A trust fund has given $23.8 million to help preserve more than 113,000 acres of land in North Carolina considered culturally and ecologically significant.
The grants to state agencies include money to buy additional land at Chimney Rock State Park, and to protect areas of the Scuppernong River Swamp Forest in Tyrrell County and in other locations.
Funds also will buy land near historic sites like the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge in Catawba County and protect bald eagle habitat in Durham and Chatham counties.
The awards are granted by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund. The awards are funded by state bonds and portions of the tax on real estate deed transfers and fees for personalized license plates.
Some projects also call for private donations and other funding.