High Country Association of REALTORS News

Live the Dream #17 - Julian Price Memorial Park

Julian Price Memorial ParkOne of the most impressive ammenities of High Country living is beautiful Julian Price Memorial Park. Located just outside Blowing Rock, the 4,200-acre playground includes a 47-acre lake, more than 100 picnic areas, several campgrounds, many hiking trails and a amphitheater. It is the Parkway's largest developed recreational area for public use.

The park itself is the result of a gift.

The park is managed by the National Park Service which received the lands from the Jefferson Pilot Standard Life Insurance Company shortly after Price's death when they received it through his will.

Price was an insurance executive who purchased the acreage in the late 1930s and 1940s to create a retreat for the employees of his insurance company. His premature death in 1946 postponed these plans and the lands were deeded over to his company. They in turn donated the lands to the National Park Service / Blue Ridge Parkway for public recreational use with the cooperation and approval of Price's son and daughter.

The park is perfect for just about any outdoor activity, whether it's kite flying, frisbee throwing, canoeing, sunbathing, grilling or beaver stalking. That's right, beaver stalking.

Beavers have been reintroduced to the park after they were trapped out of existence in the late 1800s. They immediately started building dams and creating ponds, bogs and swamps like this little section of backwater. Many nearby tree stumps have that distinct pencil-sharpener appearance that only beavers can leave behind.

Beavers are curiously indifferent to human desires for dry trails and proper drainage (or perhaps vengeful for all those years of beaver hats), so consternation is bound to accompany their construction projects. The swamps they create, however, make wonderful homes for a host of reptiles, amphibians and insects, none of whom are complaining.