LOWER SINKING CREEK FARM
Richard Grist, 304.645.7674
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LOWER SINKING CREEK FARM
Lower Sinking Creek Farm’s 116 acres offers a flawless blend of exceptional wildlife habitat, mature forest, farming fields, miles of streams and a convenient location. The property, located just on the outskirts of historic Lewisburg, is well suited for residential building, recreational activities and the opportunity to further expand wildlife development.
Sinking Creek, a designated blueline stream, flows through the property for ½ mile. This pretty mountain stream creates an extraordinary streamside habitat of oak-hickory forest, rhododendron thickets, layers of ground moss & sweet fern patches, creating an exciting residential and recreational property.
HIGHLIGHTS AND ATTRIBUTES
- 116 acres located on the outskirts of historic Lewisburg- America’s Coolest Small Town
- Well suited for residential building, recreational activities and wildlife development
- Miles of streams and creeks anchored by the ½ mile of blueline designated Sinking Creek
- Unbelievably rich and diverse resident wildlife population – eagles, hawks, songbirds, rabbit, squirrel, deer, turkey, bear, bobcat, coyote, crawdads, turtles, butterflies, dragonflies and minnows
- 10 minutes to Lewisburg with all big box stores, restaurants, historic district and more
- 15 minutes Lewisburg’s jet airport with daily flights to Chicago & Washington DC
- 2 minutes to I-64, 30 min to Beckley, 90 min to Charleston and 90 min to Roanoke
- Electric, cable and phone available
- Abundant milkweed plants keep the Monarch Butterfly coming back year after year
- Tract will be surveyed to determine exact acreage – most of the survey already completed
- Fronts on a state-maintained road for superior year-round access
- A network of interior field and forest trails provide hiking, horseback riding or ATV’ing
- Elevations range from 1926 ft. to 2187 ft.
- Low taxes, low population density
- Darkest of night skies with little light pollution for stargazing and plant observation
- Dynamic forest with some old growth trees estimated to be 200-300 years old
- Alongside Sinking Creek, patches of mature forest intertwine with rhododendron thickets, layers of sheet moss & sweet fern patches creating an exciting residential and recreational property
- A rewarding permaculture lifestyle can be easily developed
- Surrounded by large farms and timber tracts in a nice rural neighborhood
- FedEx, UPS and USPS delivery, trash pickup, newspaper delivery
- Cell phone coverage is excellent with 4G service
- Timber species include beautiful oaks, black walnut, poplar, maple and hickories
- Interesting and very diverse geology and archeology features
- Areas of the highest quality wetlands support an interesting array of plants and animals while cleansing water, creating oxygen and soaking up carbon dioxide
Google Coordinates: 37.866808°(N), -80.556212°(W)
Address: Located on RT 12 at Alta, WV. Alta does not have a Post Office. A mailing address could be Asbury, WV 24916. No 911 address is assigned to property without structures
Elevation Range: 1928 ft. to 2200 ft. +/-
WHY IS IT CALLED SINKING CREEK?
Sinking Creek gets it name from the creek disappearing and resurfacing on a regular basis along it 17-mile-long journey from its headwaters in northern Greenbrier County to its terminus at “The Sinks” on the lower end of farm. The waters of Sinking Creek roll along for miles on the surface and then suddenly disappear into the vast limestone cave system that underlay Greenbrier County.
After being underground for about 1.5 miles upstream, Sinking Creek suddenly appears in a large hollow on the farm. It then flows for ½ mile above ground through the farm and then “sinks” and forever disappears at the “The Sinks” and into the vast Piercy Mill Cave System, thought to run about 13 miles underground. The waters from all around the vast Williamsburg Valley area all mix in the huge cave system before emerging from the Piercy Cave on the other side of the mountain. The cave’s waters then empty into Muddy Creek on their way to the Greenbrier River, then the New River, then the Kanawha River, then the Ohio, then to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.
WHAT IS “THE SINKS”?
The area on the farm known as the “The Sinks”, is a wonderful spot full of ecological and geological interesting features. Although it is very well known throughout Greenbrier County, very few locally have ever visited The Sinks owing to it being on private and very well hidden in its remote location. The pretty area is very quiet, sits in a protective cove against the mountain, and is about an acre in size. The ground is pockmarked with several small sink holes covered in grasses and ferns. Several ancient trees stand about in this enchanting, sheltered place and resident wildlife all come here to drink without hesitation.
The creek flows into any number of the little sink holes, depending on the level of the creek. The area is filled with fine topsoil which is deposited on a regular basis. This natural geological phenomenon has been going on, mostly unnoticed, for thousands of years.
During periods of very heavy and prolonged rains, the waters at The Sinks will start backing up until the Piercy cave system, that is now chock full of area runoff, empties enough to let Sinking Creek start flowing freely again (like a stopper in a tub). It’s really a site to behold to see the acres of water just waiting to start flowing again.
The most common crops are medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Other crops that can be produced include shade-loving native ornamentals, moss, fruit, nuts, other food crops, and decorative materials for crafts. These crops are often referred to as special forest products.
- Medicinal herbs: Ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh, bloodroot, passionflower, and mayapple
- Mushrooms: Shiitake and oyster mushrooms
- Native ornamentals: Rhododendrons and dogwood
- Moss: Log or sheet moss
- Fruit: Pawpaws, currants, elderberries, and lowbush blueberries
- Nuts: Black walnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and beechnuts
- Other food crops: Ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, and honey
- Plants used for decorative purposes, dyes, and crafts: Galax, princess pine, white oak, pussy willow branches in the sinking, holly, bittersweet, and bloodroot and ground pine (Lycopodium)
Years of progressive wildlife management practices have created the quintessential wildlife preserve. Early on, management goals promoted overall wildlife health, facilitated the harvest of game, developed wildlife viewing areas, increased carrying capacity, and increased species diversity.
The Greenbrier River and New River are a major contributor to the local ecosystem richness and diversity for both plants and animals. The miles of streams and the wetlands surrounding aquatic plant life create a water supported community with a wide variety of wildlife. These wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize the stream banks upstream and downstream. The plant life associated with the wetland includes rushes, sedges, cattails, duckweed and algae.
There are many animals that live year round and at other times in the water and around the edges of the pond, including beavers, otters, minks, raccoons, opossums, blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks, mallards, minnows, turtles, salamanders, newts, crayfish, muskrats, bull frogs, eagles, hawks and redwing blackbirds.
There is the insect and microscopic world including butterflies, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles, damselflies, tadpoles and various insect larvae.
The diverse tree species, coupled with the abundant water supply streams and creeks, create the perfect wildlife habitat. The miles of “edge effect” created between farm fields, creeks, hollows, ridges, and rock outcrops benefits all the resident wildlife. Bald eagles, white tail deer, black bear, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bobcat, raccoon, fox and many species of songbirds, owls and raptors make up the resident wildlife population.
The hardwood forest provides the essential nutrient source and produces tons of hard mast including acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts and black walnuts. Soft mast includes stag horn sumac, black cherry, tulip poplar seeds, maple seeds, autumn olive berries and blackberries.
RECREATION AT LOWER SINKING CREEK FARM
Lower Sinking Creek Farm offers unparalleled recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the proximity to the Greenbrier River, New River, Bluestone Lake and Summersville Lake.
Nature viewing is first in line of recreational activities. Attentive wildlife management has been geared not to just game animals. Equal consideration has been extended to increasing the numbers and diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls and hawks.
Complete darkness can be still be found on most of the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.
Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby Greenbrier River ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing.
Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:
- Paintball-Airsoft-Laser Tag-Archery tag
- Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
- Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
- Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
- Plain ole’ plinking: Grandpa’s old 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day
All Terrain Motorsports
Lower Sinking Creek Farm has forest trails that are perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the forest’s terrain.
Dirt bikes can also be a lot of fun and they come in all sizes and horsepower to fit anyone who enjoys being on two wheels.
Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
The gently laying land may be used for conventional and mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding.
Hunting is a first-class experience. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population. It is hard to find a property that has a better mix of wildlife.
Lower Sinking Creek Farm is pasture-based with about 50 acres of gentle laying fields, most of which are operable by farm tractor. There is very little surface rock and a high proportion of the land could be used for row crops or hay production.
Most of the perimeter fencing needs repaired, built new, or replaced. However, the 3,600’ of common line shared with the WVDOH is all woven wire and in very good condition.
The farmland was temporarily enrolled in 2014 in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The agreement ends in 2023 at the end of its 10-year term. CREP is a voluntary program to establish forested buffers along streams where riparian habitat is sensitive. In addition to providing habitat, the buffers improve water quality and increase stream stability contributing to improvement of the environment in multiple ways. In exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and introducing conservation practices, the current owner receives an annual rental payment for the enrolled acres and this payment will be available to the new owner.
THE DYNAMIC WETLAND
In earlier times, before the environmental and societal value of wetlands was discovered, Lower Sinking Creek Farm’s dynamic wetland was commonly called a “swamp”. This enchanting area is biologically rich and wildlife diverse, being akin to the world’s largest swamps found in the Florida Everglades and the Amazon River Basin. This small, but mighty wetland works to provide “ecosystem services”—non-monetary benefits like clean water, clean air, carbon sequestration, hunting, and yes—recreation for everyone young and old.
The wetlands are the best of both worlds. A visitor should watch for deer, squirrels, raccoon, and turkey while exploring for butterflies, turtles, frogs, crawdads, songbirds, salamanders, newts, and a host of other aquatic invertebrates, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Wetlands are a very productive part of our environment; more productive of vegetation, in fact, than some agricultural soils. This vegetation serves important purposes. It shelters and feeds many wildlife species that cannot survive elsewhere. Almost 35 percent of all rare and endangered species depend, in some way, on wetlands. More common wetland species provide enjoyment to many by serving educational, research and recreational needs.
Waterfowl and many furbearers such as beaver, mink and muskrat provide both consumptive and no consumptive recreation and are dependent on wetlands. Many fringe wetlands provide the food that young fish need to survive. By slowing the flow of water, wetlands help keep banks from eroding and they trap and settle suspended silt before it smothers fish eggs and covers the insects and other animals that fish eat.
Wetlands add visual diversity to everyone’s lives. The interior trail that skirts and crosses the wetlands offers an opportunity to see many different plant and wildlife species seen nowhere else on the property. The wetlands habitat walk is a relaxing and rewarding experience.
SELF-SUSTAINING LIFE OFF THE GRID
Just like 200 years ago, when the first mountaineers settled the area, the property would be self-sustaining in times of necessity – even without electricity. This way of life is also known as a Permacultural.
- Fresh water for drinking and cooking would come from sinkings and drilled water wells (hand drawing water from the wells using a cylinder well bucket).
- The creeks and forest would provide fresh food (crawdads, froglegs, deer, and turkey).
- The agricultural land’s flat to rolling topography would be used to raise livestock of all kinds (chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits etc.) and could be farmed with horse drawn equipment. The land would support vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley.
- Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles.
- The forest would provide firewood for heating and cooking, lumber for building, basket splints, maple syrup and pounds of nuts (walnuts, beechnuts and hickory nuts).
ARCHEOLOGY AND GEOLOGY
Lower Sinking Creek Farm is nestled between the folded Ridge and Valley Province to the east and the younger Allegheny Plateau to the west. The Greenbrier River flows 162 miles southwest through the valley and empties into the world’s third oldest river, the New River.
The rich farmland of the area is made fertile by the Greenbrier Limestones, known locally as the “Big Lime”. These limestones were formed from shallow seas some 350 million years ago during the Mississippian geological period. The quarrying of limestone for dimension stone, fill-rock, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and agricultural lime is an important industry in the area.
Starting at the property, you can take a trip through time riding on I-64 from Dawson to the WV/VA boundary showcasing outcrops from the younger Mississippian formations to the older Devonian mountains.
The rich coal fields lying a few miles to the northwest were formed about 300 million years ago during the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods when the West Virginia area was south of the equator and moving north. Coal, a combustible sedimentary rock, formed when our area was covered with huge, tropical, swampy forests where plants – giant ferns, reeds and mosses – grew. When the plants died, they piled up in swamps. Over time, heat and pressure transformed the buried materials into peat and into various forms of coal. These prehistoric coalfields continue to provide energy and industry to residents of West Virginia, the nation, and the world.
The area exhibits a karst topography due to the underlying Greenbrier Limestone. Karst is characterized by numerous caves, sinkholes, fissures, and underground streams. This interesting topography forms in regions of plentiful rainfall where bedrock consists of carbonate-rich rock, such as limestone, gypsum, or dolomite, that is easily dissolved. Mildly acidic rainwater slowly dissolves the soft limestone over millions of years creating geological fascinations like Lost World Caverns and Organ Cave, carved from the Greenbrier Limestone.
The farm has many interesting “riches from the earth” in the form of limestone, agates, fossils, geodes, and curious rock outcrops.
The Droop Sandstone, a very hard, quartz-rich rock originally deposited as sand beaches along an ancient shoreline, is especially prominent in the area. Numerous sheer rock cliff formations are created by the erosion-resistant Droop Sandstone. Locally, the Muddy Creek Mountain quarry produces decorative sandstone from the Droop that is known worldwide for its beauty and durability.
The area is well known for the healing waters of the numerous “Sulphur Sinkings”. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s, several “Sulphur Sinkings Resorts” flourished in the area. Most notably and still in existence are White Sulphur Sinkings, Warm Sinkings and, Hot Sinkings. Others included, Sweet Sinkings, Blue Sulphur Sinkings, Red Sulphur Sinkings, Green Sulphur Sinkings, Salt Sulphur Sinkings, Pence Sinkings and, Sweet Chalybeate Sinkings.
The abundant timber resource is well positioned for current timber income as well as value appreciation over the coming decades. With an attractive species mix, adequate stocking levels, and favorable diameter class distribution, the timber amenity represents a strong component of value to the investor.
Lower Sinking Creek Farm’s forest resource is composed of quality Appalachian hardwoods. This timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and could be managed to provide cash flow opportunities to offset holding cost and long-term asset appreciation. Capital Timber Value of the timber and pulpwood has not been determined at this time but is considered substantial.
The forest’s predominately well-drained upland terrain has led to a resource dominated by hardwood species. Overall, the species composition is highly desirable and favors Appalachian hardwood types, consisting primarily of Black Walnut, Sugar Maple, Poplar/Basswood, Red Oak Group, White Oak/Chestnut Oak, Soft Maple, Hickory, and a host of associated species (ash, cedar, birch, sourwood, black gum, beech).
Forest-wide, stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultural legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent.
The property’s timber component has been well managed over the years and consists of stands of differing age classes. The predominant timber stand contains 30-140-year-old stems ranging in size of 10”-40” dbh.
Diameters are well represented across the commercial spectrum with a notable mature size class, as well as abundant pole size timber and growing stock. Several “Heritage Trees” are scattered throughout the forest and old field edges. These ancient trees, some 200-300 years old, have withstood the test of time, weathering ice, wind, lightning strikes and fire.
The forest is healthy and there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer, which has inundated the entire Northeast US, is present and the Ash component will significantly decline over the next decade. The Eastern Hemlock species is under siege by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and the hemlock will significantly decline over the coming decade. There have been no forest fires in recent memory.
The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses.
There are a few fruit trees scattered about, some of which were part of the early homestead. Crops of black walnuts and hickory nuts are produced each year from the abundant black walnut and hickory trees scattered about.
Honeybees would do well here, and it would be possible to produce maple syrup from the sugar and red maple trees growing on the property.
Historic Greenbrier County
Lewisburg, which is the Greenbrier County seat, was voted the Coolest Small Town in America, combining the warmth of a close community with the sophistication of more urban locations. The thriving downtown historic district offers year-round live productions presented at the State Professional Theatre of WV, Carnegie Hall, distinctive dining venues, antique shops, award-winning galleries/boutiques, a year-round farmer’s markets. Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities, along with the many big box stores.
The county and city host several fairs & festivals throughout the year including The WV State Fair, a professional 4-weekend Renaissance Festival, Chocolate Festival, Taste of our Town Festival (TOOT), antique car shows, Jeep Rally, Airstream Rally, WV Barn Hunt Competition, PGA Tour @ The Greenbrier Resort, and numerous fun parades.
Lewisburg is the home to the Greenbrier Country Public Library, a fantastic, ultra-modern public library that is open 7 days a week. The library’s services include: Reading Areas, References, Notary Public, Local History Room, Tax Forms, Fax Service, Photo Copies, Digital Printing, Inter Library Loans, Internet/Computer Access, Audio Books, eBooks, Story Hour, Video & DVD’s, Paperback Book Exchange, Literacy Tutoring, Databases, Computer Classes, Book Discussions, Children’s Programming and an Online Catalogue.
Lewisburg is also home to the modern Robert. C Byrd Medical Clinic (300 employees), the WV Osteopathic Medical School (600 students) and the New River Community and Technical College. The area is a strong economic generator with a solid workforce employed in county/state government, tourism, hospitality, medical, education, retail, construction, wood products, mining and agriculture.
The world-renowned Greenbrier Resort, with 800 rooms and 1600 employees, is located in the sleepy little town of White Sulphur Sinkings. The 4-Star resort has a subterranean casino and is home to the PGA tour, NFL Summer Practice Event, Tennis Exhibitions (Venus Williams, John McEnroe etc.). Several other area golf courses are available in the area – including Oakhurst Links, America’s first golf course, where guests play using old style hickory-handled clubs and ground-burrowing golf balls.
A picturesque train ride from White Sulphur Sinkings connects the area to DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other locations. By car, DC is 4 hours away and Charlotte is only 4.
Within a two-hour’s drive are located some of the finest recreational facilities in West Virginia. Winterplace Ski Resort, whitewater rafting / fishing on the New River and Gauley River, 2000-acre Bluestone Lake, Pipestem State Park and Resort and the 80,000-acre New River National Gorge National Park. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and rock climbing opportunities. Snowshoe Ski Resort is 90-minute drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The new 12,000-acre Boy Scout High Adventure Camp and home to the US and World Jamboree is an hour’s drive.
The farm is an excellent habitat for all butterflies, especially the Monarch. The monarch is highly dependent on the milkweed plant and will always return to areas rich in milkweed to lay their eggs upon the plant. The milkweed they feed on as a caterpillar is actually a poisonous toxin and is stored in their bodies. This is what makes the monarch butterfly taste so terrible to predators. The orange of a monarch butterfly’s wings is a warning color, identifying itself to predators that the butterfly will taste bad or may be toxic.
In one of the world’s astounding natural animal events each fall, tens of millions of monarch butterflies migrate up to 3000 miles from the Northeastern US and Canada down to their wintering grounds in Central Mexico. They then use air currents and thermals to travel such incredible distances.
Of course, other butterflies visit Lower Sinking Creek Farm, including the eastern tiger and spicebush swallowtails, silver-spotted skipper, and a variety of sulphurs and whites.
One other interesting insect to visit the property is the Black Saddlebag Dragonfly, a regular guest of the creek and wetlands with all the frogs, fish and turtles.
West Virginia is one of the states in the US that has two ownership titles, those being SURFACE RIGHTS and MINERAL RIGHTS. A title search for mineral rights ownership has not been conducted. All rights the owner has will convey with the property. A mineral title search could be conducted by a title attorney at the same time when the surface title search is being conducted.
Water: Water well can be drilled
Sewer: conventional septic can be installed
Internet: Through Frontier Cable or HughesNet or Landsat
Cellphone Coverage: Excellent with 4G
Greenbrier County is subject to some zoning and subdivision regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the County Commission and the Health Department for details regarding zoning, building codes and installation of septic systems.
Information can be found at the county website: http://greenbriercounty.net/ordinances.
The property has frontage on RT 12 across from the Alta Station / The Meeting Place. That frontage contains the entrance into the property, providing direct access to the public road system.
BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY
The whole property of which this is a portion was very recently surveyed. This property will be surveyed to separate it from the large tract. The metes and bounds description from the survey would be used in a conveyance deed. Portions of the boundary run with the rights-of-way lines of Interstate Highway 64 and RT 12. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.
PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY
The property contains 116 acres +/-; having about 50 total acres of pasture fields and 66 total acres of forestland.
(This summary is an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography. It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from the aerial photography utilized.)
DEED and TAX INFORMATION
Deed Information: A portion of THIRD TRACT in DB 443 Pg.113
Greenbrier County, West Virginia
Acreage: 116 acres +/-; actual acreage to be determined by survey
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Greenbrier County (13), West Virginia
Blue Sulphur District (3)
Tax Map 11, a portion of Parcel 27; Class 2
2019 Real Estate Taxes for the whole property of which this tract is a portion $438.10.
Greenbrier County School District
Public Elementary Schools:
Alderson Elementary School
Lewisburg Elementary School
Rupert Elementary School
Public Middle Schools:
Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
Western Greenbrier Middle School
Public High School:
Greenbrier East High School
Greenbrier West High School
New River Community and Technical College (Lewisburg campus)
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Greenbrier Episcopal School (PK-8)
Greenbrier Valley Academy (2-8)
Lewisburg Baptist Academy (PK-12)
Renick Christian School (2-7)
Seneca Trail Christian Academy (PK-12)
From I-64 at Alta Alderson Exit No. 161
Turn onto RT 12 toward Alderson; travel a very short distance to where the first entrance to Alta Station / The Meeting Place is on the left; the entrance to the property is just ahead on the right.
From Lewisburg: 8 Miles +/- (approx.10 minutes)
Travel I-64 West for 7.4 miles to Alta Alderson Exit No. 161; at end of exit ramp, turn left onto WV RT 12 South and travel a very short distance to where the first entrance to Alta Station / The Meeting Place is on your left; the entrance to the property is just ahead on the right.
From Alderson: 11.7 Miles (approx. 16 minutes)
From the Alderson Memorial Bridge (now limited to walking use) on WV RT 12, travel WV RT 12 North toward Alta 11.7 miles to where the first entrance to Alta Station / The Meeting Place is on the right; the entrance to the property is just ahead on the left.
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