BOONE — AppHealthCare announced on June 16 that it has awarded Blue Ridge Conservancy $10,000 to support the development of the Middle Fork Greenway project, and on June 22, Bank of America announced that it has provided the Blue Ridge Conservancy with a grant totaling $25,000, also for the project.

The Middle Fork Greenway project will improve the accessibility and connection between the town of Boone and town of Blowing Rock for cyclists and pedestrians. Funding for the $10,000 grant was received from the CDC through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and is overseen by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The funding for the project distributed by AppHealthCare is meant to support improved access to Payne Branch Park in Blowing Rock, which will eventually connect to the Middle Fork Greenway.

“AppHealthCare is thrilled to continue to support the Middle Fork Greenway and knows that the Middle Fork Greenway project will have lasting health impacts on the citizens of Watauga County and beyond,” says Jennifer Greene, health director at AppHealthCare.

The Payne Branch Park development project for the Middle Fork Greenway will be a result of the South Fork Dam removal and stream restoration project in partnership between Resource Institute, Appalachian State University and New River Light & Power.

After the removal of the dam and stream restoration slated to begin this year, Blue Ridge Conservancy will use the funding from AppHealthCare to provide bridges across tributaries for access to the newly restored Middle Fork New River.

Additionally, as a result of the dam’s removal, a parking area will be constructed to enable easy access for all visitors along with a concrete pathway leading to a wheelchair accessible picnic table also supported by AppHealthCare funding. Two interpretive signs will be installed along the path providing an educational experience informing the visitors about the history of the dam and the High Country’s aquatic resources.

“The urgency of protecting land and providing public access over the next decade has never been more evident,” said Charlie Brady, Blue Ridge Conservancy executive director. “The Middle Fork Greenway will provide public access, along with health, economic and environmental benefits to our community for generations to come.”

The $25,000 grant from Bank of America is part of the company’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development for individuals and families, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every part of our company is engaged in addressing the demands on critical natural resources,” said Bank of America State President Charles Bowman. “We’re grateful for Blue Ridge Conservancy’s efforts to conserve land, promote physical wellness and support local businesses in one of the most beautiful areas of our state.”

For more information about Blue Ridge Conservancy, visit

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