Grandfather Mountain is state's newest park!

Information bprovided by Scott Nicholson

Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is officially a state park now, with Friday's passage of a legislative bill, one of the last steps of a year-long process that secures the long-term future of the biological treasure.

It joins 33 other state parks, including Elk Knob State Park in the Meat Camp community in Watauga County. The Morton family, heirs of the attraction's founder Hugh Morton, reached the deal while continuing operation of a portion of the park that has been a popular travel destination.

The state purchased 2,456 acres of the mountain last year, and a bill to name it a state park was introduced by N.C. Rep. Cullie Tarleton (D-93) and Sen. Steve Goss (D-45), among other regional sponsors. The bill now goes to Gov. Beverly Perdue for her signature.

An agreement for the state to purchase the undeveloped, backcountry portion of Grandfather Mountain was announced by former Gov. Mike Easley in September. Funding for the $12 million acquisition came from the N.C. Parks and Recreation and Natural Heritage trust funds, with no additional appropriations needed in a tight budget year.

State park officials have been meeting with the Morton family to finalize a management plan for the property and its 12 miles of trails. The 749-acre travel destination and theme park will remain in operation by the Mortons, though a conservation easement on the property ensures it will remain much as it is and prevent residential development. The theme park features a nature center, wildlife habitats and the famous "Mile High Swinging Bridge."

It was developed as an attraction by Hugh Morton in the 1950s and lies in Watauga, Avery and Catawba counties. It reaches nearly 6,000 feet in altitude.


4 Seasons Vacation Rentals & Sales is convenitently located near Grandfather Mountain. Plan your next vacation here  in one of our Ashe County Cabins. Choose one of our pet friendly cabin rentals in NC. Check out the attractions link on our website to find more attractions in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

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