Blue Ridge Parkway Plan Draws Comments
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 558 miles long stretching from Virginia through North Carolina. Two new plans on its future are just as long.
“I think the plan is very complex and consequently a little confusing so you know one of the reasons I came today is to try and understand,” says Liz Belcher.
The National Park Service held an open house Thursday (Nov. 10) at the Brambleton Center in Roanoke County. There are two plans for the parkway.
“I will be asking questions as I look over it,” says Gene Messick, “Once you put a plan in place, it kind of becomes the rule book that everybody goes back to. ”
“We think what people come to expect when they come visit the parkway has changed over time,” says Philip Francis, Parkway superintendent, “This plan has given us an opportunity to hear from the public.”
One proposal would stop overnight stays at Roanoke Mountain Campground.
“We only get about 20 people a week who camp at Roanoke’s campground,” says Francis.
Eventually, the Park Service wants to modernize all campgrounds.
“We need to add electrical hook-ups and showers because those are the two things that are missing on our campgrounds that people really seem to want,” says Francis.
What people also want is preservation. They want to make sure the Blue Ridge Parkway keeps its scenic views.
“There’s a lot of encroachment on parkway boundaries and that’s not in the plan at all,” says Belcher, “I think that if you’re talking about protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway you have to protect it form people building houses on it and cutting down your trees.”
Comments on the proposal can made online or by mail.