Announced at an August 26 centennial celebration of the park, the land acquisition includes 783 acres in the Laurel Branch area and 1,961 acres in the Cattail Peak area. The Conservation Fund will have paid $8.6 million for the two tracts and will resell them to the state for $3.2 million.
“What a magnificent birthday gift to Mount Mitchell and the state parks system,” said Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “Mount Mitchell was our first state park and this gift will more than double its size. The generosity and graciousness of the Stanbacks and other private donors and citizens for this project are an example of why North Carolina is so special. Their participation enhances what’s best about North Carolina.”
The Laurel Branch area, valued at $3 million, was funded primarily through a gift from the Stanbacks, with $130,000 provided by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
Funding is not yet complete for the Cattail Peak area, valued at $7.5 million. Half of the funding for the property was provided by the Stanbacks. The Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) provided $1.2 million, and the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has set aside $728,000 in funding. A pending grant from CWMTF is expected to provide the remaining funds.