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What is the status of the Orton Plantation renovation of the rice fields and the longleaf pines?

Restoration efforts of the rice fields and longleaf pines at the Orton Plantation have been “very successful” since the property’s purchase by billionaire Louis Moore Bacon in 2010, according to information provided by the Orton Plantation.

Over the last year, however, renovation work has been delayed by flooding experienced in the lower Cape Fear region.

Click here to see past photos of Orton Plantation’s restoration.

The plantation has yet to harvest a rice crop because of high levels of saturated salt within the soil. Planting has been modified to grow plants that will reduce the salt content and once salt levels are lower, the plantation will investigate the opportunity to grow a harvestable crop of rice. The endeavor could take several years.

Work on Orton’s rice fields also involves alleviating the impacts of flooding and ship wake erosion, as well as the potential impacts of global warming and rising water levels.

The longleaf pine habitat has benefitted from prescribed burns that reduce pests and allow air and light through to the ground. Wildlife have also benefited from the fire-managed habitat, with Orton and the NC State Safe Harbor Agreement recognizing evidence of a Red-cockaded Woodpecker population increase.

Though the Orton Plantation is no longer a visitor attraction, guided tours are occasionally provided to interested groups and societies. Tours are currently limited due to ongoing construction and restoration.

In the future, the Orton Plantation could possibly have restricted openings to and for charitable organizations.

User-contributed question by:
Palma Smith

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4 Responses to “ What is the status of the Orton Plantation renovation of the rice fields and the longleaf pines?”

  1. On July 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm Palma Smith wrote:

    Thank you so much for the very informative and comprehensive response to my query.

    Before the property was closed to the public, we used to visit the gardens and picnic there on a regular basis. It is a bird-watchers paradise and a living historical treasure.

    We hope we get a chance to tag along with one of the environmental/educational tours in the future.

    Thanks again,
    Palma (Pam) Smith

  2. On July 19, 2016 at 10:36 am Susan Dade wrote:

    I am an artist who has spent time painting Orton on several occasions over a 20 year period. I have these paintings in my private collection. Many Brunswick Co. residents would cherish the chance to visit again! This property is similar to Brookgreen Gardens in SC where one can tour the rice firls and behold the locountry history. Thank you for preserving this land. susandade.com

  3. On July 25, 2016 at 12:49 am Virginia Redwine wrote:

    Are the gardens still at Orton or have they been taken out for the rice fields & pines?

  4. On July 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    Bacon has said the gardens are being renovated, based on historical research. Here’s another article where you can read more.

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