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Rep. Chuck McGrady honored by North Carolina land trusts for promoting conservation
State Rep. Chuck McGrady is the recipient of an award given by North Carolina’s 24 land trusts to a public official who has been a critical part of land and water protection in the state. The award is given to a public official who leads efforts to protect the state’s streams and lakes, forests, farms, parkland and wildlife habitat, thereby protecting clean drinking water and air, local food, outdoor recreation, and North Carolina’s unique natural heritage.
The award was presented in February at the board meeting of Blue Ridge Forever, a consortium of 13 partnering land trusts with a goal to protect 50,000 acres in western North Carolina. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and the Conservation Trust of North Carolina and nominated McGrady for the award.
In his very first year as a member of the General Assembly in 2011, Chuck McGrady of Henderson County spearheaded legislation that for years has been high on the list of priorities for North Carolina’s land trusts. House Bill H350 called for greater uniformity and consistency in exempting land owned by land trusts from local property taxes.
McGrady worked diligently to build consensus on H350 with the NC Association of County Commissioners, the NC Tax Assessors Association and the NC Department of Revenue, all of whom had previously opposed the legislation. He also worked closely with the House and Senate leadership to prevent amendments that would have weakened the bill. The measure was passed in both chambers by wide margins and was signed into law by Gov. Beverly Perdue.
“In a session marked by a change in power and priorities, North Carolina land trusts needed an energetic friend with strong ties to leaders in both chambers,” said Kieran Roe, executive director of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. “Chuck McGrady provided that service, carrying on a longstanding tradition of conservation leadership within the ‘Teddy Roosevelt wing’ of the Republican Party.”
McGrady’s conservation work is based on long experience, including serving on the board of the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund and as chair of its Acquisitions Committee. He was a founder, past president and long-time supporter of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC). He also served as executive director of the North Carolina Youth Camp Association and is director emeritus of Falling Creek Camp, a boys’ summer camp in Tuxedo, N.C. In addition to his ongoing support of CMLC, he has been a volunteer leader for numerous conservation groups including John Muir Foundation, Muddy Sneakers, N.C. Forest Council, Friends of DuPont Forest and the American Camp Association. He served for seven years on the national board of directors of the Sierra Club, including as president from 1998 to 2000.