The Middle Fork Greenway is a project led by Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways to build a greenway path from Blowing Rock to Boone.
What is the Middle Fork Greenway? A developing pedestrian and cycling greenway along the Middle Fork River and US 321 corridor connecting Boone and Blowing Rock.
Who is leading the effort? The Middle Fork Greenway is being created through partnerships. Two non-profit partners, the Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways are leading the effort in partnership with Watauga County, the Town of Blowing Rock, the Town of Boone, and many community organizations.
How long will it be? 6.5 miles. It will connect with the existing Boone Greenway, creating almost 10 miles of contiguous trail.
What will it connect to? The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountains-to-Sea trail, Shoppes on the Parkway, Tweetsie, Mystery Hill, 3 pocket parks and other natural areas, Appalachian Regional Health’s hospital and new acute care facility.
What is the width and surface? In most places it will be 10 foot wide asphalt. Some board walking may be required. Also, some areas may be natural surface trail initially.
What activities will be allowed? Walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding. There will be no motorized vehicles permitted other than wheelchairs.
How is it being created? Guided by a master plan, the greenway is being built segment by segment as land is secured, engineering is completed and funding is secured.
How much is completed? Approximately 1 mile and three pocket parks (over 9 acres)
How much of the land has been secured? Much of the land has been secured through donations, partnerships or purchase. For the gaps, alternative routes exist and organizers are reaching out to landowners. A portion of the greenway will utilize DOT right of way, but most will be obtained through partnerships with landowners.
How is it being funded? Funding is being secured through public grants and private donations. Private donations are critical to providing matching funds to attract public dollars. The completed one-mile section was funded by NCDOT, Appalachian Healthcare System, Tweetsie Railroad and many generous private donors.
What will be the next section to be completed? Engineering is nearly complete for the next phase of the greenway, running from the new Chestnut Ridge acute care facility, through National Park Service property where it will intersect the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, then connect to a trailhead near the Shoppes on the Parkway in Blowing Rock. Fundraising is currently underway for this 1.3 mile section, including state grant applications and the pursuit of matching funds. Blue Ridge Conservancy recently purchased a 12 acre tract which will extend the greenway another 0.9 miles North of Tweetsie Railroad. Fundraising is underway for construction on this section as well.