Last Updated on May 12, 2022 6:53 pm
This week, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) purchased 33 acres of land just outside Boone, providing a critical link for the Middle Fork Greenway, which will connect Boone to Blowing Rock. The property features 2,000 feet of frontage along the Middle Fork New River and will be known as Boone Gorge Park. In addition to the public access and recreational opportunities provided by the property, protecting this portion of the river is hugely important because it is located just upstream of Boone’s primary source of drinking water. The property was purchased from the family of Artie Hollars, and BRC is grateful for their help in conserving this exceptional tract of land. Funding for the project came from the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority and the State Capital Infrastructure Fund.
“The Boone Gorge Park acquisition is a major investment in public access and recreational opportunities in Watauga County,” says Charlie Brady, BRC Executive Director. “The purchase is another example of BRC’s commitment to protect land that can be enjoyed by everyone. We are extremely grateful for the support provided by Senator Deanna Ballard, Representative Ray Pickett, and the Watauga County TDA. Without their commitment this conservation success and many others in the region would not have happened.”
Middle Fork Greenway Director Wendy Patoprsty is excited about what the purchase means for the continuation of the trail: “This is an essential link for the future connection of the Middle Fork Greenway, and we are partnering with Appalachian State University to extend the trail onto their land. We are fundraising for the construction costs and working on design, engineering, and permitting, and expect to have the park completed in three to four years. Success hinges on permitting and fundraising: Businesses and individuals are encouraged to participate in the annual ‘Round Up For The Greenway' fundraiser, held during the month of July.”
The Middle Fork Greenway trail is a project of BRC, and will connect Boone to Blowing Rock along the Middle Fork New River. Several parks and trail sections are currently open.