Ashe County, North Carolina

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Ashe County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 24,384. Its county seat is Jefferson.[1]



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 427 square miles (1,105.9 km2), of which 426 square miles (1,103.3 km2) is land and 1 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.15%) is water. Ashe County is located in extreme northwestern North Carolina. The county is bordered by two states: Virginia on the north; and Tennessee to the west. The county is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains region of North Carolina. Most of the county is located atop a rolling plateau that ranges from 2,500 feet (760 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. On the county's southeastern border the land drops abruptly nearly 2,000 feet (610 m) to the Foothills region of North Carolina. Numerous mountains and hills dot the plateau; among the highest is Mount Jefferson, which rises to 4,665 feet (1,422 m), and towers more than 1,600 feet (490 m) above the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson.

The county's main river is the New River, which is one of the oldest rivers in the world, and one of the few major rivers in the United States to flow north instead of south, east, or west. There are 34 recorded creeks and streams that flow into the New River in Ashe County. In 1998 the river was designated an "American Heritage River" by President Bill Clinton, and it is famed for its beautiful rural scenery, clear water, fly fishing, and kayaking and canoeing.

Ashe County generally is known for its mountain scenery, and the tourism industry is an important mainstay of the county's economy. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the county's southeastern border. Ashe County has historically consisted of rural farmland, with numerous cattle and poultry farms. However, cattle farming in recent decades has given way to the more profitable industry of raising Christmas trees. Many cattle farmers have switched to growing Christmas trees, and in 1997 and 2007, an Ashe County Christmas tree was selected as the official White House Christmas Tree by the National Christmas Tree Association. The tree was put on display in the Blue Room (White House).

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