The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust has plans to help form a state nature preserve on a site that may be the final destination of the historic lost colony at Roanoke Island.
Colonists on the island were found missing in 1587, but supposedly may have left with the intent of going 50 miles inland. The mystery of the missing colony has since plagued historians.
Camilla Herlevich, the land trust's executive director, said the land in Bertie County is about 50 miles from the island, and archeologists found multiple pieces of English pottery on the site.
“That makes them think that there were more than one person, they were here for more than just a time passing through,” she said. “It's really pretty amazing.”
This is the first time the land trust has taken out a loan to purchase land for conservation. The land trust plans to transfer the property to the state after it receives enough funding to pay off the $5.3 million loan. That could happen as soon as the end of the year.
Herlevich said in addition to its historic significance, the land has valuable natural features. She said the land could also bring tourism to the area. Bertie County also plans to create its own nature park nearby.
“There is a wonderful opportunity for combined conservation and ecotourism and water access in this area, in a real place that really does not have a lot of other industry,” she said.
The land trust calls it the most exciting project in its history of conserving coastal lands.