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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, NPS Announce 2016 Centennial Challenge Project

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and National Park Service (NPS) are pleased to announce their 2016 Centennial Challenge project. The nonprofit Foundation will raise $411,632 to update the fire suppression system at Flat Top Manor at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, milepost 294, near Blowing Rock.

The funds will be supplemented with an award from Congress of $294,487 to address this pressing need on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the country’s most visited National Park unit.

unnamed-1This week, NPS announced nearly $48 million of Centennial Challenge projects to help parks across the country improve visitor services and support outreach to new audiences. The projects, many of which tackle deferred maintenance, come as the NPS kicks off its second century of service in 2016. Congress provided $15 million for the projects, which will be matched by almost $33 million from more than 90 park partners.

“We are excited that the Blue Ridge Parkway will be the recipient of these Centennial Challenge dollars for a second year,” said Mark Woods, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Through making this donation, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is helping us care for the resources of this park in meaningful ways that will be enjoyed for years to come.”

This year’s Centennial Challenge kicks off a multiyear initiative by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to rehabilitate Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, which faces serious maintenance issues due to shortfalls in funding from the federal government. The long-range work will be guided by the Developed Area Management Plan, recently completed by the Parkway, and a steering committee of local volunteers. The work will include additional repairs to Flat Top Manor, the Apple Barn, carriage trails, the observation tower, and more.

“We are thrilled and honored to play a role in ensuring a bright future for this beloved estate,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “Moses H. Cone Memorial Park tells an important story in the history of the High Country and North Carolina, and we are looking forward to partnering with the community to address the repairs this cherished site deserves.”

Since its inception in 1997, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has worked with donors to invest in the preservation of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. To date, the organization has dedicated more than  $1 million in support for this popular destination, including successfully nominating the estate for the National Register of Historic Places.

The 2016 Centennial Challenge program builds on the successes of 2015, when Congress appropriated $10 million. In 2015, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation made the commitment to raise matching funds for five Centennial Projects on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The nonprofit’s collaboration with the National Park Service through the Centennial Challenge in 2015 and 2016 will have a $1.4 million impact on the Parkway. The Centennial commitment is in addition to the Foundation’s annual financial support of park-identified needs in the areas of historical and cultural preservation, natural resource protection, education and outreach, and visitor amenities.

To support this project and other critical needs on the Parkway, please visit www.brpfoundation.org or call (866) 308-2773.

About Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The park was owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses H. Cone, an American captain of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who with his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South. Together they built a textile empire that still exists today.

Cone was not only a successful entrepreneur, he was an inquisitive gentleman farmer who experimented with agriculture and designed and built one of America’s most beautiful country estates. Beginning in 1897, he carefully created an impressive retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, orchards, fields, and forests. His vision was influenced by a great regard for the natural landscape.

Before his untimely death in 1908, he constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain retreat. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for 40 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1950.

2015 Centennial Projects

In 2015, the Foundation committed to raising $357,370 to complement funding allocated by Congress for five Centennial Challenge projects. The Challenge provided donors with the opportunity to double their contribution to the projects of their choice. The Foundation is still accepting donations to complete the five projects: the repaving of Abbott Lake Loop Trail for ADA accessibility (milepost 86 in Virginia), replace roof and repair structure of Polly Woods Ordinary (Milepost 86 in Virginia), rehabilitation of historical structures at Johnson Farm (milepost 86 in Virginia), replace amenities and repave trails at Price Lake Campground (milepost 297 in North Carolina), and rehabilitation of Mount Pisgah Amphitheater (milepost 408 in North Carolina). To support these and other critical needs on the Parkway, please visit www.brpfoundation.org or call (866) 308-2773.

About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

The Foundation is the primary private fundraising organization of the Blue Ridge Parkway, helping ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection, educational outreach, and visitor enjoyment now and for future generations. www.brpfoundation.org