Friends of Mount Mitchell State Park


Aerial view of summit In 2012 Mount Mitchell State Park asked NC High Peaks to take over management of the Park’s Donation Fund. In order to perform that function we became the Friends of Mount Mitchell State Park, an official chapter of the Friends of State Parks. Over the years we have increased our support for the Park in many ways.

Donation Fund:

There are no fees to simply visit the park or hike on the trails.  But after experiencing the stunning views and unique ecosystem at Mt. Mitchell, many visitors - who come from every state and many foreign countries - want to give something back.  For this purpose, the park has three cash donation boxes, with one each at the ranger office, restaurant and gift shop.  Groups that use the Park for trail and bike races also contribute to the fund as a sign of their appreciation.

Donation box
weather station To comply with state regulations, park employees are not allowed to manage these funds, a task left to the Friends group at each park.  A formal Memorandum of Agreement between the Division of Parks & Recreation and NC High Peaks governs the handling of the funds and how they can be spent.  Each donation box has two locks and the Park and High Peaks each have a separate key so that we must both be present to empty the boxes.  The funds are then counted by both parties and deposited into a separate account.  The Park proposes projects or expenses to be paid for by the fund.  If the High Peaks Board approves, the funding is issued from this bank account.

Since High Peaks took over, key items have been purchased and several notable projects completed, including:

  • Biological samples, like animal skins and skulls, for the Education Building.
  • Materials for trail improvements.
  • Cameras and related equipment for the Park’s webcams.
  • An online weather station located at the Park.
  • Two digital sign boards to provide up-to-date information to Park visitors.
  • Park trail maps.
  • A Traveler Information AM Radio Station to broadcast park news to motorists.

Some of these projects are discussed below.

Trail Improvements:

High Peaks provides volunteer labor for routine trail maintenance.  We have also provided volunteer labor as our 25% match for work funded under the N.C. Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  This competitive state grant program funds trail improvements on public lands.  We recently used over $50,000 in RTP funds to hire a contractor to upgrade a section of the Mount Mitchell Trail in the Park. High Peaks volunteers also worked on this trail.


Friends of Mount Mitchell State Park (PDF)