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  1. #1
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    Default NC Buys Grandfather Mtn for State Park

    North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley signed a contract to purchase nearly 3000 acres of the undeveloped section of Grandfather Mountain for $12 million. Famed throughout the South for its spectacular rugged ridgeline and its "Mile High Swinging Bridge," the Morton family was unanimous in this agreement to forever place the mountain in protection from development.

    The mountain has been in the Morton family for over 50 years. In what one official called a win-win for the Mortons and the state, the unique agreement calls for a 600-acre easement that will allow the family to manage a non-profit corporation to continue to operate the Nature Center, the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, and McRae Meadows, site of the Grandfather Mountain Highland games.

    NC State Parks will manage the mountain wilderness as an undeveloped state park. The rugged trails will be patroled by NC Park Rangers and seasonal Rangers from Grandfather Mountain. The mountain that dominates this section of the Blue Ridge has two summits over 5,900 feet. The state's highest winds ever recorded occurred on Grandfather mountain, at over 180 mph before the anemometer broke. The mountain gets an average of 56 inches of snow.

    In the 1970's, Hugh Morton (1921-2006) finally won his battle with the National Park Service to allow the final section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be built across the southern slopes of Grandfather. But the terrain was extremely rugged, and the Park Service was dedicated to protecting the fragile alpine environment. The only acceptable means to complete the section was to build it as a "bridge," and so the world-famous Linn Cove Viaduct was built and completed in 1983 at a cost of $10 million.

    The 13.5 mile Tanawha Trail was also built along this same section at a cost of $750,000, and includes stone treadway, stone steps, and wooden bridges that were lowered by helicopter.

    The purchase for NC is the second in a year of a private park and tourist attraction. In 2007, the state purchased Chimney Rock Park.
    I walk the line.

  2. #2

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    What did the state pay? Anybody know?

  3. #3
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    Default Photo of Grandfather Mtn from Southwest

    The rugged nature of this spectacular peak.

    Attachment 4867
    I walk the line.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Payment edited into first posting.
    I walk the line.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    An exciting development...er, non-development plan for the big mountain. I'm very pleased.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BR360 View Post
    Payment edited into first posting.
    Thanks. Beautiful area!
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  7. #7

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    I was just there last week and enjoyed the hike up to Calloway Peak immensely.

  8. #8
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    So since its going to become a state park, do we still have to pay $15 or hide the kids in the car trunk to get in.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
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    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I haven't seen the details yet. When the state bought Chimney Rock, they kept the fees in place for at least a few years. I imagine they'll do the same with Grandfather Mountain.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  10. #10
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    Default Good news!

    Thanks for posting it. I likely wouldn't have heard for some time otherwise.

  11. #11
    Registered User halibut15's Avatar
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    Sweet. Knowing development these days, that could've easily become another high-end subdivision otherwise. Way to go, NC!

  12. #12

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    Classic example of development in the backcountry is Wolf Laurel just down the hill from Big Bald in NC. And by just down the hill, I mean ten minutes and you are on the front porch of a condo. At one point in that area, you can walk no less than 50 yards and be at a house if you know where this is at.
    Cabin Fever
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  13. #13
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabin Fever View Post
    Classic example of development in the backcountry is Wolf Laurel just down the hill from Big Bald in NC. And by just down the hill, I mean ten minutes and you are on the front porch of a condo. At one point in that area, you can walk no less than 50 yards and be at a house if you know where this is at.
    At least you can find a water spigot fairly easily. Then you can take the chair lift during ski season..lol


    Being next to the parkway, a development would have had a hard time going up. Then again, its a ski haven on the nearby mountains.
    Last edited by Tennessee Viking; 09-30-2008 at 23:42.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  14. #14
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    12 million for 3000 acres is basically a gift to the state by the Morton family.


  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by buliwyf View Post
    So since its going to become a state park, do we still have to pay $15 or hide the kids in the car trunk to get in.
    According to an article in the Sunday News and Observer (Raleigh):

    The family plans to transfer ownership of the 600-acre park area to the new nonprofit group it is forming. Adult admission of $14 will remain the same. That includes access to the hiking trails that will be part of the new state park. The backcountry trails also can be accessed at two other points for a $5 fee. No significant changes are expected.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the extra info about fees under the new arrangment.

    $15.00 is sort of a steep fee for dayhiking, but it's a good value for the benefit. I "bought-up" to a $35 season-pass a couple of years ago for unlimited access, and camped out there near Calloway Peak one night. It was great!

    Having hiked all throughout the Blue Ridge from Front Royal, VA to Georgia, I think Grandfather is the most spectacular mountain in the range. Beats the Blacks, the Smokies, the Nantahalas, Mt. Rogers / Grayson Highlands, Roan Highlands, Shenandoah, etc.

    The rocky peaks requiring the ladders to traverse and the sheer prominence with the wicked weather make Grandfather outstanding. IMHO.
    I walk the line.

  17. #17
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    I agree. What a place.

    Quote Originally Posted by BR360 View Post
    Thanks for the extra info about fees under the new arrangment.

    $15.00 is sort of a steep fee for dayhiking, but it's a good value for the benefit. I "bought-up" to a $35 season-pass a couple of years ago for unlimited access, and camped out there near Calloway Peak one night. It was great!

    Having hiked all throughout the Blue Ridge from Front Royal, VA to Georgia, I think Grandfather is the most spectacular mountain in the range. Beats the Blacks, the Smokies, the Nantahalas, Mt. Rogers / Grayson Highlands, Roan Highlands, Shenandoah, etc.

    The rocky peaks requiring the ladders to traverse and the sheer prominence with the wicked weather make Grandfather outstanding. IMHO.
    Hokey Pokey

  18. #18

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    Makes me wish the state stepped in and stopped Sugar Mountain's infamous sky-sore. . .

  19. #19
    Registered User Egads's Avatar
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    North Carolina is buying a mountain for a state park & Georgia is closing 13 state parks? How did NC manage that?
    The trail was here before we arrived, and it will still be here when we are gone...enjoy it now, and preserve it for others that come after us

  20. #20

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    I lived in Boone for 30 years and me and my buddies backpacked thruout the area and we never considered Grandfather to be a worthy backpacking destination. Why? Cuz it's a tourist trap, pure and simple. Who wants to spend $10 a night backpacking?:

    http://www.grandfather.com/nature_wa...ng_permits.php

    Just punch in this following opening home page and you'll see why it's a rolling couch-potato tourist trap like Mt Washington(check out the bridge and the parking lot):

    http://www.grandfather.com/index.php

    Sure, there's spectacular views, and any fat couch potato can reach them on the mountain road that cuts thru the mountain. In fact, there are several roads on and around Grandfather: Hiway 105, Hiway 221, the tourist road, and the Parkway Viaduct which cuts right across the back side of the mountain. And all around the mountain at the bottom are condo developments and tourist shops. If I owned the place and loved it, I sure wouldn't have cut a road to the top. What were they thinking? $$$$??

    The real backpacking action is down off the mountain to the south in the Wilson Creek/Linville Gorge/Mountains To Sea Trail areas(Harpers Creek/Lost Cove Cliffs/Upper Creek/etc).

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