Blue Ridge Conservancy protects key tract of Grandfather Mountain ridgeline; transfers ownership to NC State Parks

Two years ago Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) acquired some of the most significant land on Grandfather Mountain in order to ensure the protection of the entire ridgeline. This October BRC transferred ownership of the 211 acres to Grandfather Mountain State Park.  North Carolina State Parks considers this land ‘critical’ in its acquisition plans and now it will be managed by Grandfather Mountain State Park. 

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Nikki Robinson
$542,000 secured for Middle Fork Greenway development thanks to local businesses and state grant

The Town of Blowing Rock officially proclaimed the month of July as “Middle Fork Greenway Month,” and the activities ensued certainly lived up to its name. An unprecedented number of businesses worked together to raise money in support of constructing the next section of greenway trail that will eventually connect the towns of Blowing Rock and Boone with a pedestrian and bicycle friendly alternate route that benefits residents, visitors, and businesses of Watauga County.


The Round Up for the Middle Fork Greenway rallied support with a first-ever community-wide fundraiser by 118 businesses throughout the county. Businesses participated by asking their customers to round up their purchase to the next dollar or give to a donation jar. Some businesses gave a percentage of their sales for the month or gave a one time donation. The collective effort raised $112,000 and counting as donations continue to come in.

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Nikki Robinson
Fundraising for two-mile Peak Mountain Trail in Seven Devils Continues

In a town council meeting on Feb. 13, the town of Seven Devils authorized grant applications for the Recreation Trails Program and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for the new Peak Mountain Trail on land owned by BRC.

“The town council has great vision for creating and preserving more green areas in and around the town of Seven Devils,” said Debbie Powers, town manager.

RTP Grants require a 25 percent commitment by the applying community, so with the $20,000 approved by Seven Devils, the maximum the town could receive from the grant is $80,000.

The PARTF grant requires a 50 percent match, which the town and RTP grant would cover. 

“This goes along with our Parks and Recreation Master Plan,” noted town clerk Hillary Gropp.

The town worked with Blue Ridge Conservancy — who acquired 295 acres on Peak Mountain since 2016 thanks to generous donations from Fred and Alice Stanback — to develop the plan for the proposed trail and apply for the grants.

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Nikki Robinson