The Eclipse at Gorges

August 21, 2017

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Volunteering Opportunities at The Eclipse at Gorges

The Total Solar Eclipse at Gorges State Park

Overview

The August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, frequently billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, will travel a path of totality over the entire U.S. for the first time in 99 years. Everyone in the lower 48 states will get to see at least a partial eclipse but only those in the path of totality will experience the true total solar eclipse. Gorges State Park (GSP) in Sapphire, NC, is the only North Carolina state park in the path of totality.

The Friends of Gorges State Park is sponsoring, with GSP hosting, 3 days of FREE family-friendly, fun activities leading up to the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21. The Park offers prime viewing spots and we’ll make sure to make the event truly memorable. We will have live music, food trucks, ranger-led nature hikes, science discussions and demonstrations, face painting and more!

This event has been designated as an official 2017 Carolinas Solar Eclipse Party location through a joint effort between North and South Carolina, coordinated by the Morehead Planetarium and funded by NC Space Grant and SC Space. For more on this, visit http://moreheadplanetarium.org/eclipse.

BREAKING NEWS: It’s always good to see national recognition of our little corner of the world. CNN Travel recently posted a story indicating their “favorite spots to view this unique and unforgettable event.” We are very pleased to see The Eclipse at Gorges included on this eclectic list: CNN’s ‘Where to see the solar eclipse.’

Day 1: Saturday, August 19

national geographic gorges state parkWe are calling this our Nature Day, as state rangers and naturalists will direct hikes from the Visitors Center to 2 or 3 specific destinations in the Park, discussing flora, fauna, and geology with the participants. GSP lies in the broader, regional area called Jocassee Gorges, which National Geographic called in 2013 one of the 50 of the World’s Last GREAT Places and is characterized by plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States. With an elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles – in conjunction with rainfall in excess of 90 inches per year that creates a temperate rain forest – GSP is home to 26 named waterfalls and cascades.

Day 2: Sunday, August 20

Sunday is our Fun Day – we will conduct a family-oriented Eclipse Party with a strong emphasis on the history of eclipses in the world and the actual science behind eclipses in general. To augment the educational aspect on this day, we will be scheduling several family-friendly tents and exhibits. While final details are still to be finalized, we have commitments for exhibits such as face painting, pottery making, local musicians, and conservation groups. Our plan is to highlight local artists and their crafts, as well as commercial enterprises which offer goods and services attuned to the out-of-doors.

10:00 – 12:00 : Sharon Becker, Regional Director of Interpretation and Education Programming for N.C. State Parks

 

Sharon will be giving us a hands on educational experience about the history of eclipses in the world and the actual science behind eclipses in general.

1:00 – 4:00Curtis-Wright Falconry (1:00, 2:00, 3:00 shows)

Join us in the Visitors Center on the hour to see this wonderful up close and personal “hands on” experience with a bird of prey. Guests will accompany a licensed falconer and learn about the ancient sport of falconry.

 

Land of Waterfalls Dulcimer Players

Blue Ridge Bakery Boys

Tina Eno Music

 

Let’s Face It – Face painting services for local parties, events, festivals or get-togethers in the Brevard/Transylvania County area in North Carolina.

Curtis-Wright Falconry – This is an up close and personal “hands on” experience with a bird of prey. Guests will accompany a licensed falconer and learn about the ancient sport of falconry.

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation – Offering educational activities about the Total Solar Eclipse.

Paintings by Sharyn – Sharyn paints everything about this area that she loves, that includes mountains, trees, old chairs, white squirrels, barns, houses and anything else that catches my eye.

Boutique of Blue Ridge – Eclectic artisan jewelry

Friends of Gorges State Parks – Developing, encouraging and promoting public awareness of Gorges State Park of North Carolina

Crown of Carolina Video – A musical and visual exploration of the beauty offered by nature in the Southern Appalachian region.

Bear Tracks – Bear Tracks Travel Center, located in Lake Toxaway, NC, is the destination for all of your travel, shopping and adventure needs.

Mud Dabbers – Offering one of the largest selections of locally produced pottery in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

North Carolinas Friends of State Parks – Creating and maintaining a membership program focused on supporting NC state parks.

Rosman High School Seniors – Offering shirts, snow cones and cotton candy to raise money for their 2017 – 2018 senior trip.

Wooden Ornaments – Creating wooden ornaments featured in the Gorges State Park Visitor’s Center.

Foothills Trails – Showcasing the beauty and diversity of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

T.C. Webb – Thomas C. Webb is an award-winning film and video creator who has dedicated his life to waking up at 3am, enduring -30° temperatures and climbing to spine-tingling heights to capture the perfect shot.

Day 3: Monday, August 21 – Eclipse Day

The main event begins with an unprecedented park opening at 5 AM. Who knows how many visitors we might have that day, as the total is subject to variables such as weather conditions, traffic patterns, capacity of local accommodations, and the whims of human beings. With that in mind, however, one source predicts that our area could receive visitors numbering 13,300 and 53,300 (see https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/statistics/ for this analysis and a state-by-state prediction). We have plans in place to welcome up to 5,000 visitors who will have a safe and enjoyable time viewing 2 minutes, 17 seconds of total solar eclipse.

The State’s Division of Parks & Recreation will augment the normal GSP personnel that day with 10 additional staff, mostly to handle parking and crowd control. Information packets and certified solar eclipse glasses will be provided to each entering vehicle. We will have live music, food trucks and educational activities to help pass the time. We are planning to offer live video streaming in at least 2 locations to take advantage of above-cloud video provided by NASA and other entities. Our emphasis that day will be how safely to view the solar eclipse starting at 1:09 PM and concluding at 4:01 PM.

Prime Viewing Reminders:

  • Arrive early! Establish your viewing site before 11am.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen, shade tents, umbrellas, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets!
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions.
  • Live music and food trucks on site from 10am to 4pm.
  • Plan to spend the entire day at the Park!

Eclipse Glasses*:

  • Safety is your and our #1 concern. Do not look at the partial eclipse without protective glasses.
  • Starting in July, kids 14 years and younger may earn the title of Chief Family Safety Officer by completing an eclipse themed activity at the Visitors Center. This title earns the officer their very own pair of eclipse glasses to prepare for the big event.
  • Eclipse glasses will be provided upon entry to the park along with an informative brochure on Monday, August 21.

*Eclipse Glasses are provided by funds from North Carolina Friends of State Parks. We appreciate their critical contribution to this event!

1:07 PMEclipse Starts (duration 2 hrs 53 min 54 sec)*

 2:36 PMTotality Begins (duration 2 min 17 sec)

2:37 PMMaximum Eclipse

2:38 PM : Totality Ends

4:01 PM : Eclipse Ends

STAY SAFE!  – DO NOT LOOK AT THE PARTIAL ECLIPSE WITHOUT PROTECTIVE GLASSES

*Eclipse Viewing Map

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM : The Transylvania County Library will hold several story time sessions at the Visitor’s Center.

The following bands will rotate and play at both the Visitor’s Center and BearWallow Picnic Area (map):

Quarter House Band

Blue Ridge Bakery Boys

Tina Eno Music

North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation – Offering educational activities about the Total Solar Eclipse.

Friends of Gorges State Park – Developing, encouraging and promoting public awareness of Gorges State Park of North Carolina

Transylvania County Library – Reading stories for the young people likely awaiting their first solar eclipse experience

 

T.C. Webb – Thomas C. Webb is an award-winning film and video creator who has dedicated his life to waking up at 3am, enduring -30° temperatures and climbing to spine-tingling heights to capture the perfect shot.

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