By Jesse Wood
Elk Knob State Park is nine acres bigger.
Mary and Randy Keplar recently sold a 9.357-acre tract that borders the nearly 3,700-acre Elk Knob State Park to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation for $64,000, according to the Watauga County Register of Deeds.
NC Division of Parks and Recreation spokesperson Charlie Peek said that the department is always looking to identify parcels to flesh out the individual parks and will approach landowners about purchasing properties – if not today, in the future – to “help protect the boundaries and entrances” to the park.
“We are always looking long term as to what might happen to [the surrounding properties] 20 to 30 years down the road to help protect boundaries and entrances,” Peek said.
Land consisting of Elk Knob State Park was deeded to the State of North Carolina in 2003. According to history on the park’s website, Elk Knob State Park almost became a housing development in the late ‘90s and early 2000s if not for concerned citizens, landowners and the Nature Conservancy.
Elk Knob is one of the tallest peaks in Watauga County and stands at 5,520 feet above sea level, offering a panoramic view of the High Country.