Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) has completed its purchase of a 12-acre land tract approximately two-thirds of a mile along the Middle Fork of the South Fork 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.
Funding for the project was made possible from a matching donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross) after a grant awarded from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) in 2016.
“We’re committed to building healthier communities across the state, specifically through the creation of more walkable areas. The greenway will have a lasting impact on the health of the residents of Boone and Blowing Rock, while at the same time preserving open spaces treasured by our own customers and employees,” said Kim Blair, Blue Cross director of community relations. Blue Cross’s investment is part of GO NC! (Get Outside, North Carolina!), the company’s initiative to encourage North Carolinians to go outside and get active through the advancement of our greenway systems and the overall promotion of outdoor physical activity.
“There has been widespread support from our High Country community as more folks learn about the Middle Fork Greenway becoming a reality,” said Wendy Patoprsty, Middle Fork Greenway director. “It is incredible to see residents, businesses, Watauga County, and the towns of Boone and Blowing Rock supporting this project that will provide a network of safe recreational space.”
“A goal of the emerging Middle Fork Greenway is conservation of land along the banks of the Middle Fork, one of the head waters of the New River,” said Blue Ridge Conservancy Executive Director, Walter Clark. “With a wide buffer along the Middle Fork hosting rhododendron and other native plants, we believe this tract will host a particularly beautiful stretch of the greenway. The contributions by these two statewide organizations are wonderful examples of the private/public partnerships that are developing to make the Middle Fork Greenway a reality.”
On September 30, a reception at High Gravity Adventures will celebrate partnerships with the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NC for providing the funds to acquire land for the next section of the Middle Fork Greenway.
The public is encouraged to attend on Friday, September 30, from 3:30-5:00 pm, at High Gravity Adventures located at 215 Tweetsie Railroad Lane in Blowing Rock.
Refreshments & beverages compliments of our generous sponsors, High Gravity Adventures, Blowing Rock Brewery, & Appalachia Cookie Company.
Once this section of the trail is constructed, nearly two miles of the 6.5 mile greenway will be completed. The existing one-mile Middle Fork Greenway trail is located between Boone and Blowing Rock. BRC’s vision is to one day connect the two towns. Residents and visitors can easily find the entrance to the greenway in front of nearby landmark, Tweetsie Railroad.
Other current priorities for the MFG include securing funding to complete construction on the Chestnut Ridge and National Park Service properties near Blowing Rock and advancing the Boone section through the Wellness District to connect to the Boone Greenway.
About the Middle Fork Greenway
The Middle Fork Greenway (MFG) is a developing pedestrian and cycling greenway trail along the Middle Fork River and US 321 corridor connecting Boone and Blowing Rock. It is being led by two non-profit organizations, Blue Ridge Conservancy and High Country Pathways, in partnership with local governments and many community partners. For more information: www.middleforkgreenway.org and www.blueridgeconservancy.org.
About Blue Ridge Conservancy
BRC is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization incorporated in North Carolina. BRC has protected over 19,150 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties. In addition to protecting working farmland, BRC’s efforts have resulted in the creation of state natural areas like Beech Creek Bog, Bear Paw State Natural Area and Bullhead Mountain. We continue to help Elk Knob State Park and Grandfather Mountain expand their borders and established Pond Mountain Game Land in Ashe County. More information about Blue Ridge Conservancy is available at www.blueridgeconservancy.org.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.89 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute every year since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
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