Categories
A. North Carolina Mountains Blue Ridge Moutains Blue Ridge Parkway nature

Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report from Virtual Blue Ridge

From the web…

This is the Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report for the week of June 18. An abundance of rain in the region here in late spring has given us full creeks and nice waterfalls tumbling down to the piedmont along with prolific wildflower bloom.

In North Carolina, Doughton Park staff reports the Catawba Rhododendron is fading but nice Mountain Laurel displays are coming on along with Ox Eyed Daisy, Cardinal Flower and Buttercup. Hawkweed and Golden Rod are showy in the adjacent meadows.

Around the Moses Cone Estate walk the trails to find good examples of Spiderwort, Wild Geranium, Ox Eyed Daisy, Flame Azalea, Jack in the Pulpit and the Catawba Rhododendron. Take in the hike across Rough Ridge you’re likely to find Goat’s Beard and Galax, Laurel, some Mountain Ash and Yarrow. Much of the same can be found at the Linn Cove Visitors Center and the Tanawha Trail. Laurel and rhododendron, Little Brown Jug are nice at Beacon Heights.

Further south in the Pisgah District, south of Asheville, Flame Azalea is vibrant, Mountain Laurel are nicely on display. Fire Pink and Buttercup and Yellow Ragwort, Goat’s Beard, Mountain Krigia are making nice splashes of color as you make this drive. Indian paintbrush is on nice display in fields at milepost 437 and Mountain Spiderwort at Milepost 443 at the end of the Parkway, it’s certainly worth the drive.

via Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report for June 19, 2009.

Categories
A. North Carolina Mountains nature North Carolina Dreams

News From Grandfather Mountain

The news has been peculating through the internet all weekend and this announcement is from the Grandfather Mountain Website…

Grandfather Mountain To Become A Not-For-Profit Company

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and Grandfather Mountain President Crae Morton today announced an agreement whereby the State of North Carolina will purchase approximately 2,600-acres of the Grandfather Mountain backcountry to become North Carolina’s 34th state park.

“The acquisition of this precious gem in our landscape speaks to North Carolinians’ love of this land and a sincere dedication to conservation,” Easley said.

Looking for new ways to guarantee that Grandfather Mountain will remain in its current state forever, the owners of Grandfather Mountain decided that the best way to protect the mountain and assure the public continued access to its peaks would be to convert the company to a 501c3, not-for-profit entity.

To accomplish this goal, Grandfather Mountain, Inc. is selling approximately 2,600 acres of the wilderness backcountry to the State of North Carolina for the purpose of a state park. This acreage is already under conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy.

Grandfather Mountain and the State will have a joint research/management agreement that allows Grandfather rangers continued access to the backcountry for research and to assist in trail maintenance.

Grandfather Mountain, Inc. will also sell to the State of North Carolina an easement on approximately 600 acres that include the Mile High Swinging Bridge, Nature Museum, Wildlife Habitats, summit road and MacRae Meadows.

This easement places legal restrictions on the new 501(c)(3) that allows the property to continue to be used as a nature park, but prohibits any future development that would change the character of the mountain as it exists today. The agreement further protects the atmosphere of the park by placing limits on any future expansion of the buildings and other man-made features at the travel attraction.

“This cooperation between North Carolina State Parks and the new non-profit organization allows for the complete protection and preservation of Grandfather Mountain,” said Morton. “Plus the new 501(c)(3) will have many new avenues to generate revenue to improve and expand the mission of preservation and education.”

Funding for the acquisition will come from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund. The acquisition was arranged with the help of The Conservation Fund and one of its directors, Mike Leonard, and The Nature Conservancy, which holds conservation easements on Grandfather Mountain and surrounding properties totaling close to 4,000 acres.

The owners of Grandfather Mountain took care to see that the agreement specifically covered public access to MacRae Meadows. All activities, events and programs that currently draw visitors to the Meadow such as the Singing on the Mountain and the Highland Games will continue as they have in the past.

The new not-for-profit company will continue to collect park admission fees that will be used to fund its mission: to conserve and protect Grandfather Mountain, and to educate and inspire its visitors.

Easley & Morton Anounce Agreement.

I look forward to my next visit…And wish all involved the best moving forward.

Categories
my backyard nature writing_of_place

Bluejays

Have you ever watched a Bluejay eat an acorn? Around my home in Texas we have Bluejays year round. Actually, we have more Bluejays in winter than in summer but that’s neither here nor there. The Bluejays in my yard tend to eat acorns they find on the ground. Watching them find an acorn to try is fun but the amusing part is the way they approach opening the shell of the acorn…After selecting the best subject for his attention the discriminating Bluejay takes his selection and flies to a comfortable tree limb out of harms way. Once settled on the chosen base of operations the Bluejay proceeds to pound the poor unsuspecting acorn into submission. Once the hard nut has cracked from the pounding, the hardworking Bluejay is able to enjoy the fruit of his labor.

Then the process is repeated…By a multitude of birds on succeeding days. I have never noticed if the supply of acorns runs out or not, but I suspect there are acorns as long as the birds wish to search for them. I would imagine some of the nuts are from the stash the squirrels hide in the yard all fall and winter long.

As I alluded above, at this time of the year, the Bluejays visit us individually. During the winter months they arrive in the yard in great flocks of upwards of half a hundred or more. They appear to rotate through the yard on a regular feeding circuit they share with the Robins that overwinter here as well. Between the two species, they add a touch of color to an otherwise drab vista out my kitchen window.