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New Businesses Join Middle Fork Greenway Fundraiser Planned for Easter Weekend

Appalachian Ski Mountain President Brad Moretz announcing the Easter weekend fundraiser for the Middle Fork Greenway. Photos by Jesse Wood
d Appalachian Ski Mountain President Brad Moretz announcing the Easter weekend fundraiser for the Middle Fork Greenway at the resort last month. Photos by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

More than a dozen new businesses have come on board to donate proceeds for the Middle Fork Greenway during Easter Weekend since Appalachian Ski Mtn. announced that it would be open on the holiday to raise money for the trail project.

“We are moved by the number of businesses and individuals that are enthusiastic about participating in our ‘Greenway Weekend!’  We invite anyone who would like to participate in donating a portion of their sales from Easter Saturday or Sunday toward the Middle Fork Greenway initiative with us,” Brenda Speckmann of Appalachain Ski Mtn. said on Thursday.

In February, Appalachian Ski Mtn. President Brad Moretz announced an extended ski season at the resort through Easter Weekend – Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5 – and that all ski-ticket sales on Saturday will be donated to the Middle Fork Greenway initiative.

Ann Browning of the Middle Fork Greenway Association talks about the project at the press conference on Thursday.
Ann Browning of the Middle Fork Greenway Association talks about the project last month.

In addition, all ski tickets on that Saturday and Sunday are 50 percent off ($25 each) with proof of paid lodging in the High Country on April 3 or 4, or proof of residency in Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Johnson, Caldwell or Wilkes County.

The Middle Fork Greenway is a 6.5-mile pedestrian and cycling trail located in between Boone and Blowing Rock. Of the proposed 6.5 miles, only one mile of trail has been developed so far.

“Aside from raising funds for this amazing added recreational opportunity for the High Country, this is creating awareness about the Greenway and letting people know about what is currently under way,” Speckmann added.

While more than 30 businesses or individuals already announced its intentions to donate portions of sales or revenues gleaned during the holiday, these are businesses that have joined the project recently:

  • ECRS (presenting sponsor)
  • Mast General Store (presenting sponsor)
  • Damon Anagnos, MD Plastic Surgery
  • Dianne Davant & Associates
  • Footsloggers
  • Gaines Kiker Silversmith
  • Highland Hills Motel & Cabins
  • Jenkins Rentals
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites in Boone
  • Magic Cycles
  • Roots Restaurant
  • Sleep Inn Boone
  • Super 8 Boone

So far nearly 50 businesses have come on board, including Chetola Resort and Tweetsie Railroad. Chetola Resort owner Kent Tarbutton and Tweetsie Railroad President Chris Robbins both spoke about this “worthwhile endeavor” in statements to High Country Press.

A map of the areas of interest in the Master Plan
A map of the areas of interest in the Master Plan

“Tweetsie Railroad is proud to be included in the Middle Fork Greenway project. In 2012, we contributed the easement and built the Tweetsie Railroad section of this trail at our own expense, in hopes that this would encourage others to join in this very worthwhile endeavor. We look forward to the day when residents and visitors can enjoy the Middle Fork Greenway all the way from Boone to Blowing Rock,” Robbins said.

“The Middle Fork Greenway connects the incredible beauty of our communities with walking and biking trails that allow us to get out and enjoy the splendor of these mountains. It will be cherished by those that live here and add to the marvelous array of things we offer the visitor,” Tarbutton said.

At last month’s press conference, Moretz said that he wanted to do something to spur the development of the greenway, and thought of extending the season through Easter weekend, something that has only been done a few times in the resort’s history.

In January, Moretz first reached out to Charlie Sellers, owner of The Blowing Rock attraction and then to Wayne Underwood, owner of the Mystery Hill attraction. Sellers decided to donate all of the admission sales for Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend, and Underwood said that he would donate all of the admission sales on Saturday.

With them on board, Moretz said, “Interest has sort of snowballed.”

Traditionally, Appalachian Ski Mtn. closes on March 29. This year, Appalachian Ski Mtn. will reopen during Easter Weekend for skiers and snowboarders from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and also Sunday.

In addition, a 3-for-1 special package is available for a ski ticket and a choice of two of the following local attractions: The Blowing Rock, Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, Grandfather Mountain and Mystery Hill.

This trail will be a part of the New River Headwaters Trail, a network of three trails – Middle Fork Greenway, Boone Greenway and South Fork Greenway – connecting Boone, Blowing Rock and Todd. New River Headwaters Trail is a project of High Country Pathways.

The Middle Fork Greenway is a collaboration between the Middle Fork Greenway Association, Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways – along with other community and local government partners.

For more about the Middle Fork Greenway project, click here and view the master plan of the project here. For more information about the Middle Fork Greenway Association, click here.

If anyone is interested in contributing to, and participating, in our Greenway weekend to contact either Brad Moretz or Brenda Speckmann at Appalachian Ski Mtn. at 828-295-7828.

In addition to the businesses listed below, here are other sponsors and contributing partners:

  • Yadkin Bank, $5,000 (title sponsor)
  • Alpen Acres Motel, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Appalachian Mountain Brewery, 15% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Appalachian Ski Mtn., all ski ticket revenues (Saturday)
  • The Blowing Rock Attraction, all admission sales (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Basil Fresh Pasta Deli in Boone
  • Blowing Rock Brewing Co., 25% of beer sales
  • Blowing Rock Inn, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Blowing Rock Market, 25% of revenues from oyster roast (Saturday)
  • Chesseburger’s Grille, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Chetola Resort, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Comfort Suites of Boone, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, $2 per person (Saturday)
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Boone, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Farm to Flame Food Truck, 15% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub, $500
  • Jane Fonvielle, $100
  • French-Swiss Ski College, all lesson revenues (Saturday)
  • Grandfather Mountain, all online admission sales (Saturday)
  • Green Park Inn, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Adam E. Hill, DDS, PA, $500
  • The Inn at Ragged Gardens, 25% of lodging revenues (Saturday)
  • Kilwin’s of Blowing Rock, $500
  • Makoto’s, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Melanie’s Food Fantasy, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Mellow Mushroom (Boone and Blowing Rock), 25% of sales (Saturday)
  • Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins, 25% of lodging revenue (Saturday)
  • Mystery Hill, all admission sales (Sunday)
  • The New Public House & Hotel, 25% of lodging revenues (Friday and Saturday nights)
  • Pepper’s Restaurant and Bar, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Red Onion Café, 25% of revenues (Saturday)
  • Stick Boy Bread Company, 25% of bread sales
  • The TApp Room, 25% of revenue (Saturday)

Beginning next week and leading up to Easter Weekend, High Country Press will write a series of articles highlighting each stretch of the proposed Middle Fork Greenway. These are the six sections of the greenway:

Section 1: Blowing Rock

  • Begins at future U.S. 321 parking area/Tanger Outlets and ends at the Planned Post Acute Care Facility near the bridge to the Blue Ridge Parkway

Section 2: Firethorn

  • Begins at the Planned Post Acute Care Facility and ends at the FaithBridge Untited Methodist Church/Aho Road

Section 3: Three Rivers

  • Begins at the FaithBridge Untited Methodist Church/Aho Road and ends at Sterling Creek Park

Section 4: Tweetsie

  • Begins at Sterling Creek Park and ends at Goldmine Branch Park/Niley Cook Road

Section 5: Cook to Cook

  • Begins at Goldmine Branch Park/Niley Cook Road and ends at Jordan V. Cook Road/Town of Boone Municipal Boundary

Section 6: Boone

  • Begins at Jordan V. Cook Road/Town of Boone Municipal Boundary and ends at Boone Greenway Access/Deerfield Road

Click here to read details about each section and peruse the entire Master Plan: http://issuu.com/dbdplanning/docs/middle_fork_greenway_master_plan