Released By The National Wildlife Federation News Release
April 05, 2001


Washington, D.C. -- The nation's largest conservation organization honored Duke Energy with its prestigious National Conservation Achievement Award at its 65th Annual Meeting today in Washington, D.C. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) recognized Duke Energy's outstanding contributions to the Jocassee Gorges project, which led to the protection of tens of thousands of wilderness acres in the states of North and South Carolina.

"Duke Energy is demonstrating that large, multi-national companies can give back to the community and its wildlife in a meaningful way," said NWF President Mark Van Putten. "The company's efforts to conserve these spectacular lands reflect a commitment to the environment and to sound resource management. Their example proves that successful business and land stewardship can -- and must -- go hand in hand."

Through the recent Jocassee Gorges project, which local leaders have called "the most significant conservation project in the Southern Appalachians in the past 50 years," Duke Energy transferred 50,000 acres of land to the people of the Carolinas and to the USDA Forest Service, land that offers outstanding wildlife habitat, tremendous natural beauty and valuable recreational opportunities. The land was sold to the states, while Duke Energy made a contribution to facilitate the sale.

This spectacular mountain landscape is a precious resource for people and wildlife alike. With its rugged gorges, spectacular waterfalls, and rivers fed by plentiful rains, the area is home to eagles, peregrine falcons, black bears, trout and rare plant species, and offers a welcome escape for hikers, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. A nationally significant natural resource in its own right, this parcel also ties together other existing conservation lands to create a major preserve along the Southeastern Blue Ridge Escarpment.

Even while Duke Energy owned this property, the company proved an excellent land steward, keeping the area undeveloped and carefully managed. By turning over this land to the states of North and South Carolina and the Forest Service, Duke Energy has ensured that it will be protected in the long term. As a result of the company's efforts, South Carolina now has a new state-owned 33,000 acre tract of gamelands and heritage preserves, while its northern neighbor has its newest and westernmost state park. The company is also maintaining an adjacent 10,000 acres of its own land as a conservation easement.

Since 1965, NWF's National Conservation Achievement Awards have been presented each year to individuals and organizations who provide leadership in spreading the conservation message and protecting natural resources. For 2000, awards were presented in the following categories: NWF Affiliate of the Year, Communications, Corporate Leadership, Education, Government, International, Legal/Legislative, Organization, Philanthropy, Science, Youth, and Special Achievement. Duke Energy was honored in the Corporate Leadership category.

The nation's largest member-supported conservation advocacy and education group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people from all walks of life to protect nature, wildlife, and the world we all share. The Federation has educated and inspired families to uphold America's conservation tradition since 1936. Its common-sense approach to environmental protection brings individuals, organizations, and governments together to ensure a brighter future for people and wildlife.

Contact: Megan Ross
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