In 2015, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) received a donation of 21.7 acres of farmland located within the Valle Crucis Historic District along NC Scenic Byway 194. Thanks to the generosity of John and Faye Cooper, longtime residents, conservationists and owners of Mast General Store, this scenic property will forever remain as agricultural and recreational land along Dutch Creek and the Watauga River.
Last spring a major stream restoration project improved the integrity Dutch Creek. The property is now more conducive for agriculture and is safer for public access. A new, unpaved trail extends from the Valle Crucis Park loop through the field offering additional opportunities for fishing, exercising, bird watching, and more.
“The Cooper Farm has amazing potential for hosting activities including sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and recreation,” said BRC Executive Director, Charlie Brady. “We are fortunate to partner with the Valle Crucis Community Park to open access to the farm. Blue Ridge Conservancy will continue working with community members to maximize the public benefit of the property.”
“We are very excited for park visitors to come out and discover the magic and peace of our new grass path,” said Valle Crucis Park Executive Director, Ashley Galleher. “This year outdoor recreation has seen a big surge in popularity so having more space to spread out and enjoy time in nature is crucial to the happiness and well-being of our community. We are proud to partner with BRC to make these opportunities available.”
“Protecting the rural character and heritage of the Valle Crucis Community enhances quality of life to its residents and visitors and tightens our ties to the past. We hope this land fosters recreation, healthy living, and a strong sense of community to its users,” said John Cooper.
BRC’s efforts have resulted in the protection of scenic vistas, working farmland, rare and threatened ecological habitats and clean water resources. BRC assisted the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Elk Knob State Park in expanding their borders, established Pond Mountain Game Land and is spearheading the Middle Fork Greenway project to connect Blowing Rock to Boone, naturally.Exceptional levels of financial transparency and accountability earned BRC a four star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator of nonprofit organizations. BRC is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for meeting the highest standards for excellence and conservation permanence.More information about Blue Ridge Conservancy is available at www.blueridgeconservancy.org.