Western North Carolina is blessed with many beautiful state parks. However, only two were long-time owned and managed by families, and they are still thriving today! Join the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area on Thursday, March 28 from 10:30 am to 12:00 Noon as we present "Our State Parks and Their Family Roots: A Historic Perspective of Chimney Rock and Grandfather Mountain" at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center located at Milepost 384 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Todd Morse, former owner of Chimney Rock Park, and author of "For the Love of Chimney Rock," will speak to the history of one of Western North Carolina's premiere natural scenic and tourist attractions. Morse's family operated, promoted and served as stewards of Chimney Rock Park for more than 100 years, before it became a North Carolina State Park. Morse will outline inner workings and challenges of a family owned tourist’s attraction and the love each generation had for Chimney Rock Park and Western North Carolina. Jesse Pope, President and Executive Director of Grandfather Mountain, will detail the park’s history, the relationship that has developed over the years with the Blue Ridge Parkway and how Grandfather Mountain is operating and sustained today as part of the NC State Park System. Pope, a 16-year employee of Grandfather Mountain, served as assistant vice president and director of education and natural resources. During his time at Grandfather Mountain, Pope also worked as a seasonal trail ranger and on the animal habitats staff before launching the park’s naturalist program, which he led for six years. Jesse worked closely with the Morton family - including the late Hugh Morton - to learn their values and vision that was the basis for the on-going mission of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.