Another 110 acres of mountain landscape are now part of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s protected corridor, thanks to a landowner whose family has lived near the scenic highway since its construction.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina bought the tract from landowners Joe and Wilma Jo Arrington last year at a bargain sale price. It recently conveyed the tract to the National Park Service in February for $500,000 to become an official part of the Parkway.
The property, known as the Richland Creek Headwaters tract, is near Milepost 440 in Haywood County. The Arrington family purchased it in 1936. When parkway construction reached the region in the late 1950s, 30 of the family’s 188 acres were condemned and used for the site of Pinnacle Ridge Tunnel.
The Richland Creek Headwaters tract provides a backdrop for Blue Ridge Parkway travelers – especially from the Waynesville and Saunook overlooks – near the boundary of Haywood and Jackson counties in the Great Balsam Mountains.
The tract’s position will help safeguard water quality in the region; the property contains headwaters streams of Richland Creek, which flows through Waynesville and into Lake Junalaska. The land also contains important wildlife habitat in the Pinnacle Ridge Significant Natural Area.