By Randy Johnson
Oct. 31, 2014. Thanks to funding from the local group the Friends of High Country State Parks, Grandfather Mountain State Park installed its first “scenic view sign,” a photographic orientation board to inform hikers about the view they’re seeing from the trail.
The new sign is stationed at Foscoe View, the vista overlooking the upper Grandfather Community and Foscoe above N.C. 105 on the Profile Trail. The sign points out distant summits such as Mount Rogers and Whitetop, Virginia, and Elk Knob and Snake Mountain.
The sign also interprets the Dutchman’s pipe vine and pipevine swallowtail butterflies that hikers see on the trail at that site. The sign is the first on Grandfather like a handful of such signs at Elk Knob State Park.
For more information about Friends of the High Country State Parks, click to http://friendsofhcsp.wordpress.com.
The heavy lifting of installing the sign, which included carrying up 80 pounds of concrete, was performed by a six-person BRIDGE crew, a prison work crew out of Marion, under the supervision of N.C. Forestry. Park workers on site included superintendent Sue McBean, park technician Derek Huss, general utility worker Dallas Skeele, and Jason Jarrell, maintenance mechanic.
Besides the view sign, the park has installed as many as twenty new intersection signs placed at many trail junctions in the park. Also, in the last few weeks, a new ladder on a mountain known for ladders was installed just below “the squeeze,” a slanting crack at the base of MacRae Peak. The added ladder is designed to eliminate damage and erosion to nearby tree roots.
Superintendent Sue McBean expressed her thanks to the non-profit group Friends of High Country State Parks for their efforts to help the park better serve the public. Last summer the park also benefitted from non-profit funding when the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program installed a TRACK Trail at the base of the Profile Trail, an easy nature trail with brochures intended to educate and energize kids and their parents.
For more information about TRACK Trails, click to http://kidsinparks.com/grandfather-mountain-state-park.
To read either new sign at the park, hikers may need to wipe away the snow as a storm is predicted for Friday into Saturday. In fact, the Profile Trail parking closes Friday at 6 pm. The park’s website will alert hikers when the parking area reopens. The trail will not close due to snow.
For more information, click to http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/grmo/main.php.
You might not be heading to Table Rock to see fall color now—it’s all gone—and snow is on the way, but be aware that the U.S. Forest Service Grandfather Ranger District will close the Table Rock Picnic Area and parking lot Oct. 20 through Dec. 1, 2014 for repairs.
The Forest Service will also close the paved, upper section of Forest Service Road 99, which leads to the picnic area, for repairs. Foot and bicycle traffic will be permitted in the area while repairs are made. The work will repair sections of the road damaged by a July 2013 weather event.