While very much a current movement, sustainability has a long history in Asheville — thanks, in part, to the minds behind Biltmore Estate. Dating back to its founding ideals, George Vanderbilt had a desire that Biltmore be a self-sustaining estate and a wish to preserve the surrounding beauty and nurture the land and its resources for years to come. America’s Largest Home also lay the groundwork for American forestry when a portion of the private grounds was incorporated into the Pisgah National Forest, 6,500 acres of which were later designated as “The Cradle of Forestry.”
- 200th Anniversary of an American Landscape Luminary | Olmsted & Biltmore: 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Biltmore’s iconic gardens and grounds, as well as the inspiration for the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Olmsted was known as the “father of American landscape architecture,” with New York City’s Central Park, the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the White House and Boston’s Emerald Necklace among his most well-known projects. Biltmore was his last design, and as he approached the end of his work, he said, “It is a great work of peace we are engaged in and one of these days we will all be proud of our parts in it.” NEW ATTRACTION: The Olmsted Walking Trail is currently in development on the grounds at Biltmore and will highlight his collaboration with George Vanderbilt and Richard Morris Hunt, architect of Biltmore House. TRAVEL TIP: Visit the only standing statue of Olmsted in the U.S. just steps off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the North Carolina Arboretum.
- A Sustainable Stay Along One of the Oldest Rivers in the World: A sustainability-minded accommodations option, the Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabin Campground is set to open in the summer of 2022, joining a vibrant outdoor scene on the French Broad River Greenway and within walking distance of a rock-climbing center, public river access point and several parks. Consisting of 16 A-frame cabins with efficient floor plans, practical amenities and all the creature comforts to relax and recharge, the unconventional concept is designed to be a communal gathering space. The campground will also include a gear and provisions store, a bar and cafe, indoor and outdoor lounge seating, a conference room and event space. LOCAL EXPERTS: Owner-operators Shelton Steele and Joe Balcken, longtime locals and former whitewater raft guides, have a passion for natural spaces and intend to establish business practices and values that protect the natural environment while delivering an authentic experience.
- Embrace the Natural Wonder: Grandfather Mountain, an iconic, 5,946-foot peak 75 miles north of Asheville off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is opening the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery — the focal point of a new Conservation Campus at the UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve — in June, nearly doubling the size of its Nature Museum. The expansion will add a dozen interactive exhibits and experiences that connect to the mountain's 16 natural communities, as well as an outdoor amphitheater.
- Call to Action | Visitors Can Support the Blue Ridge Parkway via Pledge for the Wild: Asheville’s location along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway is foundational to its reputation as a thriving basecamp for outdoor adventure. Visitors inspired by this winding wild ribbon of a National Park can now lend a hand to protect it. A new protection-minded support program for natural spaces called “Pledge for the Wild” makes it easy for travelers to financially support the wild places they love through a simple online or text-to-donate contribution. In Asheville, a Pledge for the Wild donation goes directly to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation via PledgeWild.com/Asheville. BACKGROUND: Pledge for the Wild is a national cohort of mountain communities seeking to proactively share outdoor principles and responsible travel tips, in addition to the direct channel it creates for people to support wild places and parks in need. Asheville is the only East Coast destination.
- Leave No Trace: It’s more important than ever to help preserve the places that help humans find escape, restoration and healing. Return the favor and make sure these magical locales are here for generations to come by practicing the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace to minimize your impact when visiting the outdoors.
Want more 2022 news? Click here to view 22 (and then some!) transformational travel stories for the year ahead. Beyond the “what’s new” factor are the ever-inspiring histories, untold stories and trailblazers leading the way in this lively mountain city.