Temperatures in North Carolina, also known as the Old North State, vary depending on the different altitudes. Many areas in the state experience humid subtropical climates but the western mountainous regions experience highland ones.
In essence, the average temperatures reduce as you move toward the mountainous areas.
Whereas the coastal region in North Carolina barely experiences snow, the mountain region experiences heavy snow, particularly during winter. Winter usually runs between December and February, but it begins snowing in November in certain mountainous areas.
It is not, therefore, surprising that the snowiest place in the state lies in the mountain region.
Beech Mountain is the most elevated region in North Carolina, one of the coldest, and receives the most snow in North Carolina.
Let’s learn more about this snowy region of North Carolina.
History of Beech Mountain
Today Beech Mountain is modern with contemporary facilities. However, the region was once a rugged wilderness barely occupied by any human community.
The Cherokee Native Americans were the first to make the Beech Mountain region their home in modern history. The Cherokee labeled the area “Klonteska,” which roughly translates to the pheasant, since it was a popular hunting ground for many animals, such as elk, deer, and bears, that roamed freely.
Archeologists have found pottery shards and arrowheads along the banks of Beech Mountain rivers, demonstrating the hunting culture of the people who resided in the area.
Besides hunting, Beech Mountain also has a rich trading history, given that the famous Great Trading Path passed through the area. The path connected Georgia to Virginia and crossed the Carolinas. The path was an animal trail for the Indians, but the white settlers also used it to move around.
Native Americans placed several markers around the path to help visitors locate different regions around the Elk River and Watauga. Indians tied young saplings as markets to indicate the directions to their camps so other Indians could locate them. Evidence of these old-knotted tree markers exists today.
Presently, White people are the majority of the area’s population. Samuel Bright was the first White settler in Beech mountain, and he moved in around 1774. Bright helped the other pioneer settlers to move into the Watauga settlements. These White settlers predominantly moved in from the Catawba and Yadkin Valleys in the region, an ancient Native American trail that they labeled as Bright’s Trace.
Some pioneer families, such as those of Samuel Hix and James Holtsclaw, settled into the Watauga River area without Bright’s assistance. Despite living within 40 miles of each other, these families and the Brights did not know about each other’s existence. Soon after these pioneer families settled, loggers, hunters, and moonshiners, among other settler groups, migrated to Beech Mountain.
Although many families moved into the region over the years, it was not until the 1960s that most of the area’s modern developments emerged.
Local businessmen called Grover and Harry Robbins collaborated with the Carolina Caribbean Corporation in the mid-1960s to buy land on the high mountain areas of Beech Mountain and transform it into several facilities. They used seven square miles of land to create a ski resort, golf course, Land of Oz theme park, tennis courts, sewer, road, and water facilities.
By 1970, the area’s residents formed the Beech Mountain Property Owners Association to maintain the area’s shared facilities, such as recreation areas and roads. In 1974, the association took up the responsibilities left behind by the Carolina Caribbean Association, which filed for bankruptcy.
The Beech Mountain Utility System, the association’s subsidiary, purchased the sewer and water systems from the courts during the late 1970s. Next, the organization set up the Sanitary District, which bought the sewer and water systems from the homeowners’ association.
The increase in infrastructure development eventually resulted in North Carolina’s General Assembly incorporating Beech Mountain as a town in May 1981. The elevation of the region’s status triggered a reorganization of the management of shared facilities.
For instance, the homeowners’ association now became the Beech Mountain Club and increased its jurisdiction to manage the region’s recreational facilities and golf courses. The Costin Family purchased the Ski Beech and renamed it Beech Mountain Resort in 1986.
The Leidy Family purchased the Land of Oz and publicized it to attract international crowds. The facility was earlier shut down before the family bought it in 1986.
Beech Mountain town continues to thrive and expand and presently hosts more than 50 businesses that provide significant employment to the town residents.
Snowfall in Beech Mountain
Beech Mountain is elevated at 5,506 feet above sea level and receives 50 inches of snowfall each winter season.
Whereas snowfall in most of North Carolina begins in December, it starts falling in Beech Mountain in November. Beech Mountain records an average snowfall of 0.5 inches in November. The largest snowfall in November is two inches.
Beech Mountain town records an average of seven inches of snowfall in December. The biggest snowfall in December is 24 inches. The average base depth in the same month is 19 inches, while the maximum base depth is 42 inches.
It snows for about six days in January, the coldest month in Beech Mountain town and North Carolina in general. The average snowfall in the month is 19 inches, and the maximum base depth is 53 inches. The average snow base depth in the month is 30 inches, and the highest snowfall is 15 inches.
The region experienced the highest average snowfall in February. It snows for five days in February, and the average snowfall in the month is 14 inches. The biggest snowfall in the month is 10 inches, the average base depth is 36 inches, and the maximum base depth is 56 inches.
It snows for about two days in March in Beech Mountain town. The average snowfall in the month is five inches, and the biggest snowfall is five inches. The average base depth in March is 28 inches.
Wildlife in Beech Mountain Town, NC
Nature lovers living or visiting the Beech Mountain area have plenty of animals to see. The area’s nature trails span approximately 30 miles. You can spot many unique plants and animals while walking along these trails.
You could also spot more than 127 species of birds ranging from the native Carolina junco to the red-tailed hawks.
The Demographics of Beech Mountain Town
Beech Mountain town had a population of 766 people as of 2020. The median age of the people in the town is 60.6. About 99.1% of the population in the city are citizens, and 3.66% of its citizens (or 28 people) were born outside the US. This number is less than the US average of 13.5%. In 2019, the percentage of foreigners in the town was 5.54%, meaning that the population of foreigners is declining.
The three largest ethnic groups residing in the country are Whites, non-Hispanic (72%), Asians (9%), and mixed-race individuals (9%). Only about nine people living in Beech Mountain are Hispanics, representing 1.17% of the population. Eight American Indians (1.04%) and three African Americans (0.39%) lived in the town in 2020.
The Economy of Beech Mountain
The Beech Mountain economy grew by 18.8% between 2019 and 2020 and increased the number of people it employs from 245 to 291.
The most common occupation by people residing in Beech Mountain involves management which employs 54 people (or 18.6%), and sales operations, which employs 38 people (13.1%).
Financial and business operations employ 25 people (8.59%), and administrative support and office operations employ 25 people (8.59%).
The educational attainment for the majority of the working population is a high school diploma (18.1%). Those with a bachelor’s degree are 15.4%, while those with college credit are 13.4%. The proportion of the workforce with an associate’s degree is 7.53%, a master’s degree 5.98%, and those who have attended less than one year in college 5.49%.
Housing and Living in Beech Mountain
The median value of a property in Beech Mountain in 2020 was $283,900, 1.24 times higher than the US national average value. In addition, the median property value in 2020 was 10.1% higher than the 2019 value of $257,800.
About 90.9% of the residents in Beech Mountain reside in their own homes, which is significantly higher than the 64.4% national average. The proportion of homeowners living in their homes rose slightly from the 90.5% recorded in 2019. The percentage of homeowners with a mortgage was 73.8% in 2020.
The workers in Beech Mountain commute for an average of 26.4 minutes to work. This commute time is similar to the US national average of 26. 9 minutes. About 6.41% of the workforce commute more than 90 minutes to their workplaces.
Every household has approximately two cars, which is similar to the national average. About 70% of the working population drive alone to their workplaces, while 5.65% carpooled. About 17.3% of the workforce do not commute because they work from home.
Each household in Beech Mountain makes a median income of $72,917 per annum. The area had approximately 350 households in 2020. The people living in Census Tract 9210 make a median income of $72,411, the highest in Beach Mountain.
Poverty Rates in Beech Mountain
About 7.57% of the population (58 out of 766) in Beech Mountain live below the poverty line. This percentage is lower than the national average, which stands at 12.8%. The highest section of the Beech Mountain population residing in the area is females aged between 35 and 44, followed by females between 45 and 54, and thirdly, females aged between 16 and 17.
The racial or ethnic groups most affected by poverty are Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks.
A significant proportion of the Beech Mountain population (96.1%) has health insurance. Of these, 32.6% are covered by Medicare, 28.9% have employee plans, 15.3% are in Medicaid, 18.3% are non-group insurance plans, and 0.0916% have military or VA health insurance plans.
The per-capita spending on personal healthcare was approximately $7,264 per annum, an increase of 3.375% from the $7,027 recorded in 2013.
Physicians offering primary care services attend to an average of 1,332 persons per annum.
The snowiest place in North Carolina is Beech Mountain, which receives an average of 50 inches of snow from November to March. January is the coldest month; it gets an average of 19 inches of snow.
Beech Mountain town has a rich history that traces back to when Cherokee Indians were the only people on the land. The area has since grown and, in 2020, had a population of 776. The population of Beech Mountain predominantly comprises Whites, but other ethnic communities also live in the area. As a result, visitors can see a diverse variety of plants and animals.
Check out a few of our other snow-related articles below!
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- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beech_Mountain,_North_Carolina
- Data USA, Available here: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/beech-mountain-nc
- Census Reporter, Available here: https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US3704510-beech-mountain-nc/