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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Moses H. Cone Park: Management Plan for Alternatives

Image: Cone Manor, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park-MT file Photo

Some trails at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park may be allotted for bicycling under a plan currently being considered by the National Park Service.

The National Park Service is developing a management plan for alternatives that will guide the future development of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

The study for the plan, launched in 2003, will guide the future of the park for the next 15 to 20 years.

Some of the topics that have been discussed include the addition of bicycling to all or a portion of the carriage trails. Bicycling is currently prohibited. Other topics include adding Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant facilities, expanding interpretative and historical storytelling events, and allowing camping on some areas of the property.

A newsletter, which will detail the draft alternatives and provide background information on the Cone management plan, will soon be mailed out.

It will also be posted on the Parkway Website To receive the newsletter, contact Gary Johnson, Chief of Resource Planning, Blue Ridge Parkway, 199 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, N.C .28803; or email

Cone Park was originally known as Flat Top Manor and was one of North Carolina’s premiere country estates.

It was built by textile magnate Moses H. Cone, who was known as “The Denim King.” The estate was completed at the turn of the 20th century and features remnant apple orchards, barns and the 23-room manor house.

The National Park Service acquired the estate in 1950 after Bertha Cone had donated it to a hospital, and it became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Moses H. Cone Park offers great outdoor recreation, even in the winter. The park, located between mileposts 292 and 295 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, contains more than 3,500 acres, with more than 25 miles of carriage, horse and hiking trails.

The carriage trail branches off to several other roads, including a one-mile walk to the Cones’ gravesite. An additional two-mile hike leads to Flat Top Tower, which provides a great scenic view of the park.

The trails also feature some historic elements as well as natural wooded areas. Signs warn that the soil may contain high levels of lead and arsenic, leftovers from the days when apple trees once covered many acres of land on the slope beneath the manor house.

Source: The Mountain Times

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