Land buy intended to protect iconic Appalachian Trail views
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A coalition of conservation groups has purchased nearly 600 acres of land in Virginia intended to protect the scenic vistas from one of the most popular spots on the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Conservation Fund and the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club announced the acquisition Tuesday, the Roanoke Times reported.
The groups spent more than $1 million on three private parcels of land, aided in large part by a contribution from the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, which is designed to cross underneath the trail. In August, Mountain Valley pledged up to $19.5 million for trail improvements.
In addition to preserving the views from McAfee Knob, the groups say the purchase will improve access to the trail and provide greater conservation of the surrounding areas.
“The conservation efforts surrounding McAfee Knob continue the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s work to improve access for visitors, conserve the world’s most famous footpath and protect views cherished by millions of visitors,” said Andrew Downs, a senior regional director for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
McAfee Knob has experienced growing popularity since the 2015 release of “A Walk in the Woods,” a movie based on the nonfiction book by Bill Bryson that highlighted the rocky outcrop, the newspaper reported.