The Coastal Land Trust has purchased 105 acres on Brice’s Creek in Craven County for a new nature park.
The property is off County Line Road near Old Airport Road.
Johnny Morris, CEO of Bass Pro Shops, owner of White River Marine Groups, announced in May 2021 the acquisition of Hatteras Yachts brand and manufacturing facility in New Bern, which “brings with it a significant investment in the New Bern community,” according to the land trust.
Morris, along with Bass Pro Shops companies, contributed $100,000 to the park purchase. The funds were combined with those from the Coastal Land Trust and the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund to purchase the land from Overlook Holdings, which the Coastal Land Trust said was sold below market value.
“Conservation and connecting people with their passion for the outdoors lies at the very heart of our company,” Morris said in the announcement. “Like any great conservation accomplishment, the new park became possible through collaboration. People working together. New Bern and Craven County is such a special place. It’s great that the area will have another beautiful place for people to get outside. We are proud to be members of this community.”
This property, along with the 67 acres of neighboring land already owned by the Coastal Land Trust, will be transferred to Craven County to become the new park.
“We look forward to working with the Coastal Land Trust on this new park project. We also appreciate Johnny Morris and the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund for helping make this new park a reality. Stay tuned for news on park planning,” said Billy Wilkes, director of Craven County Parks and Recreation, in a statement.
Janice Allen, director of land protection for the Coastal Land Trust, said that the Land Trust heard the call for more public outdoor spaces to enjoy nature and the organization is responding
“We especially thank Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops and the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund for their funding assistance and are proud to partner with Craven County. The County has done an amazing job with the Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park and we know they will create an equally impressive park on this newly acquired land along Brice’s Creek,” she said.
The new park joins Latham-Whitehurst Nature Park, which was established in 2008 when the Coastal Land Trust purchased 133 acres along upper Broad Creek and transferred it to Craven County.