A Guide to the Government Shutdown on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo by Vicki Dameron

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Area closed sign at Asheville Visitor Center Area closed sign at Asheville Visitor Center
January 9, 2019

Update (January 25, 2019): The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is paying for National Park Service staff members to reopen the Visitor Center in Asheville at milepost 384 on the Parkway for three weekends. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, January 26-27, and Friday through Sunday, February 1-3 and February 8-10. We are also requesting donations and recruiting volunteers to assist with the recovery work that will be required after the partial government shutdown ends. Learn more

Why are some sections of the road closed and others open?

Before the shutdown was announced, several sections of the Parkway were already closed due to poor road conditions created by a storm that took down many trees. Work to reopen these areas stopped when government employees were furloughed. Because staff is reduced to positions deemed critical, the Real Time Road Closure Map for the Parkway is not being updated.

Can I walk on the closed sections of the Parkway?

Yes. You can use the Parkway like a greenway for walking, cycling, and cross-country skiing.

Which National Park Service staff members are active?

Employees essential to operations and remain on the job, including Law Enforcement rangers

How long will it last?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer this question. The Department of the Interior approved using past admissions fees collected to restore services, such as trash removal, at some of the 418 national park units. Learn more

What can I expect during my visit?

In addition to road closures, facilities are closed, including visitor centers and restrooms. The Folk Art Center at milepost 382 near Asheville, North Carolina, and Peaks of Otter Lodge at milepost 81 in Virginia remain open.

Trails remain open, but you may encounter downed trees or other hazards. You may also walk on sections of the road that are closed to traffic. Trail safety information

Campgrounds officially closed for the season in October.

How can I help?

You can make it much easier for rangers to get the park up and running when they return by taking care of the Parkway during this time. Plan your trip so you can leave no trace in the park. If you pack it in, please pack it out, including toilet paper, food wrappers, etc.

You can also make sure everyone can continue to enjoy the park by following some simple rules.

  • Keep dogs on a leash at all times. It may be a great time to explore the road and trails, but unpleasant animal encounters can spoil the fun and end in injuries to people and pets.
  • Play it safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks that can hurt you, other Parkway visitors, or endanger the rangers who may have to come to rescue you. Trail safety information
  • Stay on the trails to minimize any environmental damage.
  • Follow the speed limits. Driving safety information

More to Explore

Another idea is to explore parks and attractions near the Parkway that are not subject to the partial shutdown, including:

Thank you for taking care of the Blue Ridge Parkway!