This 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.  All proceeds directly benefit upcoming renovations to the Grandfather Mountain eagle habitats.

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

For over 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.

Online registration for the “Critter Crawl” begins March 1 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 day-pass 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 and MacRae Meadows on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Shuttles will be available to transport spectators to the top from each parking area.

To register for the Critter Crawl, please visit beginning March 1.  For more information, visit or call 800-468-7325.

Click HERE to register for the 2013 Critter Crawl.  Or download the paper entry form HERE.  (Registration begins at 12:01 a.m. March 1).