Attended the Year of the Park 2008 kick-off celebration at Pack Place/Diana Wortham Theater on Tuesday evening. (I’m a member of the YOP committee, actually.)

We’ve been working for more than a year to create a map featuring every park, green space, and blade of grass in Asheville and Buncombe County. The map was unveiled during the reception–it’s the kind of fold-up piece that you can always have handy in your car or pocket or backpack. On one side there’s an actual map showing all locations; on the other, each park/green space is listed by name and given a brief description. Maps will be available at places like the Visitor’s Center, Arboretum, and other usual suspects.

Local members of Blue Ridge Food Ventures (AB-Tech/Enka Campus; visit provided the reception, which offered such interesting delicacies as bamboo pickles and Mayan truffles (HOT chocolates, so to speak). Speakers and sponsors gave brief comments about Year of the Park and the importance of parks and we previewed the new PSA created by American Green ( for Year of the Park. (Look/listen for its creepy/catchy “we live in a box” opening that gives way to cheerful park scenes.)

The evening’s entertainment culminated in a viewing of the 1990 film “Frederick Law Olmsted and the Public Park in America”, starring David Strathairn. Excellent film! (FYI: the extensive landscaping for Asheville’s own Biltmore Estate was Olmsted’s last professional project, and considered by many experts to be the finest example of Olmsted’s landscape architecture genius.)

So…what do bamboo pickles, public parks, and Olmsted have in common? Must be Asheville! Hope you’ll step out of whatever box you’ve stepped in, pick up a copy of the new map, and “go parking”.  

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