Blue Ridge Parkway news and events

This is my favorite road in the world.

Dearest ScienceBlogs readers,
You Are Invited to Join the Executive Director and His Wife …

You are invited to join Houck Medford, executive director of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and his wife “K.B.” in Floyd County, Virginia, this weekend … July 6,7, and 8.  They extend a personal invitation to all who wish to join them.  Activity locations are:

Friday evening, July 6:  Floyd General Store, Friday Night Jamboree – 6:30 pm, downtown Floyd

Saturday morning, July 7: Pancake Breakfast at Mabry Mill Restaurant, 8:30 am, Milepost 176.2

Saturday morning, July 7: Hike into Rock Castle Gorge, led by Ranger Mike Ryan, meeting at Rocky Knob Cabins at 9:30, hike completes around 12:30

Saturday afternoon, July 7: One actor play, They Call Me Aunt Orlene, beginning at 2:00 pm at the Puckett Cabin (milepost 190) on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Bring folding chairs or blanket.

Sunday morning, July 8: Hike to Buffalo Mountain (easy to moderate), led by Jack Price, meeting at 8:30 at the Rocky Knob Visitor Center, Milepost 169

All weekend: The Foundation will exhibit at the Wine Down Music Trail Festival, a celebration of fine wine, music, food and mountain crafts on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the Villa Appalaccia and Chateau Morrisette Wineries!

Specialty Plate Takes to Two Wheels

 motorcycle tag North Carolina senators recently considered whether to approve a new specialty license plate for motorcycles.  The Blue Ridge Parkway specialty license plate would be the first specialty plate issued for motorcycles and would benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in the same way that the current vehicle license plate has since 2004.  More than 17,000
automobile drivers have the specialty license plate on their vehicles now. However, the Blue Ridge Parkway is considered by many motorcyclists to be a premiere destination for motrocycle touring and the Foundation believes that the new tag would help promote stewardship of the Blue Ridge Parkway among its two-wheeled visitors.  Watch for updates on the Foundation’s website.

Share the Journey Special Collection Looks Ahead
2008 Calendar The new 2008 Blue Ridge Parkway 14 Month Engagement Calendar is the only calendar officially licensed by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

Order now

Graveyard Fields Receives New Tread on Life
Graveyard Fields
Above: Marshall Lovedahl and Randy Carpenter of the
Balsam Gap maintenance office examine progress on
the staircase Copyright Houck Medford/Blue Ridge Parkway Fdn.
Graveyard Fields (Milepost 419), the second most popular location on the Blue Ridge Parkway, second to Mabry Mill in Virginia is Haywood County’s own jumping-off point to the Shining Rock Wilderness Area, the soothing waters of Yellowstone Prong (the headwaters of the Pigeon River), and a high-altitude vegetative environment
reminiscent of “above tree line environs” of the Rocky Mountains.

High visitation levels have taken its toll on the delicate landscape. In an effort to direct where feet trod, the US Forest Service who owns and manages the land away from the Parkway’s 800 foot wide boundary, and the National Park Service as a partner have completed several thousand feet of boardwalk and stair cases in the last 10 years. The first initiative came in 1996 when the Pigeon River Fund awarded a grant to the National Park Service to build a staircase to the “Lower Falls”, the most favorite site location.

Erosion was a huge problem and the grant guidelines to control run-off were a perfect fit for the project. Earnest volunteers from Waynesville and neighboring communities completed the project in a series of six weekends.

Last year, the US Forest Service completed nearly a 1000 feet of boardwalk to direct the traffic away from fragile creek banks which were caving due to increasing foot traffic and a frequently swollen creek.

The last staircase is now being completed, thanks to the National Park Service, which will give a more comfortable conveyance from the end of the approach asphalt path to the creek bridge itself.

Convenience of access, however, increases visitor demand and to examine the issue and to propose solutions, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, National Park Service, and US Forest Service with the pro bono assistance of LandDesign, a land planning firm in Asheville, will complete this summer an evaluation of issues and resources to make additional recommendations to insure the quality of the visitor experience.

Competitors Climb Highest Parkway Peak in the 32nd Assault on Mount Mitchell

Copyright Volunteer/Bethel United Methodist Church

For the 32nd year, riders rode to the top of Mount Mitchell in the national cycling event, Assault on Mount Mitchell, on Monday, June 11, 2007. Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet) on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 355.4) is the highest point east of the Mississippi River.
Watch the top 20 competitors and highlights from the Assault on Mt. Mitchell here.

Rocky Knob Project Moves Forward
Three years ago Congressman Rick Boucher (9th District- VA) formed the Rocky Knob Advisory Committee (RKAC) to advise him on appropriate development in the vicinity of Rocky Knob (Milepost 169) that would assist in promoting regional tourism efforts and economic growth. The Congress recently approved and provided over $1 million to conduct feasibility studies and support initial planning.

Now Virginia has approved the Articles of Incorporation establishing the Blue Ridge Heritage, Inc. (BRHI) as a non-profit that evolved from the all-volunteer RKAC which includes approximately fifty residents of Floyd and Patrick counties.

As a 501-c-3 organization, BRHI will function as the operating arm of the RKAC to develop recommendations for presentation to Boucher. Following approval and funding of these recommendations, BRHI will oversee their implementation and operation. The Board is advised by Rebecca Coleman from Congressman Boucher’s office and by Gary Johnson and Mindy DeCesar representing the National Park Service and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Congress is considering tax incentives for voluntary land conservation
With 350 miles of trails, 900 scenic vistas, and more than 4,500 adjacent private property owners, the Blue Ridge Parkway is impacted greatly by decisions about the use of the pastures, woodlands and streams that are part of its landscape.

Congressman Robert Goodlatte [6th District – VA] has co-sponsored HR 1576 which would make permanent the current conservation tax incentives for landowners, which are set to expire Dec. 31, 2007. Conservation easements are generally on properties of over 100 acres whose protection represents a value to the community by protecting natural resources, scenic views, wildlife habitat, historic resources or agricultural lands. These incentives have been a boon for conservation in Virginia and across the country.  

HR 1576 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee whose members include Congressman Eric Cantor [7th District – VA], another of the 70 co-sponsors of the legislation.

A parallel bill was introduced in the Senate earlier this year S.469, and both Virginia Senator John Warner and North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole have signed on as co-sponsors of that legislation.  That bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. 

Find out what you can say to your legislators to encourage their support.
Citizens may get a vote on land and water conservation funding

In North Carolina, state legislators will vote in the next week or two to put increased funding for Land and Water Conservation on the next state ballot. The amount of the increase is $1 billion over 5 years, from $805 million to $1.8 billion. The bill that our legislators will vote on is to put increased funding for land and water conservation on the next ballot so that citizens can vote on it.

A wide range of over 240 organizations supports increased funding for Land and Water Conservation including The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Club and Friends of the MST.
Land for Tomorrow is helping North Carolina citizens get their chance to vote on increasing funding to protect the state’s natural treasures.

Legislators depend on citizen input and they count the letters and emails that they receive. Phone calls are good also. Give examples from your state that illustrate your points.
**Take the time to thank the representatives and senators who are taking action on behalf of land and water conservation;
**Tell them that voluntary private land conservation is an important part of preserving America’s natural heritage for future generations;
**Tell them that protecting critical lands provides clean drinking water, clean air, thriving farms and forests, and preservation of your state’s natural and cultural heritage; and
**Tell them that investing in public lands provides places to hunt, fish and watch wildlife, places to hike and walk and places to enjoy the natural beauty of your state.

Please send an email, write a paper letter or call your legislators now.

Save the Date

Artisan Dana Abbe to Appear  at Crabtree Meadows July 7 and 21

Explore the craft and jewelry world of this regional craftswoman at the Crabtree Meadows Visitor Center and Gift Shop – all day, both days!

Blue Ridge Music Center Summer Concert Series, Saturday evenings throughout the summer

The Blue Ridge Music Center at will continue its summer concert series with A Salute To Galax Musicians, Past and Present on Saturday, June 9. Th
is program will honor the rich musical heritage of Galax with performances by present day musicians and will offer a glimpse of some of the great players of the past.

“They Call Me Aunt Orlene” at the Puckett Cabin, MP 190 on Saturday July 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Southwest Virginia midwife Orlene Puckett has become a local legend. Living to over 100 years old, she is known for delivering over 1000 babies in the late 1800’s and early 1900s. However, none of the 24 children she bore herself ever lived for more than a few months. Actress Phyllis Stump will perform this one-woman show about Puckett’s life at the site of the midwife’s cabin. This is the fourth season for this popular presentation. For more information call the Rocky Knob Visitor Center at 540-745-9662.

“Scenic Overlook” at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery, in Asheville between August 30 and October 27

The group exhibition features works by more than 25 regional artists, paying homage to, inspired by and helping to protect the scenery and wildlife along the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469 miles in Virginia and North Carolina.  Displayed in geographical sequence, the exhibition includes paintings, photography, art quilts, and fine craft objects in glass, clay and wood.

“Visitors will be able to travel the Parkway through the artists’ eyes, milepost by milepost, on two of the gallery’s three floors,” said Jordan Ahlers, Blue Spiral 1 Gallery Director. Scenic Overlook: Blue Ridge Parkway is the third exhibition of its kind at Blue Spiral 1 (previous exhibitions were in 2001 and 2004). Ten percent of all exhibition sales will be donated to help protect land along the Parkway.

For more things to do on the Blue Ridge Parkway, please visit the Blue Ridge Parkway Guide.

Forward this newsletter    

Read the Latest News on our web site; you can read headlines, access the NPS Daily Report or download thelatest Scenic, the Journal of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

Contact a Foundation staff member if you have any questions about the Parkway, or if you are looking for a speaker for your group or gathering. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is eager to share its progress and vision with any audience.

Thanks for your interest!

6 thoughts on “Blue Ridge Parkway news and events”

  1. SciBlogs doesn’t like the formatting of that news letter. I’m on Firefox fyi.
    My family has a couple houses near different spots on the BRP in North Carolina and my parents both have the specialty plates for their cars. As a matter of fact I’m heading up there next weekend and will probably head out on the parkway to take some photos.
    One of my favorite spots on earth as well.

  2. BDC — I think I got it fixed up.
    Once I ran/hiked the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Roanoke — 240 miles. Took me four days. I slept in campgrounds, mostly during the day so I could travel in the cool of the night. There was a full moon my first night, when I passed Mount Mitchell, enshrouded in fog at the dead ebb of 2:30 a.m. It was an awesome, eerie sight, as was the Linn Cove Viaduct up the road. I listened to a lot of fundie radio programming out there as there wasn’t much else my MP3 player could pick up. That was a good time.

  3. Yeah looks better now.
    Yeah we have an old cabin that my Grandfather grew up in that’s basically in the Linville Gorge and then my parents live almost right where the BRP crosses from NC to VA so you crossed over both areas. I’m looking forward to getting up there. Probably hit Doughton Park and Stone mountain.

    I listened to a lot of fundie radio programming out there

    Yeah it’s all over the place up there.

  4. I stopped in the town of Sparta, N.C. at a convenience store (which has to be near your parents’ place) and consumed two large synthetic cheeseburgers slathered in mayonnaise within about two minutes. Rarely have I ever been that hungry. I could have eaten mayo like pudding that night. I let a woman filled to the brim with Jesus drivinga bright yellow VW bug give me a ride for about a half-mile because she had just come from church and was insisting the LORD had told her someone would need her help that night, and that someone turned out to be a guy with a backpack changing his socks on the side of the road. I didn’t need the lift but acquiesced so that she’d pipe down, which she didn’t. She blared on and on about Jesus Christ for the whole endless five minutes. Man was she cooked to the gills. I wish I could have filmed her. Nice woman, looked like the poltergeist-buster in the eponymous movie, about 3′ 7″ tall and 200 pounds.
    I slept in a campsite near Cumberland Gap that night, and the next morning was in Galax, Va. at the recreational orchard of a retired postal worker who insisted I take a sack full of fresh peaches with me. Later I was chased up the Parkway by an aging homosexer with a ponytail. I sould really dig up my old writings about this journey if I still have them.

  5. This is my favorite road in the world.

    Only because you haven’t driven the Natchez Trace Parkway.

  6. stopped in the town of Sparta, N.C. at a convenience store (which has to be near your parents’ place)

    yeah about 15 mins from them.

    Later I was chased up the Parkway by an aging homosexer with a ponytail.

    Those damn homosexers

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