.
“The concept will be based on that we want people to understand the natural history and the human history,” said Wimberley. “We don’t have the mountains or the beach so we have to look a little harder for what is here. Like, people may see the pottery area and say why is the pottery area there? Well, because there is so much clay there. I really feel like getting people to understand why people are where they are will help us preserve the area.”
“I think what this group is doing is a fantastic mission,” said Armstrong. “As they begin to develop the app, I let them know I’d be more than happy to help.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.