By Jesse Wood
On Friday, Sept. 30, supporters of the Middle Fork Greenway will hold a celebration to thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC and the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust for providing funds to purchase land along the project’s path.
The event will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at High Gravity Adventures, which is located adjacent to Tweetsie Railroad. Blue Ridge Conservancy’s Middle Fork Greenway Director Wendy Patoprsty said that of N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund Executive Director Bryan Gossage and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC CEO Brad Wilson will both speak at the ceremony.
Sponsors Blowing Rock Ale, Appalachia Cookie Co., Harris Teeter and Food Lion will be on hand to provide refreshments. Patoprsty noted that door prizes, which include six free passes to High Gravity Adventures, will be given away, and suggested folks interested in climbing the adventure tower contact High Gravity Adventures for reservations.
Earlier this month, the Blue Ridge Conservancy announced that it had secured funding from the two organizations through a matching donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC after a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund was awarded.
The funding allowed for the Blue Ridge Conservancy to purchase a 12-acre tract of land along nearly two-thirds of a mile along the Middle Fork of the New River, “enabling an extension of the existing Middle Fork Greenway and the connection of two existing pocket parks.”
“The land purchase will also help to provide a vegetated buffer to protect the water quality of nearby streams feeding into the Middle Fork New River, the main water supply for both Boone and Blowing Rock,” a Sept. 14 release from the Blue Ridge Conservancy reads.
Patoprsty said construction of this section of trail won’t begin until funding for construction is secured. But once this portion of Middle Fork Greenway project is complete, nearly two miles of the 6.5-mile greenway trail, which will eventually connect Boone and Blowing Rock, will be complete.
So far about one mile of the Middle Fork Greenway is complete in front of Tweetsie Railroad and a few pocket parks exist, some of which are yet unconnected. Once the section in question is complete, the current greenway trail that traverses Mystery Hill and Tweetsie will connect to Gold Mine Branch.
In August, the NCDOT announced that $145,000 grant for a bridge that would eventually connect the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Middle Fork Greenway. Construction will also begin once other funding is finalized for a 1.3-mile stretch of the greenway that includes the bridge. See more info on that grant here.
For more information: www.middleforkgreenway.org.
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