In 1983, members of the Valle Crucis Community joined forces to preserve a 12-acre tract of land along the Watauga River that was slated for development as a recreational vehicle campground. Their efforts were successful, and the Valle Crucis Community Park was born. The park’s founders held a clear vision for the land: That it should remain undeveloped, as a recreational and gathering space for the community, in perpetuity.
Today Valle Crucis Community Park has grown into a 28-acre destination for High Country residents as well as visitors to the area. The park is open to the public year-round and provides space for a variety of outdoor activities.
To provide a safe and peaceful recreation resource and gathering space for our community, preserve open space, and educate our visitors about natural resources and the importance of protecting them for future generations.
Every year, the Park’s Board of Directors evaluates and updates its strategic initiatives and lays out a road map of priority tasks for the year. View the Park’s 2022 Strategic Plan here.
Gardner joined the Park staff in February 2022 as Executive Director.
Michelle now serves as Park Operations Manager. Michelle holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration/ Nonprofit Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, both earned at Appalachian State University. She brings a wealth of nonprofit experience and community engagement to this role. Michelle also manages the Watauga County Farmers’ Market in Boone and works with her partner, Larson, to run their Valle Crucis-based farm, Sunshine Cove. She is passionate about community building, place-making, and environmental stewardship and is eager to put her skills to work here at the Valle Crucis Park!
Amanda is a native North Carolinian, born in Raleigh. She spent most of her childhood in Apex and Cary before moving to the Grand Strand area of Coastal South Carolina. Amanda attended Coastal Carolina University where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration. While earning her MBA, Amanda became passionate about entrepreneurship and worked in a communications position at a technology incubator where she guided entrepreneurs in building their startup companies from an idea to a working product. Amanda’s work with the startup incubator inspired her and her husband to start their own small business, Epic Nature Tours. Amanda loves exploring in nature, and she is an avid birder and photographer. Amanda and her husband offer birding and nature tours through their business both locally and to exotic places around the world like Costa Rica! To learn more about their tours please visit www.EpicNatureTours.com. She also considers herself to be a ‘foodie’ and has a passion for cooking delicious meals. Amanda is inspired by food from the places she travels, and she always tries to recreate those delicious meals at home to share with family and friends. She thanks her parents, who are both former gourmet chefs, for introducing her to the world of culinary arts.
Head of Maintenance
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2022
Board Past President
Board Vice President