After 11 years, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Town of Blowing Rock have completed an important land exchange that adds 192 pristine forested acres to the Parkway’s official boundary. In return, Blowing Rock received from NPS a 20-acre property that contains the town’s drinking water reservoir.
In 2001, CTNC kicked off the process by purchasing the 192-acre Johns River Gorge property before a developer could implement plans to build homes there. The tract, adjacent to Moses Cone Park and US Forest Service lands, contains healthy forests and wildlife habitat, and a beautiful hiking trail along the pristine waters of China Creek. (The trail will be available for public use).
The town of Blowing Rock and CTNC worked together to secure a grant from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund so that the town could purchase the property from CTNC in 2003. Since then, NPS and Blowing Rock have been working together to trade the properties. Federal land exchanges require congressional approval, and in 2010 President Obama signed into law the bill that both houses passed.
This is a huge win for the forest, creek, and trails. Thank you to all of you who communicated with your congressional offices and/or submitted supportive comments to the National Park Service.