Local News

State to buy Grandfather Mountain

Posted September 28, 2008 3:09 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2008 3:30 p.m. EDT

— The state government plans to buy Grandfather Mountain and preserve the private park and popular tourist attraction against development.

North Carolina will gain ownership of the nearly 6,000-foot mountain and 2,600 surrounding acres in Avery, Watauga and Caldwell counties, said Jack Morton, a board member of Grandfather Mount Inc. The deal, to be announced Monday, will cost about $12 million.

The state will also acquire an easement around the mountain to enhance its preservation efforts, Morton said.

Grandfather Mountain is known for its Mile High Swinging Bridge, challenging hiking trails and wildlife habitats, including a home for black bears. The park is home to dozens of endangered species and is recognized by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve.

The Morton family has owned and operated the mountain and park since 1952.

Morton, a grandson of the mountain's original owner, said his family never considered selling Grandfather Mountain to a developer.