Mt. Mitchell Superintendent to Keynote High Peaks Annual Meeting Oct. 5

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Join the NC High Peaks Trail Association for its annual meeting on Saturday Oct. 5 at 10:30 a.m. in the meeting room on the second floor of the Yancey County Library in Burnsville. Special Guest Speaker will be Mount Mitchell State Park Superintendent Kevin Bischof.

The general public is invited to learn more about the area’s very active hiking club, and all High Peaks members are encouraged to attend.

Meeting topics include a review of the past year’s activities and discussion of plans for the upcoming year, with a focus on hikes, trail maintenance and other club projects. Members will be asked to vote on a slate of candidates for the club’s Board of Directors.

Superintendent Bischof took over leadership at the state’s flagship park in 2018, and has been working to increase visitor numbers and educational programs. He will talk about plans for the future, including the park’s expansion, as well as ways that High Peaks can be help the park.

Bischof earned a bachelor’s at the University of Cincinnati in his hometown, then went on to complete a master’s degree in outdoor recreation at Indiana University. He became a park ranger to educate kids and adults about his main passion – the natural world. He enjoys everything about the outdoors, but his favorite creatures are snakes and moths.

Bischof’s wife, Sharon, is also an NC State Parks employee, working as the Mountain Region Biologist, serving 15 parks west of Interstate 77. The couple don’t have kids, but their pets include a rescued dog named Theo, a 22-year-old boa constrictor and a 10-year-old snapping turtle.

Founded nine years ago, High Peaks leads hikes, does trail maintenance work and promotes conservation and outdoor activities in the area. The club’s members have logged thousands of hours of extremely hard work on area trails, including building steps and water-control structures, along with hauling chainsaws and weed eaters up 2,000 feet to clear the Black Mountain Crest Trail.

One of the club’s signature accomplishments has been winning and managing three state grants of $60,000 each over the past several years to rebuild badly-eroded sections of the Mt. Mitchell Trail. The trail attracts thousands of hikers annually because it is the only route to climb the highest peak in the Eastern U.S.

High Peaks is the official Friends of Mt. Mitchell State Park organization, as well as the Crabtree Falls Chapter of the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Photo info: Mt. Mitchell State Park Superintendent Kevin Bischof will give the keynote address at the High Peaks annual meeting Oct. 5.

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