Stories from the River

has been made possible through a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.  

We are rapidly losing the generation of Middle Fork River residents who know the stories of their ancestors and can recount the way of life before changes brought by the last few decades of development.  If we do not capture their stories, in their words with their voices, they will be lost.  The MFG provides an avenue for telling these stories through written materials on kiosks along the trail and through oral histories on our web site and social media.  We hope that this project engages community members along the river, and provides recognition to the individuals and families that contributed much to their communities.  This project will enrich the experience of greenway users while protecting and celebrating our natural and cultural heritage.

 Goldmine Branch Park Kiosk is under construction.  Please check back soon for updated content.  “Evolution did not intend trees to grow singly,” John Fowles wrote.   “Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or hermit.”   Surely no trees ever exemplified these words more joyfully than the pair of conjoined red maples (acer rubrum) exuberantly throwing their arms in the air as they grip the bank with their feet.   Weathering high water, wind and drought, they gradually became fused (inosculated) and the memories of one became the memories of them both.  They groaned as one when the earth’s deep currents signaled that entire nearby ancient forests were being clearcut in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. 

 Goldmine Branch Park Kiosk is under construction.  Please check back soon for updated content.  “Evolution did not intend trees to grow singly,” John Fowles wrote.   “Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or hermit.”   Surely no trees ever exemplified these words more joyfully than the pair of conjoined red maples (acer rubrum) exuberantly throwing their arms in the air as they grip the bank with their feet.   Weathering high water, wind and drought, they gradually became fused (inosculated) and the memories of one became the memories of them both.  They groaned as one when the earth’s deep currents signaled that entire nearby ancient forests were being clearcut in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. 

Payne Branch Park Kiosk is still under construction. Check back soon for updated content. Payne Branch Park was dedicated on Oct. 2, 2005, as the first park along the route of the Middle Fork Greenway.  With Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth Peacock and former Chancellor Francis Borkowski in attendance, and with Watauga County Commissioners Keith Honeycutt and Billy Ralph Winkler, and about 50 members of the community, we celebrated a new chapter in the river’s life.  Musicians played and members of the Shore, Cook and Tate Families, heirs of the original owners, shared photos and stories of growing up along the lake that once covered the land. 

Payne Branch Park Kiosk is still under construction. Check back soon for updated content. Payne Branch Park was dedicated on Oct. 2, 2005, as the first park along the route of the Middle Fork Greenway.  With Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth Peacock and former Chancellor Francis Borkowski in attendance, and with Watauga County Commissioners Keith Honeycutt and Billy Ralph Winkler, and about 50 members of the community, we celebrated a new chapter in the river’s life.  Musicians played and members of the Shore, Cook and Tate Families, heirs of the original owners, shared photos and stories of growing up along the lake that once covered the land. 

Sterling Creek Park Kiosk is still under construction.  Check back soon for updated content.  Many trees grow in this park–white pine, red maple, sugar maple, yellow birch, rhododendron, northern red oak, black cherry, hemlock, black locust, ash, American beech, hickory, Fraser fir, red spruce, and most recently, a Newtown Albemarle Pippin apple tree, planted by Blue Ridge Gardening Club for Arbor Day, 2017.  Each tree here has its own story but we’ve decided to build this history on the one we believe is the oldest: the Northern Red Oak. 

Sterling Creek Park Kiosk is still under construction.  Check back soon for updated content.  Many trees grow in this park–white pine, red maple, sugar maple, yellow birch, rhododendron, northern red oak, black cherry, hemlock, black locust, ash, American beech, hickory, Fraser fir, red spruce, and most recently, a Newtown Albemarle Pippin apple tree, planted by Blue Ridge Gardening Club for Arbor Day, 2017.  Each tree here has its own story but we’ve decided to build this history on the one we believe is the oldest: the Northern Red Oak. 

Stories from the River is a part of the Middle Fork Greenway historical community preservation made possible through a grant from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. 

Picking Blackberries - Local Artist Anne Burgess highlights some of the wonderful activities that can take place on a Greenway!

Picking Blackberries - Local Artist Anne Burgess highlights some of the wonderful activities that can take place on a Greenway!