- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LINVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A 13-year employee has been named the new executive director of the nonprofit foundation that runs Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Board announced Monday that Jesse Pope Jr. is its new director.

Board Chairman Jim Morton says Pope has grown and matured within the organization. He started the park’s naturalist program six years ago and was most recently assistant vice president and director of education and natural resources.

The foundation is fairly new. Grandfather Mountain was privately owned by Hugh Morton. In 2006 after his death his heirs sold some land to North Carolina to create a state park and created the Stewardship Foundation to operate land that included the Mile High Swinging Bridge and nature museum.

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