Last Updated on January 31, 2024 12:54 pm
Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently purchased 48 acres on The Peak in Ashe County for use as part of the Northern Peaks State Trail (NPST). This land is key to constructing the trail in a sustainable manner to avoid the ecologically significant rock outcroppings of The Peak. Located in the Long Hope Valley/Elk Knob/The Peak Natural Area as identified by the NC Natural Heritage Program, the acreage has an “Overall Rating” of Excellent, the highest designation. Funding for this project came from the NC Complete the Trails Program.
“BRC is excited to continue land protection efforts at Elk Knob State Park with this acquisition on The Peak,” says Eric Hiegl, BRC’s Director of Land Protection and Stewardship. “The property encompasses multiple conservation values including ecological, recreation, and scenic qualities.”
NPST Coordinator Jordan Sellers: “This is a critical acquisition to ensure the NPST is designed and constructed in a sustainable manner. Our goal is to tread lightly on the land, and the west slope of The Peak was identified as the preferred location of the NPST in the Elk Knob State Park Master Plan. Leveraging the NPST to protect land along the Amphibolites is a great example of BRC and our partners at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources getting creative in order to conserve land and increase public access. ”
At 5,207 feet, The Peak is the highest mountain in Ashe County, and this property adds to the over 1,500 acres already protected. One of 12 designated State Trails, the approximately 40-mile NPST will connect Boone to the Jeffersons.