ASHEVILLE — The founder of Epic Games is donating a large stretch of North Carolina’s Appalachian highlands to be preserved as a haven for wildlife.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy announced the donation of 7,500 acres in the Roan Highlands by Tim Sweeney, the founder and CEO of Epic Games, based in Cary, North Carolina.
News outlets reported that the nonprofit group signed a letter of intent on Thursday to accept the land transfer, which should be completed in the next year.
In addition to overseeing Epic’s Fortnite and Rocket League video game franchises, Sweeney has been a conservation philanthropist. The newspaper reported that county deed registers value the properties in the tens of millions of dollars, but the conservancy considers the land to be priceless.
The Roan Mountain donation consists of dozens of contiguous parcels of land rising to 5,300 feet, including old growth forests and rare plants and animals, some of them on the endangered species list. It also includes six waterfalls, the nation’s largest American Chestnut restoration project and “any kind of animal you can imagine in the Southern Appalachian forests,” Roan stewardship director Marquette Crockett said.