Blue Ridge Conservancy Transfers New Watauga River Access Property in Valle Crucis to Watauga County

Last Updated on December 7, 2023 3:52 pm

Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently transferred a newly constructed access on the Watauga River in Valle Crucis to Watauga County for management. The access is part of the Watauga River Paddle Trail and is located between the Hwy 194 bridge and Mast Gap Road.  Currently the property features a parking area and a ramp to the water, and a kiosk and entrance sign will be added in the near future. This is the second access on the Watauga River BRC has helped facilitate, joining the Guy Ford Rd / Lower Gorge River Access, completed in 2020. 

Eric Hiegl, BRC Director of Land Protection & Stewardship: “BRC continues its commitment of increasing public access to our natural resources. The Watauga River Paddle Trail is an excellent example of strategic land conservation creating public places in the region.”  

The property is 8.5 acres, with MaryAnn Mueller and Diana Travis gifting 6 acres, and the Tennessee Valley Authority and Watauga Tourism Development Association funding the purchase of the other 2.5 acres.

BRC received funds from the NC General Assembly and Watauga County Tourism Development Authority to construct the parking area and river access. 

“We are pleased to be able to support this project which will add another public access area to the Watauga River,” said Wright Tilley, Executive Director of the Watauga County TDA. This access area will tie in to other popular areas on the Watauga River that the tourism development authority has been involved with including Watauga Gorge Park and the Guy Ford access.”

Watauga County Commissioner Braxton Eggers: “This will be a great asset to the Foscoe and Valle Crucis communities. The Valle Crucis River Access is a great example of collaboration between Watauga County and Blue Ridge Conservancy to improve our community and benefit our constituents.”

There will be an official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the access in the spring. 

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