Sunday, March 22, 2015

Live Staking on the Middle Fork

Streambank erosion and the resulting build-up of sediment in stream channels have a severe impact on water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. On March 21, Watauga County Cooperative Extension and Watauga River Partners hosted a presentation about the benefits of planting native shrubs along stream banks.  Presenters Wendy Patoprsty, Adam Williams, and Chelsea Blount showed slides of eroded  and incised banks and those same streambanks a year or two after being stabilized with shrubs and trees. 

Live stakes--long hardwood cuttings from native shrubs adapted to moist conditions--are an effective, economical way to reduce soil erosion.
Several MFG Task Force members attended the presentation and each brought home a bundle of livestakes cut from silky dogwood, silky willow, elderberry, and ninebark shrubs to stick into the banks along the Middle Fork.  Within a year the stakes will take root, eventually forming extensive root systems that will hold the soil in place during rainfall and high water.

Here is our group at work along the banks of Goldmine Branch Park, with our intrepid Chief Inspector (in lavender sweater) overseeing the job:

As our shrubs and trees grow, their shade will help maintain the cool temperatures that mountain fish and aquatic life need to survive. The leaves will provide habitat and food for insects and fish and the blooms and fruits will attract birds, bees and butterflies--the pollinators.  The river and its banks will hum with life.  All in all, it was a good day's work along the Middle Fork.
For more information about the benefits of shading your stream with native plants, see  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This Easter Weekend, Ski Like a Bunny, Help the Greenway (Details Below)


     This morning, just as it started snowing on Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, ASM President Brad Moretz held a press conference to announce plans for a special "Easter Ski Weekend" featuring 50% discounted ski tickets, and custom packages with local Area Attractions & Lodging.  All ski ticket sales on Saturday will be donated to the Middle Fork Greenway Initiative.
     After a traditional March 29 closing day, Appalachian's slopes will re-open to skiers and snowboarders for this special benefit from 9am-6pm on Saturday, April 4, and also on Easter Sunday, April 5.
     Ski tickets will be discounted up to 50% off normal rates for guests who stay at any High Country lodging facility or for any local resident (Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Johnson, Caldwell, or Wilkes County).  Special "3-for-the-price-of-1" packages are also available for a ski ticket and a choice of two local attractions:  The Blowing Rock Attraction, Doc's Rocks Gem Mine, Grandfather Mountain, or Mystery Hill.
     "Each dollar that we can raise through events like this is critical to leveraging matching funds to purchase greenway property or complete greenway development," said Brad Moretz. "We believe the Middle Fork Greenway will further define the Boone/Blowing Rock area as a premier recreation destination."
    In addition to Saturday's ski ticket sales, leading sponsors Yadkin Bank, ECR Software, Mast General Store and over 40 Tourism industry partners* are collaborating to donate a percentage of Easter Weekend revenues to the Middle Fork Greenway Initiative.
     "We are profoundly grateful to Appalachian Ski Mountain for this generous show of support," said MFG Executive Director Ann Browning.  "The response from so many businesses to join in a weekend of activities benefitting the Middle Fork Greenway is remarkable.  In addition to the funds raised to advance the project, this broad demonstration of support from the business community recognizes the value that the greenway will bring to our region's portfolio of recreational options." 

     As this news is being posted on February 12, the ground is white and the trees are blanketed in snow, presaging awesome skiing at Appalachian Ski Mountain this weekend.  So plan to hit the slopes this weekend and the next several weekends, and be sure to come back to Appalachian Ski Mountain ( on Easter Weekend, spend Easter Saturday night at one of our participating inns or motels, visit area attractions, and eat dinner at one of the great establishments listed below.  What could be better than to come to the mountains, have fun, eat well, sleep like a baby, and help a good cause?  (Oh, and while you're here you can also walk on the brand new section of the Middle Fork Greenway. Park at Tweetsie, experience the wonders of Mystery Hill, visit Doc Rock's Gem Shop and Coffee House, and go through the culvert beneath Highway 321 to the beautiful Sterling Creek Park we're developing on the other side of the highway.)

*Thanks to our Amazing Contributing Partners! (more will be added as their names become available):
Yadkin Bank (Sponsor) 
ECR Software Corp. (Sponsor)
Mast General Store (Sponsor) 
Alpen Acres Motel:   25% of lodging revenue/Easter Saturday
Damon Anagnos, MD, Plastic Surgery
Appalachian Mountain Brewery:   15% of Easter Saturday revenues
Appalachian Ski Mountain:   All ski ticket revenues/ Easter Saturday
Basil's Fresh Pasta & Deli:   25% of sales/ Easter Saturday
The Blowing Rock Attraction:   Admission sales/ Easter
Blowing Rock Brewing Co.:   25% of beer sales
Blowing Rock Inn:   25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Blowing Rock Market: 25% of revenue from Easter Sat. Oyster Roast
Cheeseburgers Grille:   25% of revenue/ Easter Saturday  
Chetola Resort:   25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Comfort Suites of Boone:   25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Dianne Davant & Associates
Doc's Rocks Gem Mine:   $2 per person/ Easter Saturday
Fairfield Inn & Suites, Boone:  25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Farm to Flame:   15% of Easter Saturday revenues
Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub:   $500
Jane Fonvielle:   $100
French-Swiss Ski College:   All lesson revenues/ Easter Saturday
Gaines Kiker, Silversmith
Grandfather Mountain:   All admission sales/Easter Sat./Online Sales
Green Park Inn:   25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Highland Hills Motel & Cabins:  25% of lodging revenue/Easter Saturday
Adam E. Hill, DDS, PA:   $500
The Inn at Ragged Gardens:   25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
Jenkins Rentals:   5% of rental commissions/ Easter Friday & Saturday
Kilwin's of Blowing Rock:   $500
La Quinta Inn & Suites, Boone: 25% of lodging revenue/Easter Saturday
Magic Cycles
Makoto's Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar:25% of revenue/Easter Sat.
Melanie's Food Fantasy:  25% of revenue/ Easter Saturday
Mellow Mushroom (Boone & Blowing Rock): 25% of sales/Easter Sat.
Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins: 25% of lodging revenue/Easter Sat.
Mystery Hill: All admission sales/ Easter Sunday
New Public House & Hotel: 25% of lodging revenue/Easter Fri. & Sat.nites
Pepper's Restaurant & Bar: 25% of revenue/ Easter Saturday
Red Onion CafĂ©:  25% of revenue/ Easter Saturday
Roots Restaurant:  25% of revenue/ Easter Saturday
Sleep Inn, Boone: 25% of lodging revenue/ Easter Saturday
StickBoy Bread Company: 25% of bread sales/Easter Saturday
Super Eight, Boone: 25% of lodging revenue/Easter Saturday
The TApp Room:   25% of revenue/Easter Saturday