For Randy Johnson, speaking at Grandfather Mountain will be much like returning home. On July 28 at 6:30 p.m., Grandfather Mountain will welcome Johnson to speak about some of his passions — nature, the outdoors and Grandfather Mountain itself.
Johnson has written six books on the natural world, as well as articles and photography that have appeared in national magazines and newspapers. The author of numerous hiking guides, Johnson’s most recent book is a journey through Grandfather Mountain’s history, spanning from its geological beginnings to the park we see today.
“Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon” speaks not only to the rich history of the mountain, but also to Johnson’s own experience working to maintain and preserve the natural world at Grandfather.
Johnson founded Grandfather Mountain’s modern trail management program in 1978 after realizing that trails were deteriorating and becoming unsafe. He met with Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton in order to implement the fee-based trail system. His plan had two objectives: preserve the mountain and ensure the public would have access to the trails. The trail management program was a success and aided in achieving Grandfather’s status as both a N.C. Natural Heritage Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve.
Johnson has maintained a passion for Grandfather Mountain and preserving the area that he loves. After working on the trail management program, Johnson served as a backcountry manager until 1990 and currently serves on Grandfather Mountain State Park’s advisory committee. Additionally, Johnson has endeavored to tell the story of Grandfather Mountain in his most recent book.
In the upcoming program, Johnson will introduce his new book, tell stories of his own time working on Grandfather and share photographs from his years of building and exploring trails. The event will cost $15 for the general public and is free to Bridge Club members.
Mickey Shortt, Grandfather Mountain’s director of education and natural resources, said this will be a great opportunity for guests to hear from Johnson, as well as to meet him and have books signed by the author.
“This program will provide an opportunity to hear stories about a great mountain from Randy Johnson, who has spent a lot of his life exploring and researching the natural and cultural history of Grandfather Mountain,” Shortt said.
Johnson promises to tell the story from the very beginning, but not to worry — the story of Grandfather Mountain is far from finished.