Blue Ridge Parkway to grow under deal nearing end

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BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — The town of Blowing Rock is giving the National Park Service nearly 200 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway in exchange for a 20-acre reservoir.

The Watauga Democrat reported the land exchange would solve an issue dating to 1908. The will of textile magnate Moses Cone gave the federal government land the town has long used as its water source.

An informal agreement worked until the late `90s, when a policy change prompted talks of a trade.

The deal gives the town full ownership of its reservoir. The park service will gain 198 acres of forest between the town and U.S. Highway 221.

The town bought the tract in 2003 for $440,000. A grant covered about half of that. Congress passed a law authorizing the trade in 2010.

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