The Blue Ridge Mountain Province forms the shape of an enormous tear drop across four states. The northern end of these mountains are a mere 12-15 miles wide, and grow to more than a 70 mile breadth across the southern end.
The mountains rise gently from the far reaches of the of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, flowing southwest to form the southern portion of the Eastern Continental Divide. With the grace of an eagle's flight, the mountains ascend towards Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, to an unprecedented eastern height of 6,684 feet. The mountains continue to expand across North Carolina, to the crowning mass, grand daddy of them all, the Great Smoky Mountains.
The Province Crosses the broad back of the Smokies, descending down into Tennessee. Continuing southwest and widening as they roll through western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia, the mountains of the Blue Ridge journey on. The Blue Ridge Mountains come to a dramatic halt, dropping off sharply into southeastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. They yield their wealth at the "mouth of gold" in Dahlonega, Georgia.
Rising in great rows of emerald green and sapphire blue, the mountains form grand peaks, each resembling a mound of settling sands found in the bottom of an hourglass, they bow graciously, in witness to the testimony of time.
Mountain summits, lush valleys, ragging white waters, pristine lakes, hidden waterfalls, wildflowers, hard wood forests, and wildlife are the essence of the Blue Ridge Province. These natural wonders have a majestic appeal, captivating the mind with their presence.
In colonial times, pioneers traversed these formidable walls, pressuring a race of Native Americans in an effort to dominate the land. The final removal of the Cherokee people, by force, came in the 1830's. Fortunately, a band of Cherokee escaped into the far recesses of the Smoky Mountain region. As a result, the mountains are still rich in Native American heritage.
These mountains changed from a Native American culture to a Pioneer culture, becoming populated by the descendants of Northern Europeans, especially the Scots, thus the name the Highlands. The Pioneers brought with them old world culture and traditions, that melded into a mountain culture, unique to this Appalachian Mountain region.
This region remained isolated until the early to mid 1900's. Progress began, opening what was considered an impenetrable land. Electricity, paved roads and telephone lines led the way to computers, fax machines, and the internet, offering a new opportunity and way of life to those who dare to take the challenge.
In the later part of the 20th century, a new influx of people have migrated into this region. Tourism awakened the outer world with tales of the beauty and wonders. For nearly two hundred years, the mountain culture has held dominance over this region, and unfortunately this way of life is disappearing. People from across the country and around the world are reclaiming these mountains at a rate never seen before. Today we see a new breed of visitors who have decided to stay, retirees, families escaping the cities and entrepreneurs ready to service the growing communities.
The mountains are changing and that's sad, only remnants are being held by the efforts of those who have an affection for its past. Change is inevitable, nothing can remain the same forever. History teaches us that time has changed the courses of our rivers as well as the way these mountains look. The Native Americans have shown us that a culture can be all lost within a generation.
Mankind has a responsibility to preserve the past, especially our fragile resources. This is being done through education and the maintaining of great tracks of land through the forestry and national park services. These highlands are being preserved for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of our children and their children. The only way to guarantee a no change policy, is to ask every human being to leave the mountains, and then close the door. This concept is unrealistic and denies us our rightful freedom, America belongs to its people.
Preserving the past, preserving the moment and preserving the future is the reason the Blue Ridge Highlander came into being. Geologist believe these mountains are the oldest mountains in the world, making them of great interest to all. The heritage of these mountains are a precious commodity, the history must be cultivated, its beauty must be preserved and hand down to future generations.
Why are the Mountains Blue? The scientific reason the mountains appear blue is a chemical compound released naturally by pine trees that causes a hazy condition that makes the Blue Ridge Mountains appear "blue" and the "Smoky Mountains look "smoky".