Great news! The Foundation is partnering with the National Park Service to make great enhancements at Graveyard Fields, including expansion of parking, construction of a convenience station with restrooms, trail improvements and interpretive signs. The project work will begin in 2013.
If you live in NC, show your support for the Blue Ridge Parkway by purchasing the Foundation's specialty license plate for your automobile or motorcycle.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Foundation is forever committed to preserving the past, enhancing the present, and safeguarding the future of America’s Favorite Journey®. They are a strong defender of the Parkway, funding needed projects that enhance and protect the natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities that make the Blue Ridge Parkway an American treasure.
Since 1997, the Foundation has provided over $3 million for projects and programs at the Parkway in the following areas:
Education and Outreach
- Parks as Classrooms benefits over 25,000 school children each year by bringing park rangers to the classroom and introducing a future generation of stewards to the Parkway.
- Kids in Parks links the health of our children to the health of our parks by getting children and families unplugged and outside, learning about nature and walking over 10,000 miles total on trails.
- Interpretive panels, educational materials and exhibits connect millions of Parkway visitors each year to the natural and cultural wonders of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Natural Resource Preservation and Protection
- Viewshed protection projects, administrative funding to conservancy groups for acquiring easements and educational materials ensure the preservation of the scenic overviews.
- Research projects result in better understanding and management of environmental resources including wildlife studies, habitat and exotic vegetation research and biological inventories.
Historic and Cultural Resource Protection
- Preservation and protection projects focus on iconic historical and cultural resources such as Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Camp Catawba and Blue Ridge Music Center.
- Collection and archiving of historical maps, oral histories, photos and planning documents ensures historic preservation of cultural heritage.
Visitor Experiences through Facilities and Safety
- Visitor facilities provide comfort and welcoming environments, including Waterrock Knob Visitor Center, Bass Lake Convenience Station and the Museum of North Carolina Minerals.
- Park staff are provided with emergency training, equipment and facilities enhancing visitor protection and safety including construction of the new state-of-the-art Communications Center.
- Visitors are provided with multiple access points and increased safety with projects including trail construction and maintenance at areas like Rough Ridge.
2013 Parkway Projects
For 2013 alone, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has approved over $740,000 in funding to the Blue Ridge Parkway for 2013 projects and programs including:
- Graveyard Fields Enhancement project. The Graveyard Fields project is a collaborative effort with the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to improve visitor use and stewardship of this highly trafficked area, and will expand the parking, construct a convenience station and improve the trails and interpretive signs. The Scenic Byways grant to fund this project has been approved, and the Foundation will be providing the matching funds required to complete the project.
- Completion of the Abbott Lake Trail Accessibility project. Funding will allow completion of an existing project to address accessibility through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and trail improvements. The trail around Abbott Lake was upgraded to be fully accessible last year, and this year a fishing and viewing platform will be built across the lake from the Peaks of Otter Lodge.
- Restoration of the Heart Pond at Bass Lake. This heart-shaped pond connects to Bass Lake on the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. The wall will be rebuilt to historical details, and the pond will be drained, dredged, repointed and restocked with trout as was historically done. The project was begun last year and will be completed this spring.
- Music Programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center. This year, the Foundation will be scheduling, financing and administering the music program at the Blue Ridge Music Center. This includes mid-day Mountain Music which is performed every day during the season, and the weekend concert series.
- Repairing the Waterwheel at Mabry Mill. The wheel will be disassembled, repaired at the Parkway’s historic preservation workshop and reinstalled.
- Construction of Stone Water Fountain Replacements. In 2012, the Foundation funded a project to design easily maintainable replacements for the historic stone water fountains found along the Parkway. This year, two of the new fountains will be constructed and installed.
- Replacing damaged and worn interpretive wayside panels. Sixteen of these will be replaced this year at locations all along the Parkway.
- Rehab at the Mount Pisgah Campground. Parkway staff will oversee volunteers conducting repair work on campsites designed to stop erosion and flooding by improving the drainage systems.
- Price Lake Trail Accessibility. Nearly one mile of the existing accessible trail around Price Lake will be restored to meet accessibility standards. Volunteers will assist in building a boardwalk across Laurel Creek, replacing existing planks and a substandard bridge.
Donate and learn more about the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, please visit their website.
Also see: NC Mountain Conservancy & Protection Groups | NC Art Book raises money for Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation