NINE SPRINGS FARM – 352 ACRES +/- Craig County, Virginia
352 +/- acres adjoining the Jefferson National Forest and VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Lands in the Hanging Rock Valley
|Address:||Maple Grove Road RT 603, Paint Bank, VA 24131|
Richard Grist, 304.646.8837 or 304.645.7674
- 352 +/- acres adjoining the Jefferson National Forest and VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Lands in the Hanging Rock Valley
- Bold mountain springs, some with headwaters on the neighboring National Forest
- Springs provide crystal clear water to the farm and the VA Fish Hatchery downstream
- One of the area’s oldest farmsteads in continuous agricultural use since the 1800’s
- Located in the sleepy hamlet of historic Paint Bank
- Over a mile common boundary shared with the Jefferson National Forest and State Fish Hatchery Lands
- 6 million trout are raised each year at the neighboring state fish hatchery
- Many ephemeral streams flow during rain events and snow melt
- Sheltered in the Potts Creek watershed valley between Potts Mountain and Peters Mtn.
- One hour to Roanoke, Blacksburg, Lewisburg with easy access to airports and interstates
- Excellent year-round access
- Commercially valuable forest of high quality Appalachian hardwoods and white pine
- 5 meadows seeded with warm season grasses and wildflowers
- Miles of winding forest trails perfect for hiking, horseback riding and ATV adventure
- Exceptional bird population including neo-tropicals, eagles, woodpeckers, owls and hawks and many songbirds
- Resident wildlife population density is unrivaled with rabbit, squirrel, deer, bear and turkey
- Original 2/2 farm house with hand cut chimney and foundation
- Established honey bee colonies producing several pounds of honey each year
- Producing apple orchards and blackberry patches
- Dark skies for stargazing and planet observation
- Monarch Butterfly management zone with highly developed milkweed habitat
Nine Springs Farm is located in Craig County in the Southwest Allegheny Mountains of Virginia. The region known as Virginia’s Western Highlands, as of the 2000 census there were 5,091 people residing in the county. Craig County is crisscrossed with Virginia Scenic Byways — Rt 311, Rt. 42 and Rt. 615. Craig County was named for Robert Craig, a 19th-century Virginia congressman. Formed from Botetourt, Roanoke, Giles, and Monroe (in present-day West Virginia) Counties in 1851, it was enlarged with several subsequent additions from neighboring counties. The secluded, mountainous New Castle community, the county seat, features one of the commonwealth’s antebellum court complexes, including a porticoed courthouse built in 1851.
The sleepy little hamlet of Paint Bank is just a mile down the road from Nine Springs Farm. The Paint Bank General Store and Swinging Bridge Restaurant is a popular stop on Route 311 for travelers and locals alike. New Castle, the Craig County seat is just a 20 minute drive. Roanoke and Lewisburg WV are one hour’s drive.
The pace of life is unhurried where natural amenities and the opportunities for recreation are limitless. There are over 117,000 acres of National Forest.
Craig County offers something for everyone, Including fishing, hunting, birding, and primitive camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.
FARM CONSERVATION PRACTICES
Over 25 years ago, the owner of Nine Springs Farm decided to create a Farm Conservation Plan that would provide a living guide to professionally manage the property for five major components.
- The protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and specie diversification
- Water quality
- Air quality
- Forest health
For a quarter century, professionals have been invited to visit the property to offer advice and counsel. These professionals include a forester, historian, wildlife biologist, geologist, archeologist, ecologist, naturalist, horticulturalist and a host of other individuals interested in land and wildlife conservation.
HOME AND OUTBUILDINGS
The farm and has a few original structures dating back to the 1800’s.
The two-story farm house is typical of the period with a cut stone foundation. The home is solidly built and is very habitable and quite comfortable. A few other outbuildings are in place.
Google Coordinates: 37.547613°(N), -80.235985°(W)
Address: Maple Grove Road RT 603, Paint Bank, VA 24131
Elevation Range: 2282 ft. to 2955 ft. +/-
The Nine Springs Farm’s timber resource, about 330 acres, is composed of some high quality Appalachian hardwoods and white pine. This well managed timber resource can provide a great deal of flexibility to the next ownership in terms of potential harvest revenue and can 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.
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 Cherry
- Sugar Maple
- Red Oak Group
- White Oak/Chestnut Oak
- Soft Maple
- Black walnut
- As well as a host of other species (birch, beech, sassafras, wahoo, buckeye)
Forest-wide, most stands are fully stocked, providing the next ownership with a great deal of flexibility in shaping their own silvicultual legacy. Stem quality forest-wide can be considered excellent with the forest containing an abundant current and future veneer source.
The farm’s timber component has been well managed over the years and generally consists of two age classes that have been managed under even-aged silvicultural guidelines. The predominant timber stand contains 40-120-year-old stems ranging in size of 10”-36” dbh. Portions of this stand have been thinned over the last several decades as prudent forest management called for. Many sections of this stand are ready for a selective thinning which will generate considerable income.
The second distinct stand was established over the past 50 years when some of the farm fields and pastures were abandoned and the forest began to naturally regenerate. These stands represent a quality hardwood resource and will be reaching economic maturity in the next 20-40 years.
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 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 presently there are no signs of pest infestations of Gypsy Moth. The Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Wooly adelgid are present and it is anticipated that the Ash component will come under attack by the borer in the next decade. There have been no forest fires in the recent memory.
The forest floor is home to several types of mushrooms, medicinal plants, wild ginseng, ferns and cool green mosses. One could spend a lifetime getting to know this inviting environ.
There are approximately 25 acres of meadows composed of warm season grasses and beautiful wildflowers. There are several productive apple trees and blackberry bushes. The large amount of sugar maple trees could make hundreds of gallons of maple syrup if a sugarbush was established.
The farm’s mixture of meadows, mature forest and abandoned farm fields, coupled with the abundant water supply from the creeks and springs, creates the perfect wildlife habitat. The miles of “edge effect” created between field and forest is the perfect habitat for all the resident wildlife. The edges create a miles long wildlife food plot. White tail deer, wild turkey, bobcat, fox, squirrel, rabbit, 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.
The farm is blessed with super abundant year-round natural water sources.
Some nine-cold water-natural mountain springs flow year-round and provide water to the farm as well as the State Fish Hatchery. The flow rate in gallons per minute is not readily known.
Smaller ephemeral streams flow during rain events and snow melt.
There is also a small farm pond.
All rights the owner has will convey with the property. A title search for actual mineral ownership rights is recommend.
BOUNDARIES AND SURVEY
The property is neighbors with the Jefferson National Forest and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Those property lines are surveyed and painted. Other property boundaries are evidenced by land use and some fencing. There is not a current survey on file. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.
Water: Mountain Spring Water
Sewer: Private Septic
Internet: Possible cable or Hughesnet or mobile hotspot.
Cellphone Coverage: Excellent with 4G on the mountain (lower down can be spotty)
The property is served by paved state-maintained roads and has a deeded access rights-of-way across the state of Virginia’s Game and Inland Fisheries Lands. The main traveled way leads to Maple Grove Road RT 603 to Highway 311.
Miles of winding forest trails provide excellent access to nearly every corner of the property.
Craig County is subject to some zoning and subdivision regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the County Commission and also the Health Department for details regarding zoning, building codes and installation of septic systems.
PROPERTY TYPE/USE SUMMARY
The property is comprised of the homestead grounds, meadows, and forestland. A breakdown is as follows:
Homestead grounds: 5 acres +/-
4 meadows containing a total of 15+/- acres ranging in size from an acre to about 10 acres
Small farm pond
Utility Lines R/W/linear foodplot: totaling 3 acres +/-
Forestland: 329 acres +/-
(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: DB 83 Pg. 744
Craig County, Virginia
Acreage: 352 acres +/-
Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Craig County, Virginia
Tax Parcels 32-A-8,9,11,12,13,14,16
2018 Real Estate Taxes: $2,440.26
Craig County School District
Public Elementary School:
McCleary Elementary School
Public Middle School:
Craig County Middle School
Public High School:
Craig County High School
THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL FOREST
Nine Springs Farm adjoins the vast Jefferson National Forest with over a mile of common boundary.
The Jefferson National Forest contains over 117,000 acres. In 1995, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests were administratively combined to form one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. They cover 1.8 million acres of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Approximately 1 million acres of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres have been designated as wilderness areas, which eliminates future development.
THE DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES
Nine Springs Farm adjoins the 500-acre protected lands of The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The (VDGIF) is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and recreational boating for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Founded in 1916, The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ mission is to:
- manage Virginia’s wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth;
- to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia;
- to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing;
- to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia’s fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.
PAINT BANK FISH HATCHERY 1.6 MILLION – RAINBOW TROUT, BROOK TROUT, BROWN TROUT
Nine Springs Farm is an essential neighbor to the Paint Bank Fish Hatchery. Much of the tremendous volume of crystal clear – ice cold water required by the hatchery is provided by the cold water springs flowing from Nine Springs Farm.
The Paint Bank hatchery — run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries — raises brown, brook and rainbow trout, and when those trout are about 18 months old, they are used to stock bodies of water in nine counties from Craig to Henry, including Roanoke. Stocking season is from October to May, but the majority of the trout are released in the spring.
Numerous concrete tanks hold up to 1.6 million trout in all stages of development, thus providing an easy viewing experience for those visiting the hatchery.
The owner has earnestly worked for many years to enhance the 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.
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 to escape the frosts of winter. In fact, tagged monarch butterflies have even been found to travel over 250 miles in one day.
The migration is due to the fact that monarchs can’t survive the cold northern winters, unlike other butterflies that can survive as larvae, pupae, or even as adults in some cases. As a result, the monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration, similar to birds.
One of the enigmas around this phenomenon is how millions of infant butterflies who have never been to their ancestral breeding grounds return to the very trees that their parents roosted in before they were born.
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.
A monarch butterfly can flap its wings up to 120 times in a minute when trying to escape a predator. Their flight speed has been measured between 4 and 12 miles per hour but can be much faster if a monarch uses available wind currents that will speed it up considerably.
Monarchs know when it is time to migrate south for the winter based on the environmental cues associated with seasonal changes. They then use air currents and thermals to travel such incredible distances. In fact, the highest monarch was recorded at 11,000 ft by a glider pilot – that’s over two miles up in the air! Just to put this into perspective, most birds fly below 500 ft, hot air balloons only go up about 200 ft, and even songbird migrations occur in the 2000-4000 ft high range. There’s not much else going on above 11,000 feet other than Mt. Everest (29,028 ft) and passenger jets (36,000 ft).
Of course, other butterflies visit 9 Springs 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 farm pond with all the frogs, fish and turtles.
PAINT BANK GENERAL STORE
Paint Bank General Store offers groceries, gasoline, and a full line of buffalo meat, penny candy, soda, beer and wine. Upstairs offers a unique shopping experience where you can cross a swinging bridge and admire our wildlife display, complete with babbling brook. In addition to the many gift offerings, there is a year ‘round Christmas shop.
The Swinging Bridge Restaurant offers “old-time, Southern, stick-to-your-ribs good cookin’, with a hillbilly gourmet flare. This is a unique dining experience in a cozy setting, with décor that reflects the beauty and splendor of nature, brought indoors. A place to sit down, relax, and have something good to eat.
PAINT BANK, VIRGINIA
Paint Bank got its name from the iron ochre and red clay taken from the banks of Potts Creek that was used by Native Americans, notably the Cherokees, as war paint, and to make their pottery with a distinctive red color. Reportedly settled by permanent settlers in the 18th century, during the early days of the 19th century, the same red clay was later made into a commercial paint and red bricks for permanent buildings. A number of land grants were made by Lord Fairfax and the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially by the later around Paint Bank in the 1820s through the 1850s.
A few miles up the road between Sweet Springs, West Virginia and Paint Bank, is the location of the home of Ann Anne Royall. By some accounts, she was the first professional female journalist in America.
“During the Civil War, the off-the-beaten-path community became known as the “Union hole,” a place for deserters and resisters. It was close to this area that Union General David Hunter fought his most difficult battle, a confrontation involving two of Craig County’s highest mountains, on his trek from Lynchburg, Va., to Sweet Springs, West Virginia”
The Order of the Heroes of America, also known as the “Red Strings”, extended into southwestern Virginia as well. Paint Bank, Virginia was known as a Union-Hole because of the pro-Union membership in these societies. One of the members of the Order was a Christiansburg, Virginia wheelwright named Williams. It is not known if this is the same man named Williams that residents of Back Valley, Virginia spoke about as a member of the Loyal League. “Paint Bank, in Craig County, was the core of what local citizen George A. Linton called the “Union Hole”-an area with mixed loyalties that sometimes swayed heavily to the north, in this traditionally southern state.”
Colonel William Preston (Virginia) established a grist mill for corn and wheat in Paint Bank. “The grist mill sits on Potts Creek, on property originally owned by Revolutionary War hero Colonel William Preston. Colonel Preston was given the land grants in 1780 for his service in the war.” Through the years since the American Revolution, ownership of the mill changed several times, and eventually became known as “Tingler’s Mill”.
A sign advertising Jim Dandy High Energy Dog Ration at the Paint Bank General Store in Paint Bank, Virginia
Although the Tingler’s Mill building today only dates to 1873, the mill site has been in Botetourt County, where it was originally established in 1783. Then the land became part of Monroe County, Virginia in 1851. Then Craig County was formed in 1863 when West Virginia became a state, then was returned to Virginia. “Because of Civil War boundary changes, the mill has been in two different states and five different counties without ever having been moved.” The mill site is now undergoing renovation and conservation.
Iron ore and manganese were mined in the area during the 19th and early 20th centuries by the Virginia Iron, Coal & Coke Company.
During World War I, some further investigations were made in the region for strategic minerals needed for the war. Again during World War II, the Strategic Minerals Investigations team of the United States Geological Survey promoted the mining of manganese as a strategic mineral. Sandstones and cherty sandstones of the Helderberg group are impregnated with manganese oxides, and they are exposed by a cut in the road 2 miles southwest of Paint Bank on the floor of Potts Creek.
During the 19th century, timber cutting was prevalent in the area, especially for the hardwoods. Oak and hemlock bark was used in tanning leather during this period, and these products were highly prized. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are located nearby, as are the Shawvers Run Wilderness and Barbours Creek Wilderness areas. On Peters Mountain are parts of the Old-growth forest. “The Shawvers Run Wilderness Area is located in northern Craig County. This is an area of rugged and remote mountain terrain on the northwestern slope of Potts Mountain, just over the hill from Barbours Creek Wilderness. Elevations range from 2,000 feet on Shawvers Run in the extreme north to 3,800 feet on the top of Hanging Rock in the south. Hanging Rock, Virginia is a 240-acre geologic attraction. Rough hiking will take you through a hardwood forest interspersed with yellow pine, hemlock, and white pine growing in some of the drainages. Within the Wilderness, the headwaters of Valley Branch contain native brook trout, as does Shawvers Run. There is plenty of wildlife.”
At the beginning of the 20th century, the local branch line of the Potts Valley Branch line of the Norfolk & Western Railway. The Train Depot dates from 1909, and the Section Foreman’s Cottage dates from 1910. During this period, daily trains carried out the ore and lumber, and brought in passengers and goods. Paint Bank was the center of a mining and timber boom in the early 1900s, when over 2,000 people lived around Potts Creek. The trains had to turn around at the terminus of a dead end run at Paint Bank.
Originally, the Big Stony Railway was extended from the Norfolk and Western Railroad tracks at Ripplemead in 1896. The track followed the Big Stony Creek along an easy grade to reach the timber stands in the mountains. In 1909 the tracks were extended 27 miles to Paint Bank, and renamed “The Potts Valley Branch”, the “Virginia and Potts Creek Railroad” or the “Punkin Vine.” The tracks were removed during the 1930s and the Depression.
Potts Creek, originally called “Carpenter Creek”, runs through the village. The name was originally applied to a land grant of over 700 acres dating from 1750 to John Carpenter, which was located near present-day Covington, Virginia.
From Paint Bank, Virginia: 2 miles +/- (5 minutes +/-)From the intersection of RT 311 and RT 600 in Paint Bank, travel RT 311 South for 1.6 miles; at the Paint Bank National Fish Hatchery, turn left onto Maple Grove Road RT 603; travel 3/10 mile; turn right onto the access road; travel the access road for 2/10 mile to enter the property.
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