The third-annual “Round Up For the Greenway” succeeded in raising over $150,000 for the Middle Fork Greenway (MFG) in July. During the month-long event, local businesses asked patrons to “round up” their purchases as a donation to the project, and many individuals also contributed. These donations will go towards greenway construction, which will connect Boone to Blowing Rock. The greenway is a project of Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC), in partnership with Watauga County, the Town of Blowing Rock, and the Town of Boone.
“We are so grateful for the continued business support of the greenway,” says MFG Director Wendy Patoprsty. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the community’s involvement.”
Businesses participating in the 2021 Round Up for the Greenway include: Anna Banana’s Fine Consignment, Appalachian Ski Mtn, Arete Engineers, Best Cellar, Boone Bike and Touring, Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, Blowing Rock Brewing, Blowing Rock Welcome Center, Carolina West Wireless, Chetola Resort, Footsloggers of Boone and Blowing Rock, Fun ‘n’ Wheels, Green Park Inn, Hawksnest Snow Tubing, Hemlock Inn, High Mountain Expeditions, Highland Hills Cabins, Inn at Ragged Gardens, LaQuinta, Lost Province Brewing Company, Marland Architecture, Mast General Store, Mosaic Civic Studio, Mountainaire Inn and Cabins, Mountain Construction Enterprises, Mprints, Mystery Hill, New River Building Supply, Optimal Performance PT, Peabody’s Wine and Beer Merchants, Recess Skate and Snow, RiverGirl Fishing Co., Sleep Inn, Skyline Skybest, The Spice and Tea Exchange of Blowing Rock, Stepping Stone of Boone, StickBoy Bread Co, Stickboy Kitchen, Super 8, The Blowing Rock Attraction, The Incredible Toy Company, Village Jewelers, Wahoo’s Adventures, Waypoint Outfitters.
In 2019, Appalachian Ski Mtn’s Brad Moretz and Brenda Speckmann had a vision for a community wide Round Up that raised $200,000 and inspired gifts of $100,000 from both Wells Fargo and Truist (formally BB&T). These private dollars served as a match for state grants from NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, NC Division of Water Resources, and NC Recreational Trails Program. The MFG is an example of how state funds can supplement local dollars to get a project of this magnitude completed.
The next mile of MFG includes three phases and will ultimately connect Niley Cook Road to Tweetsie Railroad:
Phase 1 will be a paved surface and should be completed by the end of October 2021. It includes two bridge crossings over the Middle Fork of the New River, a 29-spot parking area off Highway 321, rain gardens to capture stormwater runoff, and an additional eight parking spots on Niley Cook Road.
Phase 2 is a natural surface hiking trail that should be complete by the end of the year and will serve as a temporary trail until the funds can be identified to pave it.
Phase 3 is funded and includes a bridge and highway underpass for safe crossing to Tweetsie Railroad. This should be finalized in 2022. Currently, the NCDOT is performing feasibility studies in two sections and fundraising is ongoing for the rest of the trail.
There are many opportunities for donor recognition along the MFG. If you are interested in making a gift to support land acquisition, design and engineering, permitting, bridges, retaining structures, underpasses, trail construction, park amenities, and operations, please contact Wendy Patoprsty at 828-264-2511 or [email protected]. Limited naming and numerous donor recognition opportunities are available. For more information about the MFG, please see this recent webinar.