Construction starting on Mountains-to-Sea Trail bridge in Price Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

On Wednesday, August 24, 2016 construction began on a new 80-foot pedestrian bridge for North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail near Boone and Blowing Rock. The bridge, in the popular Price Lake Picnic Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway, will allow hikers to avoid a knee-deep wade across Boone Fork as they walk from the Boone Fork Trail over to Shulls Mill Road, where the MST continues up Rich Mountain into Moses Cone Park.

On Wednesday, a helicopter carried bridge components and tools from a staging area in the picnic area’s parking lot to the bridge site approximately 1.2 miles away along the Boone Fork Trail. The project is anticipated to take four to six weeks to complete. While construction is underway, MST hikers will need to detour around the work site – down to the picnic area and north on the Parkway to Old John’s River Road, then back up to the MST.

The project is being managed by Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (Friends), a 501(c )(3) whose purpose is the promotion, construction and maintenance of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, North Carolina’s premier hiking trail. The MST stretches 1,150 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Approximately 220 miles of the trail are along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This project is one of three large bridges being built along the trail route in 2016.

Financing for the project is provided by a grant from the Recreational Trails Program, administered by the Division of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. In 2016, the Division is celebrating the 100th anniversary of North Carolina state parks. Dedicated portions of the MST are designated as a linear North Carolina State Park, a unit of NC State Parks.

Further financing is provided by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation (BRPF) through a grant by the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation. BRPF is a 501(c )(3) which works to ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection and educational outreach along the 469-mile route. This funding is a part of the Foundation’s major investment celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.

 

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