Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Vistas Protected with the Expansion of Doughton Park

Alleghany County: Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) and the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) jointly purchased a 103-acre property along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Alleghany County.  The land borders the Parkway and Doughton Park for approximately 4,000 feet, and features both scenic vistas and important wildlife habitat.

This section of the Parkway was cut into the north side of Bluff Mountain where ice coats the rocks above the road, thus giving this area the name “Ice Rock.” The Ice Rock is a popular destination for ice climbing in the winter when the Parkway is closed.

BRC and CTNC plan to donate this land to the National Park Service to be managed as part of Doughton Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The addition of this property to the Parkway will preserve the scenic vistas along the Parkway and increase the connectivity of protected lands in the area.

“Protecting the High Country’s scenic vistas and mountain landscapes is part of Blue Ridge Conservancy’s mission,” said Walter Clark, BRC Executive Director. “With the National Park Service’s Centennial this year, we celebrate the Parkway as the most frequently visited national park unit in the country.  BRC is proud to partner with CTNC to conserve these iconic views along this one-of-a-kind scenic byway.”

Doughton Park hosts 30 miles of hiking trails with open meadows, campgrounds, healthy forests and abundant wildlife viewing.  The park offers a variety of cultural and historical demonstrations by NPS staff.  “The Doughton Park section of the Blue Ridge Parkway has a special place in the Parkway’s history,” said Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods.  “It is among the oldest sections of the Parkway, yet with this newly protected tract and renewed interest in other attractions in this area, the future is very bright.”

“We are thrilled to have a small part in protecting this incredible view for all Parkway visitors to enjoy and encourage everyone to get out and explore Doughton Park.”  Margaret Newbold, CTNC Associate Director.

Funding for the Ice Rock project was made possible by a generous donation from Fred and Alice Stanback.

Blue Ridge Conservancy, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and several other partners recently launched a website highlighting land trust protected properties along the NC section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The web link is:  http://protecttheblueridgeparkway.org/

The website includes photos and property descriptions, including availability for hiking, an interactive map, landowner stories, and information about each partner land trust and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Nikki Bauman