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Tag Archives: Blue Ridge Parkway

Two properties conserved along Blue Ridge Parkway

English: Black Balsam Knob as seen at sunrise ...

Raleigh, N.C. – The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) purchased a 123-acre property that adjoins the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 446 and 450 in Jackson County. The land, made up of three smaller tracts, contains a significant section of Woodfin Creek upstream of the Woodfin Cascades. It also borders the Mountains-to-Sea Trail which hikers can access directly off the Parkway near Woodfin Cascades Overlook. It adjoins a 31-acre property on Bear Creek which CTNC conserved in May 2013.

The property rises to 6,000-feet elevation, hosts a healthy population of native spruce, and lies completely within the Mount Lyn Lowry/Campbell Creek Significant Natural Heritage Area as designated by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The property is part of a growing area of contiguous, protected land that is intended to become the Waterrock Knob/Plott-Balsams Park along the Parkway.

CTNC also purchased a 54-acre property at milepost 440 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville in Haywood County. This property is visible to Parkway visitors at both the Waynesville Overlook and the Village of Saunook Overlook, and while driving nearby stretches of the Parkway between mileposts 440 and 441. This property contains a small portion of the Pinnacle Ridge Natural Heritage Area and book-ends a string of five CTNC-protected properties including the Waynesville Watershed conservation easement, co-held with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

The Conservation Trust purchased these properties below appraised value. The bargain sale enabled the landowners to claim the state’s income tax credit for conservation donations before the credit expired on January 1, 2014 due to state legislative action. Generous funding for the purchases was provided to CTNC by Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury. CTNC plans to convey the properties to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Parkway’s official boundary within three years.

“These two beautiful properties will be excellent additions to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ensuring that water quality, healthy forests, and stunning views are preserved along the Parkway is critical to the park’s long-term health and vitality,” said Mark Woods, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent. The Conservation Trust for North Carolina has now conserved 52 properties on the Blue Ridge Parkway, totaling 31,361 acres.

“The owners of these properties wanted to conserve their land and were able to do so in part because of the state tax income credit for conservation donations, which was recently repealed. We hope that in the future the NC General Assembly will reconsider its decision to terminate this successful program, which has helped conserve over 240,000 acres of natural lands,” said CTNC Executive Director Reid Wilson.

Other land trusts that conserve land in Jackson and Haywood counties include: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (, based in Asheville; Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (, based in Franklin; Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust (, based in Highlands; and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (, based in Hendersonville.

Devils courthouse blue ridge parkway

Devils courthouse blue ridge parkway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina protects the Blue Ridge Parkway’s natural and scenic corridor, assists 23 local land trusts so that they can protect more land in the communities they serve, and connects North Carolina families with the outdoors. Land trusts preserve land and waterways to safeguard your way of life. They work with landowners to ensure natural lands are protected for safe drinking water and clean air, fresh and local foods, recreation, tourism, and healthy wildlife habitat.

Blue Ridge Parkway open through Asheville today

After last week’s snowstorm of epic proportions inthe Asheville area, tThe Blue Ridge Parkway was closed for much of its stretch through North Carolina. But with the rapidly warming weather, a short stretch through the Asheville corridor is open today, Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed today.

Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed today.

The rest of the parkway, though, in North Carolina is closed for snow, ice, and dangerous road conditions.

The parkway is open at Mileposts 389 at Hendersonville Road/U.S. 25 in South Asheville, through U.S. 74 near the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, up to MP 382 at U.S. 70/Tunnel Road at the Folk Art Center, which are both open today. This is where the parkway is closed, though.

In places where the parkway is gated, you can park off to the side, and access the parkway in most places by foot to walk, hike, snowshoe, cross-country ski, walk the dog or bicycle.

For more up to date road information on the parkway, visit or call the parkway visitor center at 828-298-5330.

Smokies, Blue Ridge tourism loss over funding-related closures expected to hurt Western Carolina

ASHEVILLE — The usually much-anticipated spring and summer seasons in Western North Carolina’s national parks will come with fewer places to camp on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park; a disappearance of rangers and their familiar Stetson hats; and longer waits for restrooms, picnic areas and visitor centers to open.

The full effect of the so-called sequestration budget cuts on the National Park Service hit full force this week, when park administrators devised plans to meet the budget slashing.

All parks must cut their budgets by 5 percent, including the parkway, the most visited of all national park units, for the rest of the year. Parkway superintendent Phil Francis said the immediate effects will mean the loss of some 40 jobs and all seasonal interpretive programs for the remainder of the year to accommodate the $784,000 budget cut.

“We’re going to cut 21 seasonal interpretive jobs. There are four districts between North Carolina and Virginia — the cuts will be equally distributed,” Francis said. “We’ve got four maintenance seasonals we won’t be able to hire, a handful of seasonal rangers in the campgrounds we can’t hire.”

Continue reading at the Asheville Citizen-Times

Sequester Smacks Great Smokey Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway

PHOTO: April will bring the blooms of Redbuds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Due to federal budget cuts under the sequester, 3 campgrounds, 2 picnic areas and 1 horse camp will not open this summer. Photo credit: Public Domain
PHOTO: April will bring the blooms of Redbuds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Due to federal budget cuts under the sequester, 3 campgrounds, 2 picnic areas and 1 horse camp will not open this summer. Photo credit: Public Domain

March 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Federal budget cuts mean you may have to revise those summer vacation plans.

The sequester is leading to closures and cutbacks on services offered at places such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains.

That’s because the National Park Service is among the areas that got hit with the automatic spending cuts that began to take effect this month.

Don Barger, Southeast regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, says the impact will be felt since there was little-to-no wiggle room before.

“When paying for staff and fixed costs take up about 90 percent of your budget and you get a cut of 9 percent in your spending authority for the next six months, you don’t have a lot of choices,” he says. “So, that’s why we’re seeing a whole lot of facilities that need to be closed, that can’t be maintained or can’t be staffed.”

Overall, the National Park system is said to support 250,000 jobs in the country, with an annual economic impact of $30 billion.

In addition to the impact on those who want to get out and enjoy time in the great outdoors, Barger says the forced cutbacks for the National Park Service will actually end up costing more in the long run.

“The entire National Park Service budget, to run the entire system, is one-fourteenth of 1 percent of the federal budget,” he says. “And it’s an economic generator. These mindless across-the-board cuts will cripple one of the few consistent generators of economic activity for many regional and local economies.”

Since each park across the country is different with different offerings, Barger says how the sequester will affect them will vary.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the sequester means three campgrounds, two picnic areas and one horse camp will be closed.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most visited unit of America’s national Park System, more than 20 seasonal ranger positions have been cut.

“They have 14 visitor contact centers up and down the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” Barger says. “That runs from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, all the way down to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. And so as a result, half of those visitor centers are going to have to be closed during this tourism season.”

On Thursday, a group of U.S. Representatives urged Speaker John Boehner to bring a bill to repeal the sequester to the House floor for a vote.

John Michaelson, Public News Service – TN


Folk Art Center exterior

Image via Wikipedia

Asheville Storytelling Circle hosts Tellabration! on Sunday, November 21, from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Started in 1988, Tellabration! is an international phenomenon, where people from all over the globe gather the week before Thanksgiving to share the art of storytelling. Started in Connecticut and 6 other states, it quickly spread, and by 1997, was on every continent except Antarctica.

Asheville is participating for the 13th year in this global event, sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and the National Storytelling Network.

Visitors will be entertained by

Blue Ridge Parkway Awarded $13.3 Million Stimulus

Blue Ridge ParkwayGreat news for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and all of us who enjoy scenic cruises around Asheville and throughout WNC. This 13.3 million dollar stimulus is part of the larger American Recovery & Investment Act of 2009, these funds are slated to help with repairs and needed maintenance. Explore Asheville has more details:
The Blue Ridge Parkway, portions of which run through Asheville, was awarded $13.3 million in federal stimulus money. The Blue Ridge Parkway will use the funds for repairs including reconstructing historic stone guard walls, removing vegetation and hazardous trees and repairing trails. The money is part of the $750 million allocated to more than 750 projects at national parks across the United States as part of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009. Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior, said in a statement that the investment in the national park system would create “a new legacy of stewardship for our national park system while helping our economy stand up again.”
Although our economy sure seems to be shrinking, these funds are certainly going to help the Blue Ridge Parkway continue being a beautifully maintained stretch of gorgeous roadway for the adventurous. Its another happy day for WNC, get out there and enjoy it

Local Parks & Green Ways Near Asheville

OtterWow, check out this great directory of local parks and green ways around Asheville. You