Last Updated on December 18, 2023 3:49 pm
West Jefferson, NC – In a ceremony at Town Hall, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) transferred ownership of 152 acres of land on Paddy Mountain to the town of West Jefferson. The land, acquired in 2021 through a massive collaborative effort between BRC and the West Jefferson community, will be protected as a public park and serve as a trailhead for the Northern Peaks State Trail. Part of the ecologically rich Amphibolite Mountains, this land adjoins 445 acres of protected land managed by the NC Plant Conservation Program.
“This transfer of Paddy Mountain to the town of West Jefferson is a conservation win nine years in the making,” says Eric Hiegl, BRC’s Director of Land Protection. “The community and the Conservancy came together to protect Paddy Mountain from development and instead have it protected forever as a space for public recreation.”
Brantley Price, West Jefferson Town Manager, says “With the preservation of Paddy Mountain, downtown West Jefferson will be able to keep the beauty that overlooks the town. The partnership of BRC, the town, the county, Blue Ridge Energy, Skyline Telephone, Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, LifeStore Bank, Conservation Trust of NC, and to all the donors that made this purchase possible, thank you. Paddy Mountain Park is going to be a great addition/attraction to our area for locals and visitors to enjoy.”
Work at Paddy Mountain Park is presently underway, with approximately one mile of the three-mile stacked-loop trail on the ground. The trail is being built to modern, sustainable standards while avoiding sensitive natural areas and is not yet open. The trail projects were made possible by a Recreational Trails Program grant and a direct appropriation from the NC General Assembly. The park infrastructure, including the parking lot, restrooms, pavilion, picnic tables, and the NPST trailhead, are being funded by a $500,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant, a $250,000 direct appropriation from the NC General Assembly, and local government contributions. The park is slated to be open by early 2025 at the latest.