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Purchase to protect nearly 800 acres in western NC

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BREVARD, NC (AP) -- A conservation group has bought nearly 800 acres to preserve in western North Carolina. The Conservation Fund says it is paying $5.5 million for the 786 acres south of Brevard near U.S. Highway 276 near the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

The Conservation Fund plans to transfer the land to the state of North Carolina.

The nine-mile tract runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the headwaters of the French Broad River. The property is next to the 43,000-acre Jocassee Gorges, which South Carolina acquired in 1999 through the Conservation Fund.

The purchase is the first phase of a plan to protect 8,000 acres owned by former US Rep. Charles Taylor of North Carolina and his family. The total purchase prices is expected to be $33 million.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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