Now even more visitors can enjoy the serene shoreline and peak views at Abbott Lake, milepost 86, thanks to a repaving project that created the first ADA trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The work completes one of five Centennial Challenge Projects funded by Congress and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial Anniversary.
The one-mile loop wraps around the lake, offering views of Sharp Top and Flat Top mountains and Harkening Hill. Visitors can access the trail from the Peaks of Otter Lodge or Recreation Area. The project piggybacks on trail revamps and construction of a fishing pier funded by the Foundation in 2014.
“It makes me happy to think about all the folks that will be able to enjoy this experience,” said Dave Foster, facility manager with the National Park Service.
In 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th year. In preparation for the anniversary, Congress designated $10 million toward a competitive bidding process called the Centennial Challenge to make improvements in National Parks across the country. To qualify for this support, parks were required to identify a partner organization prepared to match any allocated funds. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation agreed to meet the challenge, and is raising funds to provide $357,370. The remaining projects include repairs at Historic Polly Woods Ordinary (milepost 86), restoration of historic structures at Johnson Farm (milepost 86), new amenities and repaved walkways at Price Park Campground and Picnic Area (milepost 297), and repairs and improvements at Mount Pisgah Amphitheater (milepost 408).