Archived News

News Archive

Click here for frequently asked questions about the Party Rock Fire and its affects

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

15241967_10155433550532656_6474298670669023514_nSanta Climbs Down the Chimney December 3 and 10

It’s that time of year, and Santa and his elves are getting ready! Jolly old St. Nick will be visiting Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park to climb down one of the world’s largest natural chimneys from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 3 and 10. For more than 20 years, Santa Claus has practiced at Chimney Rock for his big evening when he climbs down millions of chimneys worldwide delivering Christmas presents to little boys and girls.

Each weekend, one lucky guest will win a two-hour rock climbing lesson for two with Santa’s professional helpers, Fox Mountain Guides. The winner of each drawing will be announced at 1:30 p.m. and you must be present to win. Chimney Rock has been named one of “10 great places to catch up with Santa” and one of the 10 Best High Places in the World by USA Today. For Park hours, rates and in case of inclement weather, visit chimneyrockpark.com.

Fearless St. Nick will descend from the top of Chimney Rock on a nearly 200-foot rappel about every 30-45 minutes, weather permitting. When Santa isn’t climbing, kids are invited to visit with him and Mrs. Claus for photo opportunities and enjoy holiday cookies, hot cocoa and kids’ activities. Weather permitting, you can also meet Grady the Groundhog or other live woodland critters that wouldn’t survive at the North Pole. On December 10, the Chase High School Jazz Band from Forest City will be performing some holiday favorites from 12:15-1p.m. Local poet Eddie Cabbage will be on hand typing “made to order” poems for kids and their parents on his vintage typewriter; donations for the poems are requested. There is no additional cost for the event with paid Park admission.

“Santa on the Chimney has become a much-anticipated annual event that draws folks from all over the region,” said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. “It’s a very unique and fun way for families to enjoy time together during the holiday season.”

Check off your holiday shopping list with a discount on Annual Passes and a special sale of 25 percent off retail for Annual Passholders on December 3 to 11 at the Sky Lounge or Cliff Dweller’s Gift Shop in the Park. Guests who upgrade their admission to Annual Passes are also eligible for this sale.

For a limited time, new adult Annual Passes are available for only $25 ($3 off regular price) and Grady’s Kids Club Passes for only $10 (a $2 savings) at the Park and in the online store November 28 through December 23. Start saving with discounts on Park retail and dining, along with savings at Biltmore, Mast General Store and many local favorites. To learn about Passholder benefits and buy your upgrade online, visit chimneyrockpark.com.

After you visit with Santa at the “Rock,” take time to do some shopping in Chimney Rock Village and support the small local businesses this holiday season.

Other community holiday events open to the public include the Annual Chili Cook-off and Cake Walk from 5-9 p.m. on December 2 at the Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire Department, and the Annual Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge Holiday FundRaiser Gala at 6-10 p.m. on December 8 at the Lake Lure Inn and Spa.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

2016_documentary_ticket

November 10 Film Showing About the Flood of 1916 Captures the Western North Carolina Region in a Way Few Have Ever Seen

It’s hard to imagine that the state’s iconic tourism treasure, Chimney Rock, was brought to its knees during the earliest days of its history. But it did happen on July 16, 1916, a mere twelve days after the official dedication of the Park’s new bridge and road. Two hurricanes converged over Western North Carolina, causing historic flooding and mass devastation throughout the region including the loss of Chimney Rock’s new entryway.

A new documentary film, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, Remembering the Great Flood of 1916 by award-winning documentary filmmaker David Weintraub tells the story of that terrifying week in July. Chimney Rock Management, LLC operators of the Chimney Rock section of Chimney   Rock State Park, will host a showing of the film at a special event on Nov. 10th at the Lake Lure Town Hall.  The film was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this devastating event for Western North Carolina including Hickory Nut Gorge.

The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a reception and viewing of the traveling exhibit, “So Great the Devastation: The 1916 Flood,” that was created by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History in commemoration of the centennial of the tragic flood. Hosted by members of the Chimney Rock Village Community Development Association, the reception is sponsored by Duke Energy, which was also severely impacted by the flood.

“In 1916, hydro power was the primary source of electricity for the region. The flood knocked out one of our hydro electric stations and severely damaged others. It took nearly two months to get all the stations functioning again,” said Craig DeBrew, Duke Energy’s district manager for Rutherford County. “To protect residents from ever experiencing such widespread damage again, our engineers devised a strategy that would tame the river by engineering it into a series of lakes. Dams and lakes were constructed from 1916 until 1940. This has sparked tremendous residential, business and recreation growth.”

The film starts at 7 pm and will be followed by a discussion from county historians and some local elders whose families were affected. Not only was the first bridge to Chimney Rock washed out, but landslides wiped out families and homes, babies were torn from mothers’ arms, and at least 50 people died. Rainwater washed away thousands of jobs as rivers flooded. Damages totaled millions of dollars and a thick, black sludge remained where crops once stood. Chimney Rock and the region endured months of hardship.

More than 22 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period in many places in Western North Carolina when the French Broad was 17 feet above flood stage and the Swannanoa River was a mile wide. It’s a year that still evokes powerful memories for many family histories. According to 7th generation farmer, Drew Brannon, “If we don’t learn the lessons of the 1916 flood, we are bound to repeat them, with worse results than 100 years ago.”  Drew’s father and grandfather lost everything in the Great Flood and those haunting memories still shake the Brannon family tree. Jennie Jones Giles, a local historian and seventh generation native says, “Remembering the 1916 flood is important because the consequences to Western North Carolina should this happen again would impact us 10-20 times greater than it did then.  The lessons the flood could teach us could save our lives and better protect our community.”

The traveling exhibit will continue to move around the region through March 2017. It will also be on display throughout the month of November at the Old Rock Café next to the Park’s entrance in Chimney Rock Village. The Lake Lure Town Hall is located at 2948 Memorial Hwy. in Lake Lure, NC. Space is limited, so plan to come early. There is no charge for the evening, but donations will be accepted to support NC residents who are struggling from the recent record-breaking flooding that occurred in the eastern part of the state after Hurricane Matthew. For additional information, call Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park at 828-625-9611.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

chimneyrockfall2012b_byromanticashevilleFall Color Makes Its Way to Chimney Rock

Think you’re going to miss the Best of Fall in Western North Carolina?  Look again.

Whether it’s late fall colors or just being the ideal small-town for a holiday getaway, Chimney Rock State Park & Hickory Nut Gorge are the perfect alternative to busy holiday clamor. The locals know it. Our first-time visitors are delightfully surprised by it. Our long-tome fans have pictures to prove it.

Fall in Western North Carolina is stunning in its own right. But fall and early winter at Chimney Rock and in Hickory Nut Gorge? Well, it’s all just pretty mesmerizing. And you can bet, when the color has faded elsewhere and the leaves have made a carpet of the ground, fall is still hanging on here in the Gorge.

That’s thanks to our being in a Thermal Belt.  We’re protected by the higher mountains so fall comes later and lasts longer here! Days and weeks after the fall colors have faded and the leaves have fallen elsewhere, visitors still flock to the Gorge to experience the lasting autumnal show.

That’s because the vast expanse of forested terrain in the Park and in all of the Gorge make it one of the more prominent places in the Eastern United States to enjoy the fall colors well into November.  With multiple tree species growing in the state and in the Park, the North Carolina Mountains are abundant in hardwood forests populated by trees well-known for their bright fall colors As the season continues into November, the lines are shorter and the crowds die down.  Visitors who steer clear of the shopping malls seem to know it’s the best time to get a jump on holiday shopping for local arts and crafts.

All the way up through early November, you can take in a multi-colored view sitting on the back porch at the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village.  Note, if you visit on or before Thanksgiving, you can still catch the fall scarecrow decorations in the village. It’s a healthy competition between our local merchants! This time is really one of our favorite transitional seasons of the year, and one that still hasn’t been nearly as discovered as say, the fabulous time that is summer in Lake Lure!

Follow us on our Facebook Page or check our website for weekly updates on how the fall color display is progressing.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Beats, Burgers & Brews is Back for Fall at the Old Rock Café

Let’s face it, leaf peeping make you want to tap your feet. Tapping your feet makes you hungry. And eating makes you thirsty. Luckily, we’ve got you covered on all those fronts. After leaf peeping, relax outdoors to the beat of bluegrass, Americana, folk, blues or other genres while enjoying a regional craft brew or glass of wine on our riverside deck.

Talented local musicians and singer-songwriters liven up the scene on select Friday & Saturday evenings in October at this popular burger joint in Chimney Rock Village. The Old Rock Café features one of the 2014 Zagat-rated “Must-try Burgers across the Country” with Hickory Nut Gap Meats’ 100 percent grass-fed beef burger. The full menu includes grilled sandwiches, soups, salads and fresh-baked fruit cobbler.

For a full music schedule, visit our Events Calendar here.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

LL Scoop Lake Lure Scoop Offers New Discount to Chimney Rock State Park Annual Passholders

Lake Lure Scoop is the coolest new spot in town, and they’re the latest to join the list of local businesses offering discounts to Chimney Rock State Park’s Annual Passholders. Show your Park pass at Scoop, and you’ll receive 2 scoops of ice cream for the price of one or take $1 off of a classic Cheerwine, Coke or root beer float. Grady’s Kids Club members also receive a free topping of their choice when they show their membership card.

About Scoop:
Scoop serves up to 16 flavors of Tony’s Ice Cream, a 100 year-old, family-owned and operated company in Gastonia, NC, and Coca-Cola products. Their menu includes classic summer favorites such as Cheerwine, Coke, and root beer floats, sundaes, waffle cones, and more. They are located just down the road from Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park and across from the Lake Lure Beach at 2797 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure, NC.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

8th Annual Flock to the Rock

In September our temperatures cool, days shorten and wildlife begins to prepare for the winter ahead. Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park chooses this time of transition to celebrate the over 130 species of birds that can be found here throughout the year. Many of our feathered friends are stopping through on their migration route to warmer temperatures making this the perfect time for bird enthusiasts to visit. Some of the most sought species are warblers, tanagers, vireos and, of course, the Peregrine Falcon.

Throughout the day there are bird walks, workshops, live bird demos including raptor flight programs and a hawk count from Chimney Rock itself!

Flock to the Rock is included with paid Park admission, which is $13 for adults, $6 for youth (ages 5-15) and free for 4 years and under. An additional fee applies only for the Naturalist Niche: Early Bird Walk, which requires advance registration. Chimney Rock is an official site on the N.C. Birding Trail. For more details and a schedule of birding activities, visit chimneyrockpark.com/event/8th-annual-flock-rock/.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IMG_6550Flag Raising Ceremony at Chimney Rock Makes History

On Monday, July 4th, Chimney Rock State Park celebrated the 100th Anniversary of both North Carolina State Parks and Old Glory flying atop Chimney Rock with historic flag-raising and lowering ceremonies. A local Color Guard carried both the American and North Carolina flags to the top of Chimney Rock where they were raised together for the first time in the Park.

Surrounded by a beautiful dense fog and a listening crowd, Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood, former Park owner Todd Morse, and Chief of Planning and Natural Resources Brian Strong delivered speeches that focused on the importance of State Parks and the visionaries who make them possible, the history of Chimney Rock State Park, and the necessity of preserving North Carolina’s cultural and natural heritage.

IMG_6554
Strong referred to the Centennial Event as “a premier opportunity to recognize the visionary leaders of our state who set the wheels in motion to create a state parks system which has grown to over 230,000 acres and delights more than 17.3 million visitors each year.”

After a full day of outdoor activities, including guided tours of the elevator shaft, educational programs, and historic hikes, the flags were ceremonially lowered and folded to be archived for future generations. Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood delivered a heartfelt closing speech in which he encouraged upcoming generations to continue the legacy of those who made North Carolina State Parks a reality:

Flags_waving“From the Western mountains, across the Piedmont, and to our Eastern oceans, North Carolina is truly blessed with a rich diversity of natural and cultural resources. It is up to us to continue to protect our natural resources by advocating and volunteering our time and resources to those that would protect the state that we love,” James stated.

Brian Strong concluded the ceremonies by inviting guests to raise a glass of apple cider and toast to the Old North State.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

FloodHorrendous Flood of 1916 Traveling Exhibit Coincides with Sate Park Centennial at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock, N.C. – The joyous opening of Chimney Rock State Park July 4, 1916, soon was dimmed by the tragic flood of 1916. Just days after the park dedication, two hurricanes converged July 16 over western North Carolina, causing historic flooding. A traveling exhibit, “So Great the Devastation: The 1916 Flood,” recalls the catastrophe and will remain at Chimney Rock State Park through July 25.

Not only was the first bridge to Chimney Rock washed out, but landslides wiped out families and homes, babies were torn from mothers’ arms, and at least 50 people died. Rainwater washed away thousands of jobs as rivers flooded. Damages totaled millions of dollars and a thick, black sludge remained where crops once stood. Chimney Rock and the region endured months of hardship.

The exhibit consists of four interpretive panels and is located in the Old Rock Cafe near the park entrance. It will be moved to be part of Chimney Rock State Park’s Centennial Celebration and will be in the park July 4. The exhibit was created by the N.C. Office of Archives and History in commemoration of the centennial of the tragic flood.

“So Great the Devastation” will travel throughout the region through March 2017. There are two sets of panels that can be seen at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College July 16, Transylvania County Public Library July 26 through late September, Belmont Historical Society July 17-Aug. 31 and Lincoln County Historical Association Sept. 1-30. The exhibit will return to Chimney Rock in November.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

group_with_old_glory BWChimney Rock State Park Celebrates NC State Park’s Centennial

North Carolina launched its state parks adventure in 1916, responding to citizens who wanted to preserve Mount Mitchell’s majestic forest. Upon North Carolina’s purchase of 534 rugged acres, Mount Mitchell became one of the nation’s first state parks. The system has since grown to nearly 230,000 acres of the state’s most precious landscape visited by more than 17 million people each year.

Happenings are planned at all NC state parks, and Chimney Rock has a variety of activities scheduled throughout the year. But, the major centennial event at Chimney Rock State Park will take place on July 4.

As North Carolina was creating its first state park, three brothers were also dedicating their new park in Hickory Nut Gorge. On July 4, 1916, Chimney Rock was dedicated by Dr. Lucius B. Morse and the first American flag was raised on the Rock. This year, exactly 100 years later, a special ceremony will take place as the North Carolina state flag will join Old Glory on the top of the “Rock” for its centennial birthday. The flag dedication will begin at the 8:30am on the top parking lot near the base of the Chimney. State Park Superintendent James Ledgerwood, along with other speakers, will open the festivities with a short history of the Park followed by a hike up the Outcroppings trail to the Chimney. Once on the “Rock,” color guard will raise the North Carolina state flag under the American flag to signify that North Carolina State Parks is prepared to continue to protect the park and its natural resources for the next 100 years and beyond.

The band Vintage Vinyl will play their rendition of the National Anthem followed by a short patriotic concert.

State Park Rangers will share historical photos and articles about Chimney Rock and other state parks, including a display on the 1916 flood that washed out the original Park bridge soon after its dedication on July 4th. Guests will be able to continue their walk through history by a taking a self-guided hike along the Outcroppings trail where other historical photographs of the Park will be on display. A limited number of tickets will be available at the Ranger’s exhibit table for interested guests to take a Behind the Scenes tour of the elevator at different times during the day.

Around 6pm, as the color guard retrieves the flags, guests can take part in a toast to the next 100 years. The two flags will be then be placed in the Park’s historical archives and saved for future generations.

“The centennial of NC State Parks is more than just celebrating turning 100. This is an opportunity to bring awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving our precious natural resources and to encourage families to reconnect with nature and learn more about our environment,” said Ledgerwood.

Gates will open at 7:30 a.m. and, in the spirit of celebrating 100 years, admission fees will be waived for the first 100 cars (no buses and RVs please) that enter the Park before 8:30a.m.

The celebration will continue later in Chimney Rock Village. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., everyone is invited to gather along the Rocky Broad River behind the Old Rock Café for free s’mores and campfire stories with the Park Superintendent.

Each of 41 NC state park units will hold a family-friendly event in celebration of their 100th birthday. Go to http://www.ncparks.gov/100/centennial-events for a complete list of State Park centennial events. Thanks to the North Carolina State Park System, these special areas will be preserved for everyone to enjoy for 100 S’more years, the theme for the year-long celebration.

Chimney Rock also joins nearby Pisgah National Forest and the National Park Service in celebrating their centennials this year. Visitors to any state or national park can share their experiences via story, photos, videos or other mediums at the National Parks Service Find Your Park website.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

proposal 1

She Said Yes! Couple Engaged at Chimney Rock with Help from Staff & Guests.

Ashley Traynor never saw it coming. When the preschool teacher and her boyfriend Chase Crawford planned a weekend getaway to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock the weekend of January 16, she thought it was to make up for the trip they’d had to cancel last October. “We’d planned to come on the anniversary we’d begun dating, but it rained that weekend, so I thought this was just a reschedule,” said Ashley. But Chase had more than a raincheck in mind; he was planning to propose.

Chase and Ashley met in 2010, when they were teenagers working at a skating rink. After some “pretty serious flirting,” the couple went on their first date to Sonic, where they shared their first kiss over mozzarella sticks and milkshakes. They moved on to different jobs and different colleges, but they never broke up. “We had an instant connection that we’ve never lost,” says Ashley.

The couple settled in Raleigh, and after six years of dating, Chase decided it was time to make things official. The weekend before their trip, he told Ashley he needed to help his father with a construction job. But Chase and his parents instead came to Chimney Rock, where they scouted the area for the perfect place for Chase to pop the question. “We both love the outdoors, especially waterfalls,” says Ashley. “So Chimney Rock was the perfect place.” Hoping to capture the special moment on camera, Chase was desperately hunting for a local photographer that day, too. Luckily, he and his mother stopped by the Old Rock Café for some coffee and happened to mention their dilemma to manager Talia Davis. And it just so happened that Talia is a part-time professional photographer.

With all the logistics set, Chase returned home and waited. The weekend of January 16, he and Ashley set out for Lake Lure – but nothing seemed to go as planned. Rain poured from the sky on Friday, the day he was going to propose, so he decided to wait until Saturday. Talia was scheduled to work at the Old Rock on Saturday, so she arranged for her partner, Jennifer, to be at the Park that afternoon. But Saturday morning, the couple got an earlier start than Chase had anticipated, and he had to secretly text Jennifer to ask her to be in the Park much earlier. When the couple arrived at the Park, they learned that Exclamation Point, the site of the proposal Chase had chosen, was closed due to icy conditions. With some surreptitious texting, Chase coordinated a new meeting place with Jennifer – the top of Chimney Rock. The couple hiked to the top of the Rock, where Jennifer waited, pretending to take photos of the view. Chase surreptitiously asked a guest if she’d film the moment on his tablet. And finally, Chase was able to get down on one knee and propose.

“I was so surprised!” says Ashley. “I had no idea the whole time!” Jennifer continued snapping photos of the happy couple, and now they have beautiful memories to share of their once-in-a- lifetime moment.

Ashley and Chase plan to marry in the spring of 2017 – and they’re also looking forward to returning to Chimney Rock often. “We’ve always chosen a different place to vacation every year, but Chimney Rock is such a beautiful escape from the bustle of everyday life and spend quality time together, that we want to return every year,” says Ashley. “And of course, we now have happy memories of our engagement here, too.”

Congratulations to Chase and Ashley! If you have a special story you’d like to share about your time at Chimney Rock, please contact Shannon at prandevents@chimneyrockpark.com.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Taking It One Stewheelchair 1p at a Time: U.S. Wheelchair Athlete Masters the Outcroppings trail

Mia Ives-Rublee doesn’t seem to know the word “can’t.” At 31 years old, she has acquired a list of accomplishments that many people don’t achieve in a lifetime. A research assistant at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine with a Master’s degree in social work, Mia is also a gifted athlete and artist. She began qualifying for Junior Wheelchair Nationals in track and field in middle school, breaking numerous records. In high school, she continued her success in track and field and in 2003 was accepted to the University of Illinois on an athletic scholarship, where she earned student athlete awards every season.

Mia was born in South Korea with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a congenital collagen defect that causes bones in the body to break easily. Her first sentence, “I do it myself,” would essentially summarize her life mantra.

Once Mia sets her mind to something, there doesn’t seem to be much that can stop her. “It was my goal to participate Athens Paralympics in 2004, but pneumonia and a car accident that year prevented me from going,” she says. “I obtained B standard times and just missed getting on the US team.” Undaunted, Mia continued to compete in track and field, but had to stop after a severe fall fractured her leg. The fracture led to a non-union, which required numerous operations. Unable to sit properly in a racing wheelchair, she turned to Wheelchair Fencing to stay active. She has competed at numerous North American and World Cups. In 2013, she was invited by the US Wheelchair Fencing team to compete at the World Championships in Budapest.

All her life, Mia has overcome what most folks would consider insurmountable challenges. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that when she visited Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park with her friend Janine Healey last October, learned that the elevator was out of service and that the only way to reach the top of Chimney Rock was by climbing 499 steps, she decided that’s just what she’d do. “I came to Chimney Rock to get some fall photos. I knew I was going to get a great perspective from the top of the Rock,” says Mia. “And I just decided to go as far as I could.”

With her service dog Arianne and Janine by her side, Mia began to ascend the Park’s Outcroppings trail by crawling on her hands and knees, using the staircase railing to pull herself up. After climbing for about an hour, Mia reached the top of Chimney Rock, where she sat and gazed on the views while catching her breath. “You don’t get to see that kind of view often in the world,” she remarks. “It was worth it!”

Mia’s advice to people who are daunted by all those steps? “If you focus on the difficulty, you’ll defeat yourself. But if you take it one step at time, it’s not too bad. There are landings along the way where you can take breaks. Just focus on your end goal, and you can do it. And having friend along with you helps!”

Follow Mia on Facebook at Mia Ives-Rublee, US Wheelchair Athlete. See more of her photography, including her shots atop Chimney Rock, at www.dogstarprint.com.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

trail sign 1New Blue Ridge Heritage Trail Sign Installed

A new interpretive wayside sign greets visitors to Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park and is one of 69 such signs being installed on the new Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. The Trail is a collection of special places throughout the North Carolina mountains and foothills that embody the remarkable history and culture of the region and is an initiative of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (BRNHA).

At each location, the sign tells the stories of the people and places that have shaped the distinctive heritage of the 25 westernmost counties in North Carolina. The Chimney Rock sign tells the story of how Dr. Lucius Morse, captivated by the beauty of Hickory Nut Gorge and intrigued by Chimney Rock during his first visit to the area in 1900, subsequently purchased Chimney Rock in 1902, and how he and his two brothers Hiram and Asahel committed their lives to making this area accessible to the world while preserving its natural beauty. The Morse family’s dedication continued for over 100 years and resulted in the sale of the Park to the State of North Carolina in 2007, which ensured that their stewardship would forever be continued.

In addition to the signs, the Trail will be enhanced with the installation of interactive kiosks in five NC Welcome Centers that greet visitors to the region, plus a map brochure and website to help them get around the region and learn more about each site.

This initiative is designed to attract and inform visitors, students, and residents alike about the many natural and cultural heritage attractions in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The goal is to encourage people to discover places they may not know about. It is not a “Point A to Point B” trail, but rather many stops throughout the region. People can enjoy a single stop or piece together several sites by theme, town, region or activity to create their own personalized “trail.” QR codes on each sign will enable people with smart phones to locate other nearby sites.

The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a project of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and was supported by Federal Highway Transportation Enhancement funding administered through the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Haywood County, NC.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

passholders 1Passholders Use Park to Get Fit

It’s 8:30 in the morning, and Angela Stockdale is beginning her trek up the 499 steps of Chimney Rock’s Outcroppings trail. In the next hour, Angela will run and walk up and down sections of the Outcroppings and Exclamation Point trails, then reward herself with a trek down the Hickory Nut Falls trail to view the 404-foot waterfall at its end made famous in 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans.

Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Angela and her husband Rick bought a cottage in Lake Lure several years ago so they could visit the area on weekends and holidays. They were drawn to Chimney Rock for its beauty and soon became annual passholders, but they also discovered that that Park offers them unique ways to exercise. Four years ago, the couple decided to make Lake Lure their permanent home, and they visit the Park several times a week, running up and down the trails and stopping from time to time to take photos of the wildlife and scenery. Angela, a neuro technologist, works out in the Park about three or four days a week and Rick, Senior Director for Myriad Genetic Labs, works out about three days.

“I tell everyone this is the best and cheapest gym I’ve ever belonged to,” says Rick, Senior Director for Myriad Genetic Labs. “You get a great workout in while seeing outstanding views. I don’t know why anyone within 30 miles who wants to get healthy wouldn’t purchase an annual pass.”

Rick and Angela each have their own exercise goals and routines. Rick will run until he exhausts his limit, take a break, and begin again. When he reaches 2,000 steps, he’s done. Angela, a neuro technologist, works out at the Park three to four days a week and focuses more on endurance and time; she’ll run up and down sections of the stairs for about 40-50 minutes before she’s finished. “I’ve figured it up, and Angela and I have climbed over 200,000 stairs a year,” says Rick. “That equals 400 trips to the top of the Rock or 134 climbs to the top of the Empire State Building.”

“The first time up the stairs is always the toughest,” adds Angela. “But once you your endurance kicks in, it gets easier.”

The couple stresses that you don’t have to be in top physical condition to work out at the Park. While the Four Seasons and Outcroppings trail offer challenging climbs, the Hickory Nut Falls provides a more forgiving, moderate trail with slight inclines (not to mention the gorgeous, 404-foot waterfall at its end). Parents and kids can walk the half-mile Great Woodland Adventure trail, which is also perfect for those just getting started with an exercise routine.

Spending time in the Park has other benefits, too. The couple enjoy the relationships they’ve formed with other Park guests and Park staff. “We see other passholders like us who come here often, but we also find ourselves answering questions of first- time guests as we walk,” says Rick. “I probably spend about 20 minutes each time I’m here talking to guests.” The couple also knows most of the Park staff by name and celebrates milestones with them, such as the birth of a baby or a child’s high school graduation.

Angela frequently takes photos of the wildlife and views she sees after her workout. “I’ve gotten some great shots on the Four Seasons trail,” she says. “And during the summer, if you get here right when the Park opens and walk out to the Hickory Nut Falls, you can often see a rainbow that appears right across the rock face of the middle of the falls.”

The views, say Rick and Angela, are what drew them to Chimney Rock, what convinced them to purchase an annual pass, and what inspires them most in during their workout routine. “We always stop about four or five times just to see the views,” says Rick. “As many times as we’ve walked these trails, there’s always something we see that’s different.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

We Made it onto Yahoo Travel!

We made it on Yahoo Travel’s “Waterfalls, Caves, and Lakes — 50 Hidden Gems Across America” by Melinda Crow! Check it out under the North Carolina section here!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Elevator Out of Service Until Further Notice; Park Admission is Reduced.

The elevator will be closed indefinitely while recurring issues in its general operation are addressed. Engineers and technicians are looking for a solution to these ongoing problems. We are sorry for the inconvenience this closure has caused and will keep you updated on any progress. We appreciate your interest in the Park and your understanding.

You can still access the top of Chimney Rock with an exhilarating walk up our 499-step Outcroppings trail. As you climb, be sure to stop and check out the Grotto, the Subway and Pulpit Rock. These familiar features have recently reopened, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the awesome views they provide.

While the elevator is out of operation, rates will be reduced. Adult tickets, normally $15, will be $13; youth tickets (ages 5-15), normally $7, will be $6. Normal discounts will apply.

The Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli is open daily from 10am- 6pm when our staff is able to access the elevator for business use. Cliff Dwellers Gifts is open daily from 8:30am- 6pm.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Grotto, Subway and Pulpit Rock Now Open!

Soon after NC State Parks bought Chimney Rock Park in 2007, an inventory was done to determine the condition of the trails and Park structures. Several did not meet state construction standards and were closed until improvements could be made. Access to popular destinations along the Outcroppings trail—the Subway, Grotto and Pulpit Rock—were closed at that time. But, as noted in the State Parks’ Master Plan for Chimney Rock State Park, these destinations along the Outcroppings trail were to be redesigned, rebuilt and reopened.A crew with NHM Constructors, LLC out of Asheville began in December 2014 to rebuild the stairs and boardwalks to restore access to these unique features along the trail that leads to the “Rock.” As you can imagine, it was no easy task. Materials were brought in by truck and carried up the mountain. A helicopter flew 70 loads of materials to the site in one afternoon, with the pilot threading the materials down through trees for the crew on the ground to put in place. The harsh winter weather we had made it even more difficult!

But all of these efforts were well worth it; the Subway, Grotto and Pulpit Rock were reopened Memorial Day weekend to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of our guests as they experienced the amazing views!

If you have a special story you’d like to share about your time at Chimney Rock, please email prandevents@chimneyrockpark.com.