Press release from Blue Ridge Conservancy:
On Monday, Governor Cooper signed into law the new state budget. The budget contains exceptional news for the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF) and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Both will now receive $24.2 million annually, essentially doubling their annual appropriation. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) will receive a $950,000 appropriation for the Middle Fork Greenway (MFG) to develop the Boone Gorge Park, and $100,000 for the development of Paddy Mountain Park in Ashe County, a cooperative project of BRC, the Town of West Jefferson, and Ashe County.
“The impact on conservation in North Carolina cannot be understated,” says BRC Executive Director Charlie Brady, “This increase in funding will support local conservation and public access projects throughout the state. We are grateful the Governor and Legislature are committed to supporting the important work of the trust funds.”
“These funds will help accelerate our plans to prepare our land on Paddy Mountain for public access, including a trailhead for the Northern Peaks State Trail,” continues Brady. “These direct appropriations would not have been included in the budget without the advocacy and support of Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Ray Pickett. We are very grateful for their hard work and dedication in supporting these two major public recreation projects.”
MFG Director Wendy Patoprsty agrees: “This appropriation is a huge step forward in the development of the next section of trail, assisting with the parking area and ecological enhancements needed at the new Boone Gorge Park.”