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Outdoors Registration for second annual Grandfather Mountain ‘Critter Crawl’ now under way

Runners begin the 2012 Critter Crawl in MacRae Meadows and make their way toward the Mountain's top parking lot. This year's 5K will run May 23 and proceeds benefit the eagle habitat renovation fund at Grandfather. Photo by Sharon GlatthornThis May, the second annual “Critter Crawl” kicks off at Grandfather Mountain. The 5K race begins in MacRae Meadows and ends at the top of Grandfather Mountain. All proceeds directly benefit upcoming renovations to the Grandfather Mountain eagle habitats.

existing eagle habitats are currently vacant after longtime resident and oldest animal in the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitats, Morely the golden eagle, passed away of natural causes on January 1.

For more than a year, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has been raising money for these renovations. The goal is to combine the two existing, open-topped eagle enclosures into one large covered habitat that will house two bald eagles.

A fully enclosed habitat will allow Grandfather Mountain to acquire partially- flighted eagles and help keep the raptors safe from wild animals that might try to invade the enclosure and steal the eagles’ food.

Morely’s passing as the last eagle at Grandfather, symbolizes a new era for the Mountain’s eagle habitats and his legacy will live on through the upcoming renovations.

The race will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. To accommodate runners and race spectators, the park will end ticket sales at 4 p.m. and close at 5 p.m.

Grandfather maintenance staff members began removing the old eagle habitat fencing in January. A fence company has been contracted and is onsite beginning construction on the new eagle habitat. Photo by Taylor AdamsOnline registration for the “Critter Crawl” is now under way with 500 spaces for runners available. The cost per participant is $35 and includes: a “Critter Crawl” t-shirt, one parking pass and a free Grandfather Mountain daypass to be used any time from May 24 to June 30, 2013. T-shirts will not be guaranteed for participants that register after May 9. Awards will be presented to the top three male and female competitors.

One parking pass is included in each race registration. Additional parking passes can also be acquired for race spectators during online registration or purchased with cash or check at packet pickup times. Extra parking passes cost $10 per vehicle.

Spectators will be able to park in designated parking lots on Grandfather Mountain and MacRae Meadows on a firstcome, first-serve basis. Shuttles will be available to transport spectators to the top from each parking area.

To register for the Critter Crawl or for more information, visit www.grandfather.com or call (800)468-7325.





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