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Blue Ridge Conservancy Receives Land Acquisition Grants from the Complete the Trail Fund for the Northern Peaks State Trail

Raleigh, NC – The NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR) recently awarded $3,025,636 in grants for 13 land acquisition projects through the Complete the Trails Program Fund (CTF). These grants will leverage more than $13 million in matching funds to help local nonprofit partners acquire land for state trails projects in nine North Carolina counties. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) was awarded two land acquisition grants, for $125,000 and $144,000 respectively, to expand the corridor for the Northern Peaks State Trail (NPST). These grants will allow BRC to protect an additional 48 acres on The Peak in Creston, which will eventually become part of Elk Knob State Park and the NPST.

“We are very excited about the two land acquisition awards that BRC received from the Complete the Trails Program,” says NPST Coordinator Jordan Sellers. “That type of funding is crucial to completing our state trails and we thank the NC General Assembly for supporting our work in this way. These acquisitions will continue protection along the Amphibolite Mountains, expand Elk Knob State Park and expand the NPST corridor. Thank you to BRC’s Land Protection Director, Eric Hiegl, for making this happen.” 

Legislation passed in 2021 by the NC General Assembly created the CTF, which provides funding to finish major trail projects and help small communities develop trails to connect to state trails. The legislation requires that the funds be distributed by the NCDPR to a nonprofit partner for each state trail. To be the recognized partner, an organization must have a Memorandum of Understanding with NCDPR and an approved 3- to 5-year plan for deploying the funds to develop the state trail.

The NCDPR released the following quote regarding the CTF grants: “The NCDPR recognizes the outstanding land acquisition grant applications made possible by the hard work of our partner organizations. These awards will help address the urgent need in our rapidly growing State Trail System for increased land, which will result in increases in trail development, trail amenities, and connectivity.”

BRC partners with landowners and local communities to permanently protect natural resources with agricultural, cultural, recreational, ecological, and scenic value in northwest North Carolina.  BRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit land trust nationally accredited through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. BRC is the lead partner of the NPST project, with the aim to connect Boone to the Jeffersons via a 45-mile walking trail. 

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Conservancy