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Blue Ridge Conservancy Receives Important Funding in New State Budget for Ashe Parks

On Monday, Governor Cooper signed into law the new state budget. The budget contains
exceptional news for the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF) and the Parks and
Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Both will now receive $24.2 million annually, essentially
doubling their annual appropriation. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) will receive a $950,000
appropriation for the Middle Fork Greenway (MFG) to develop the Boone Gorge Park, and
$100,000 for the development of Paddy Mountain Park in Ashe County, a cooperative project of
BRC, the Town of West Jefferson, and Ashe County.

“The impact on conservation in North Carolina cannot be understated,” says BRC Executive
Director Charlie Brady, “This increase in funding will support local conservation and public
access projects throughout the state. We are grateful the Governor and Legislature are
committed to supporting the important work of the trust funds.”

“These funds will help accelerate our plans to prepare our land on Paddy Mountain for public
access, including a trailhead for the Northern Peaks State Trail,” continues Brady. “These direct
appropriations would not have been included in the budget without the advocacy and support of
Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Ray Pickett. We are very grateful for their hard
work and dedication in supporting these two major public recreation projects.”

MFG Director Wendy Patoprsty agrees: “This appropriation is a huge step forward in the
development of the next section of trail, assisting with the parking area and ecological
enhancements needed at the new Boone Gorge Park.”