You may have heard some strange things about the sale of Chimney Rock to the state of North Carolina. So, what’s the real scoop? Check out some frequently asked questions below. Don’t see yours? Send it to us!
Who owns Chimney Rock?
On May 21, 2007, the state of North Carolina acquired Chimney Rock from the Morse family, whose four generations of family members shared the Park with millions of guests for over 100 years.
The state of North Carolina has contracted with Chimney Rock Management, LLC (CRM) to operate and maintain the Park in a manner consistent with the way the Park was run by the Morse family for 105 years. CRM is a new company formed by several senior staff members and many of the same smiling faces that guests have come to know over the years.
Is Chimney Rock a state park?
The Park is now managed by the NC Division of Parks and Recreation as a unit of the state parks system, but is being managed on a different model from other state parks. Since the Park offers a variety of high-maintenance amenities and the state does not have a system in place to support those, the state has an agreement with CRM to continue to operate the Park as it has been done for many years.
The state parks system continues to acquire land in Hickory Nut Gorge to add to the state park. This new state park was originally authorized in 2005 as Hickory Nut Gorge State Park. But with the acquisition of Chimney Rock, legislation has been introduced to re-authorize the entire park as Chimney Rock State Park. This fits well with the state’s tradition of naming state parks after prominent natural features.
Will there continue to be an admission charge?
Yes. While most other state parks charge no admission fee (other than a per-vehicle parking fee), Chimney Rock offers additional amenities not found at other state parks, including trail guides for guest safety, an elevator making the views accessible to everyone and parking and shuttle services.
Will Chimney Rock close at the end of this year?
No. Initial reports at the time of the sale indicated that the Park might close at the end of 2007 for transitioning. This will NOT be the case. CRM will continue to operate the Park year-round for the next several years.
I purchased an Annual Pass. Will it still be good?
Yes. Annual Passes are guaranteed to be honored for admission for one year from the month of purchase. Already have an Annual Pass? Your Pass will continue to be renewable just as it has in the past. So, come soon and come often!
Now that the state owns the Park, will I be able to bring my own gear and climb the Rock?
No. Under an exclusive agreement between Fox Mountain Guides and Chimney Rock Management, climbing is permitted only under their direction and guidance with only their approved equipment. This is a requirement of CRM’s liability insurance and ensures the safety of all the Park’s guests.