JK Moving Services partnered with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy to protect an 87-acre parcel of land in northern Loudoun County, near Lucketts, VA. JK purchased the property in 2018 with the intent to place it into conservation easement to protect from development in perpetuity. The Land Trust of Virginia, based in Middleburg, executed the easement for the property, which will be known as JK Wildlife Sanctuary.
JK Moving President and CEO Chuck Kuhn plans to sell the property to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) when it raises the necessary funds. It will be sold at the lower “conserved” property value, and JK Moving and the Kuhn Family Foundation will donate the remaining balance. The easement was done in anticipation of LWC acquiring the property by the end of 2019.
The property has more native species of plant and wildlife indigenous to Loudoun and Virginia than is typical. It provides an important wildlife habitat for several aquatic and terrestrial species, including salamanders, frogs, turtles, raptors, songbirds, and others; with potential habitat for two State Threatened Species – the Wood Turtle and the Loggerhead Shrike. The Sanctuary consists of 54 acres of forest cover that includes black oak, white oak, black walnut, chestnut oak, red hickory, scarlet oak, black gum, black cherry, and red maple; along with 10.7 acres of minor floodplain and 13 important vernal pools.
According to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, its organizational vision statement for the property is as follows: “To forever preserve and enhance the globally rare wetlands at JK’s Wildlife Sanctuary as a wildlife sanctuary by protecting the sensitive vernal pools, unique geological setting, and the rich amphibian and wildlife populations. Additionally, to serve as a model and catalyst to conserve adjacent lands and to create an ecologically significant sanctuary for the conservation and study of native wildlife.”
LWC plans to hold the property in its natural state and conduct occasional field trips and citizen science monitoring just as it does at both the Dulles Wetlands Mitigation Project and at Gum Farm. In addition, it plans to create a small set of walking trails to enable restricted and guided public access and to use this as the first of several Loudoun wildlife sanctuaries of significant habitats preserved across the county.
According to Land Trust of Virginia officials, the property lies within the Mosby Heritage Area as well as The Journey Through Hallowed Ground, further protecting land important to the cultural and historic qualities of Loudoun.