The state's purchase of Chimney Rock Park has taken another step forward. The Council of State today approved the purchase of the privately owned natural area for 24 million dollars.
The state negotiated for more than two years before reaching a deal with the Morse family, which has owned the scenic property near Lake Lure since 1902. The family had listed the property on the open market for 55 million dollars, but state parks director Lewis Ledford said they told him all along they hoped to preserve the land for the public.
Ledford said the land purchase is scheduled to close in the third week of May.
It'll take a couple of years for the state to take over the property. In the meantime, the Morse family will continue to manage the park under a contract. There's an admission charge to the park now, and Ledford said the state will probably also charge for entrance in order to manage the number of visitors to the small towns nearby and within the park.