In 2008, agreement was reached for the state parks system to acquire 2,456 acres along the crest of Grandfather Mountain to become North Carolina's newest state park. The property is commonly known as the backcountry of the famous travel destination. The purchase completes a long-held vision of Grandfather Mountain Inc. and the Morton family (the heirs of company founder Hugh Morton) to guarantee the mountains' continued preservation. The acquisition was arranged with the help of The Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy, which holds conservation easements on the mountain covering nearly 4,000 acres. The acquisition was financed by the Parks and Recreation and Natural Heritage trust funds. In early 2009, the General Assembly formally authorized Grandfather Mountain State Park. This gives the state parks system the option of seeking additional acreage for traditional park facilities. Any additional tracts or facilities would be identified and prescribed through a public master planning process.
Grandfather Mountain Attraction - Please note: Grandfather Mountain State Park does not encompass the private Grandfather Mountain attraction, though the state park trails can be accessed from the parking areas at the attraction. As a way to guarantee that Grandfather Mountain will remain in its current state forever and assure the public continued access to its peaks, the owners of the attraction established the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization. The Grandfather Mountain attraction will continue to operate as it has since the 1950s, alongside the new state park but under the management of the Foundation. The attraction's admission fees continue to provide visitors the grand vistas from the mile-high swinging bridge, and access to the park's nature center, wildlife habitats and other amenities. Popular events, such as the Highland Games and the Singing on the Mountain will still be held at the attraction. Complete information about the attraction, its activities and events can be found at www.grandfather.com.
The acquisition agreement gives North Carolina a conservation easement on the 749 acres where the attraction is located. At this time, however, the state parks system has no management responsibilities for the Grandfather Mountain attraction and its facilities.