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Pal to the Parks

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Article Published: Apr. 17, 2012 | Modified: Apr. 19, 2012
Pal to the Parks

Friends of High Country State Parks president Bob White, left, mans the group's booth at Elk Knob State Park.

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Everyone who supports the area’s four State Parks is invited to attend the Friends of High Country State Parks’ first major membership meeting Wednesday evening, April 18.

The one-hour meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Appalachian State University’s Belk Library, Room 114, and free parking is available in the adjacent parking deck after 5 p.m.

“It’s crucial that folks attend this first meeting of 2012,” president Bob White said. “We have great events to announce—four state park fun fests this summer—and challenges to address, like how High Country residents can help these economic engines of tourism cope with budget cuts and avoid park closures. Please come out and help our parks. You won’t believe the impact that we can have.

Attendees will hear the superintendents of each local park—Elk Knob, Grandfather Mountain, Mount Jefferson and New River—and the meeting will target concrete ways that group funds and volunteers can improve state parks in 2012 despite shrinking budgets, White said.

He added that the new group has mounted service projects and funded or facilitated modest but important initiatives, including a grant to New River State Park’s effort to preserve the eastern hellbender, a giant salamander of “special concern” in North Carolina. The organization’s mission is “to encourage local efforts to support recreation, education, preservation and adequate funding for our local state parks.”

“Please put this meeting on your calendar,” White said. “Our parks need our help.”

Membership benefits include discounts at Footsloggers and other local businesses, a quarterly online newsletter and “members only” events. Affordable regular membership costs $10, families pay $15, students pay $5, and a life membership is $250. Membership, and the group’s newsletter, is available through the group’s website,, or search “Friends of High Country State Parks” on Facebook.

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