By Paul T. Choate
The Mast Stores in Boone, Asheville, Hendersonville, as well as the Original Store and Annex in Valle Crucis, will all be participating in the Friend’s Day sale tomorrow and ten percent of all proceeds from sales on Saturday will go to BRPF.
The partnership between Mast General Store and BRPF has been in place for five years and according to Lynne Fletcher, BRPF director of administration, the annual Friend’s Day sales have raised $46,700 to benefit the foundation to date.
“It’s been wonderful [working with Mast General Store]. They work closely with us on getting information out about the Parkway itself and vice versa we let people know about them being one of our partners,” said Fletcher. “Mast really is sincere about this partnership. They love doing this for us. It really has been a wonderful partnership.”
Foundation stewards, including contributors to the 2011 Friend’s Day sale, help fund projects focusing on education, historic and natural resources, as well as visitor enrichment, amenities and safety for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
One of the major new initiatives as part of “Our Kids in Parks” is adding TRACK trails, which are kid-friendly hiking trails, along the parkway. To date, over 15 trails have been installed in the regions surrounding the parkway. On Sept. 22, Kids in Parks will be celebrating the grand opening of a new 1.9-mile TRACK trail at Elk Knob State near Boone.
BRPF also has a new vision for the Moses H. Cone Estate near Blowing Rock, which features visitor attractions where experiencing history will be combined with recreational activities.
The High Country’s most well known resource for weather, Ray’s Weather, has also recently partnered with BRPF. Ray’s Weather installed weather stations and webcams along the parkway to allow National Park Service staff and visitors access to up-to-the-minute weather information.
Representatives from BRPF will be at all Mast Stores in North Carolina (except the Waynesville store, which partners with Friends of the Smokies for their Friend’s Day sale) tomorrow. The will be informing patrons about ongoing projects related to the parkway.
For more information about the Friend’s Day sale, call 828-963-6511.