ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Poor Mountain is expanding its acreage at the natural area preserve in the Commonwealth.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) says it received a parcel of more than 78 acres to help with protecting the scenic mountain viewshed, drinking water quality, and globally rare piratebush habitat.

“We are excited to be able to protect this key parcel with a ridgeline near a populated area that enhances outdoor recreation while conserving habitat for imperiled species,” said DCR Director Matt Wells. “This acquisition, in partnership with the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, is important to the long-term ecological integrity of the natural resources in the area.”

According to officials, Urban Forestry Management LLC provided the parcel to the DCR with a $236,847 grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. This parcel can be seen by residents of Salem and southwest Roanoke, as well as from McAfee Knob and Peaks of Otter on the Appalachian Trail.

The department says the additional acreage is a mixture of hardwoods and pines, headwater streams of the Roanoke River, and drinking water. There is also a large population of the globally rare piratebush, Buckleya distichophylla.

“This population of piratebush and the surrounding central Appalachian forest community are truly irreplaceable. We are proud to have expanded Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve and helped to ensure the resilience of the natural heritage resources there,” said Jason Bulluck, director of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program.

Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve’s acreage with the expansion totals 1,404. According to the DCR, it is the fourth largest owned natural area preserve.