The public gets its first look today at the draft master plans for the new Chimney Rock State Park. The landmark near Asheville has been one of western North Carolina’s top attractions for decades. In 2007, its private owners sold it to the state to become part of a large new state park at Hickory Nut Gorge.
State parks spokesman Charlie Peek says the rugged terrain makes planning roads and facilities challenging – not to mention the need to keep some areas pristine:
"Up there, we have very many areas of rare species, important habitats that we have to work with. So where are we going to guide people, and where are we going to kind of restrict people's movements and people's activities? 'Cause we only have one shot at doing this right."
The Nature Conservancy partnered with the state to acquire more than 4000 acres for the park. The master plan is online atNCparks.gov. The public can comment on the proposal through December 13th.