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Blue Ridge Heritage signage to make its debut

Ten years after the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area won federal designation, themed signs tying together 65 attractions throughout the mountains will finally be installed this year.

 

The signs will unite a mish-mash of cultural and heritage attractions under a signature brand and will hopefully encourage tourists to view their WNC travels under a unified banner as they move about the region. The signs were one of the first goals for the newly dedicated heritage area, but have taken longer than expected to pull off due to various hurdles. The signs will be in place by late summer or early fall.

“Everything is moving forward,” said Melinda Young, signage coordinator for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, at a meeting of the Haywood County Board of Commissioners Monday.

Signs will be placed in 22 of the state’s westernmost counties, hitting everything from museums to old hiking trails to entire towns like Saluda.

“It has excellent representation around Western North Carolina,” Young said.

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Signs in Haywood County will include the historic Bethel Presbyterian Church, the Shelton House in Waynesville and another on a town’s Main Street. It has not yet been decided which town — Canton or Waynesville or Maggie Valley — will get the sign.

Macon County will have four signs marking the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum, Lake Nantahala, the Little Tennessee River Greenway and the Bartram Trail. Jackson County will have two signs denoting the locations of Judaculla Rock and an area overlooking the Qualla Boundary; Swain will have one marking the Nantahala Outdoor Center outpost.

“It looks like the mountains are well covered,” said Commissioner Bill Upton.

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