On The Blue Ridge | The Official E-Newsletter for Heritage Partners of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
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Blue Ridge Forever Receives $8 Million Allocation
Blue Ridge Forever, a coalition of the 10 land trusts in Western North Carolina, recently received an unprecedented allocation of $8 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the National Resource Conservation Service for its project, “Forever Farms; Easements at the Eminence.” 
The $8 million will be allocated through agricultural conservation easements, ensuring the land remains farmland and offering farmers an opportunity to receive financial help with their farm enterprises.
The funds will also be focused on keeping drinking water clean. The Southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina contain the headwater sources of drinking water for millions of people throughout the Southeastern United States, in nine river basins emanating on either side of the Eastern Continental Divide. By ensuring that clean water flows off of farms at the headwaters, drinking water down stream remains cleaner.
Blue Ridge Forever participating land trusts include Blue Ridge Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Mainspring Conservation Trust, New River Conservancy, Pacolet Area Conservancy, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and RiverLink.
For more information, click here.
Waynesville Picked for USA Today's Road Trip Series

As part of USA Today's "50 State Road Trip" series, the website highlighted "Picturesque Small Towns in Each State," selecting Waynesville for North Carolina.
The photo gallery explained, "In North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains lies Waynesville, with its quaint urban charm and close proximity to outdoor adventures."
New Spanish Colonial Trail and Museum Exhibit
Celebrate 450th Anniversary 
Four hundred and fifty years ago, Spanish Captain Juan Pardo led an expeditionary force into the interior of North Carolina and built Fort San Juan in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near present day Morganton. 
Here, in 1567, nearly 20 years before Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colony” at Roanoke Island and 40 years before the Jamestown settlement, Spaniards and Catawba Indians coexisted for a short time. Archaeologists have been working at the site, known as the Berry Site, since the 1980s, and in 2013, discovered the remains of Fort San Juan, believed to be the oldest fort built in the interior of the United States.
New Exhibit
The Exploring Joara Foundation, in partnership with The History Museum of Burke County and numerous community supporters, is creating a new professional exhibit focused on both Spanish and Native American discoveries at the Berry site. The exhibit will debut March 18 at the museum, located at 201 West Meeting Street, Morganton, 28655. It is free and open to the public.
Catawba Meadows Site
The Exploring Joara Foundation is also developing a Living History Center at the Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton. The Living History Center is an interactive interpretive center which is located on the site of a significant 16th century Catawba Indian town. 
The Exploring Joara Foundation was establshed to engage the public  in archaeology in the Carolinas, emphasizing the discovery of the Native American town of Joara and Fort San Juan. Partial funding for the Living History Center was provided by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
Save the Date: Growing Greenways Event
Growing Greenways: Cultivating Support & Success in WNC will be a one-day event, May 19, 2017, at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. The meeting will focus on generating and sustaining public and political support for greenway project development. The goal of the event is to empower greenway advocates to succeed and to expand their influence throughout the western region of NC.
Keynote address will be given by Ed McMahon, who holds the Charles E. Frasier Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy at the Urban Land Institute. Nationally known as an inspiring and thought-provoking speaker, he is a leading authority on topics such as the links between health and the built environment, sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation.
Additional topics will include:
•Techniques to Involve Private and Corporate Citizens
•Increasing Participation from Minority and Rural Members of the Community
•Case Studies from Other Regional Trail & Greenway Projects that are Supported by Friends Groups
•A Primer for Overcoming Barriers to get Greenways on the Ground
Look for EventBrite registration in mid-March, including an option to receive CEUs for recreation and planning professionals. Questions? Contact Judy Francis, Judith.Francis@ncparks.gov, 828.296.7230 x 226.
Learn About Heritage Apples and Receive
Free Rootstock for Grafting 
Apples have played an important role in the agricultural heritage of Western North Carolina, and on Saturday, March 18, the public is invited to a free event to learn about Heritage Apples, and also to take away free rootstock for grafting. 
From 11 am to 3 pm at the Cashiers Valley Community Center, 42 Community Place, Cashiers, local apple experts will talk about Heritage Apples and the importance of preserving them. They will teach attendees about grafting techniques and graft free rootstock for those who bring their own scions, which are the young shoots or twigs of an apple tree.
The Community Center is located across from the Fire Department in Cashiers, and admission is free. For further information, contact the Cashiers Historical Society at 828-743-7710 or visit www.cashiershistoricalsociety.org.
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Blue Ridge National Heritage Area  •  195 Hemphill Knob Road  •  Asheville, NC 28803


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