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Old 10-06-2004, 04:00 PM
Head Surfer's Avatar
Head Surfer Head Surfer is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Land of Milk and Honey
State: Florida
Professional Status: Retired Appraiser
Posts: 6,671

Some of you may know that I go camping in North Carolina. A friend of mine, Barry Glidden and his wife, Terry, have managed the Rainbow Springs Campground, about 12 miles west of Franklin, NC, for the past 2 years.

Rainbow Springs Campground is a private campground that dates from the 1930's. It is on the Nantahala River and in addition to being a great campground, it is a hiker hostel for the AT (Appalachian Trail) thru hikers as well as a haven for section hikers. Hundreds of hikers pass through there each year and get re-supplied, a hot shower, a warm bunk for the night, and hot pizza.

I do the web site for Rainbow Springs Campground (free for my friend) and I have been up there about 3 times in the last 2 years. I learned about a month ago that the owners of Rainbow Springs Campground now want to convert it to a single family home subdivison and build a few million dollar homes along the river. Of course it is private property, and that is their right, however the owners are just a group of investors who only purchased the campground a couple of years ago from the long time owners, and my friend who manages the campground was led to believe that the new owners wanted to grow the campground's business and he has been putting his heart and soul into that. I developed the web site for him, and he has told me that the web site has helped a lot in attracting new business.

Then about a month ago the campground owners dropped the bomb that they were going convert the campground into homes for a few rich people. He believes that was their intention all along, and they weren't being straight with him. Anyway....

Barry, being the creative person that he is, has gotten the Little Tennessee Land Trust to agree to accept the campground into their Trust, under their control, if the funds can be raised to purchase the campground from the investors. The investors have agreed to sell the campground, for $1 million.

So there is only a little matter of raising $1 million in a short time. However, we may have longer, as the owners may grant an option for a year or 6 months for a reasonable sum (yet to be determined).

Barry and I are thinking that since this campground is a key point on the AT (Appalachian Trail) for the thru hikers and has been for years, that the key places to search for funding to buy the campground for the Little Tennessee Land Trust would be the large outfitters, such as LL Bean who have been selling hiking gear for years to the hikers.

However large corporate wheels turn slow, and even though some of these outfitters have been contacted, no big "flagship sponsor" has materialized. Most large corporations decide on these things once a year, and won't even consider any requests until their annual meeting on such things. There has been about $2000 in individual donations, mostly from the hikers who come through.

I would truly hate to see this gem lost to development. It has existed for 70 years, and is less than a mile from the AT. There is no other AT hiker hostel's around this area. The cabins at Rainbow Springs were built in the 1930's and were once used as hunting cabins.

I guess I am just looking for additional ideas to try that Barry hasn't tried yet. He has contacted a lot of the large manufacturers, and all of the hikers that have passed through there in the past year.

If anyone has any ideas, or contacts, or know anything about what Barry is attempting to do, I would like to hear them, I will sure pass them on.

The web site is and you can see the "save rainbow springs" button which explains the situation, as well as displays the agreement from the Little Tennessee Land Trust where they agree to take the campground into their trust if the money can be raised to purchase it.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 10-06-2004, 04:06 PM
Randy Beigh Randy Beigh is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Spokane,WA

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As you know, I'm not a big fan of government, but there may be an option in that regard.

This state has a conservation program where the counties or state can buy a piece of land for set aside or future parks. I,of course, no nothing of North Carolina, but it might be something to look into.
Old 10-06-2004, 04:51 PM
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Patti Jury Patti Jury is offline
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State: Colorado
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Look into getting approved for Historic Registry..
Old 10-06-2004, 05:24 PM
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jay trotta jay trotta is offline
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State: Connecticut
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Don't know about the "Historic" structure of a Campground, but I don't think it will meet the requirements;

I believe just recently, the Leukemia Society opened a large campground in North Carolina for children with Life Threatening Disease, don't know which part. My direction would be in that area, ifn it's that pretty.

Secondly, I would submit a request to the three closet Towns to see if they would be interested in purchasing it, as Open Space, allowing the campground to remain "as is" until the current owners leave. this would keep the option Open for that particular town to keep it as it is today or let it remain as a Trail.
We have several in our community that the towns have purchased oveer the years, great hiking trails. A number of larger area cities have taken most of their "Open Space" area's and turned them into "Greenway's" for town folk, so that they have; hiking; walking; and biking paths for public use.

In most instances it's a way for the Towns to preserve space for the future; development can be very costly.

Just A Thought.

the road of life is always under construction
Old 10-06-2004, 05:29 PM
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Chris Colston Chris Colston is offline
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Location: East Central Florida, Space Coast
State: Florida
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Federal government land grants. Check with the Forestry Dept, Parks Dept and Environmental Protection. North Carolina might have similar state departments with grant monies, too. All the citizens of my city wanted to do was create a "leash off dog park" and we managed to get the state to offer matching funds depending on citizen participation. You might be able to get into a similar type program.
Old 10-06-2004, 05:31 PM
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DB DB is offline
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And may I suggest contacting Johnny Morris in Springfield,MO. He is the CEO of Bass Proshops and an avid outdoorsman, unlike the higher ups at LL Bean .... who are prestige hounds and have probably never even been hiking. <_<

Johnny's wheel likely turn a little faster.

It might also be a good idea to get some artists involved... John Anderson, Alan Jackson, Aaron Tippin, Jeff Foxworthy and the like. Check the net for artists who are environmental supporters and outdoorsmen and women ..... Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease ....
Old 10-06-2004, 05:38 PM
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George Hatch George Hatch is offline
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I'll betcha there are some environmental concerns that might affect a land use change if they were examined. Maybe some endangered species of mushroom or tse-tse fly or something. Have there been any environmental impact studies conducted? The state or the county might have some interest in the place, too. They don't necessarily have to buy; they can always designate it as an open space or put some development restrictions on it that effectively mitigate it's value as a subdivision.

The environmental guys are always a good place to start. Over here on the Left Coast, they've even been known to plant endagered species on a contested project site, thus creating an issue they can argue in federal court. You'd be amazed. Just the prospect of having the project tied up in court for a few years can render a project unfeasible because of the protracted holding costs. That time can be used to find the golden sponsor.
Old 10-06-2004, 05:40 PM
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DB DB is offline
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OH !! I don't why I didn't think of this before ..... There is a NC Cherokee Nation that is very active. They might be able to incorporate their initiatives with yours and your friends, to save the land and the campground. Particularly if if can be proven that it was a part of anything to do with the advancement or development of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation ......
Old 10-06-2004, 07:14 PM
Restrain Restrain is offline
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I've seen this happen more than once when someone sells without any long-term agreement or use controls built into the sale.

While I wish your friend luck with all the suggestions given, this should be a cautionary tale to anyone who wants to sell and retain control. You give up your ownership rights, you give up control.
Old 10-06-2004, 08:41 PM
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Farm Gal Farm Gal is offline
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State: Nebraska
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It would seem to me that a LOAN of $1,000,000 as secured by someone with deeper pockets than all of us... for such a gem would not be an unreasonable item to pursue... Particularly if you have a little time. to raise the $$ to further the cause.

Approaching some one like Gates, or gathering collalition effort from 'other resources' might work out?

How about approaching the guy on Craigs list... if everyone on his list donated a dollar.... or three. for a pice of paper that says they 'own' a piece of the park? for forever having a dollar a visit knocked off thier stay?

OK these are some wild ideas but how about any of that sort of out of the box thinking?

just thinking...

I once stayed in a similar place on the top of Mt. Tamalpais... Privately owned in the center of State Park land... absolutely breathtakingly beautiful... and absolutley unique.

I admire your effort to assist.
Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip ~Will Rogers
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