Needmore Tract, The
The 4500-acre Needmore Tract was purchased by the State of North Carolina in January of 2004 as a nature preserve. The Tract includes 26 miles of Little Tennessee River frontage, 37 miles of tributary streams to the river and serves as the keystone to the forested corridor connecting the Nantahala and Cowee Mountain Ranges. The Little Tennessee River through the Needmore Tract is home to half the native, freshwater fish species in North Carolina and the greatest diversity of freshwater mussels in the State.
The Needmore Tract is managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, which protects water quality and wildlife habitat while maintaining traditional uses of the land. The twenty-five miles of free-flowing Little Tennessee River downstream of the town of Franklin is considered the Noah’s Ark of Blue Ridge rivers due to its rich biological diversity. The river corridor also encompasses the most intact archaeological landscape remaining of the 18th century Cherokee. With the purchase of the Needmore Tract over half of this reach of river was preserved for present and future generations.