Blue Ridge Parkway tract preserved near Waynesville

A 110-acre tract along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville has been protected thanks to the longtime landowner selling the land to the Conservation Trust of North Carolina at a bargain rate.

The Conservation Trust in turn plans to deed the tract over the parkway. This is on top of another 35-acre tract on Mt. Lyn Lowry, also along the Parkway outside Waynesville, that was conserved this summer.

The landowner, Joe Arrington, remembers the coming of the Parkway decades ago, as it passed through his family’s property. Arrington and his friends often explored the construction site on horseback. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Arrington and his wife liked to bring their children to a stream overlooking the parkway.

His continuing affection for the region’s scenery and peacefulness led to his decision to protect it forever.

“Even the locals appreciate it and enjoy the place where you get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the cool mountain air,” Arrington said. “It isn’t something you see once and say, ‘Been there, done that.’”

Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis said the preservation of the tract is especially meaningful as the parkway celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

“Mr. Arrington was here when the parkway began, and he and his family have many happy memories of their time spent in these beautiful mountains. Now, generations of families will cherish their own Blue Ridge Parkway memories thanks to his generous gift,” Francis said.

The tract is highly visible from the section of Parkway north of Balsam Gap — especially from the Waynesville and Saunook overlooks.

Costs associated with the land transaction — a total of $542,358 — were funded by a donation from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, and grants from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Pigeon River Fund.

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