New Opportunities to Give Back to the Blue Ridge Parkway

June 18, 2018

Each year, the Foundation works closely with the National Park Service to identify initiatives on the Blue Ridge Parkway that need your support. You can give to the projects that mean the most to you or the overall protection of the park. No matter how you choose to give, you’re investing in the future of one of the most treasured landscapes in our country.



TRACK Trails on the Parkway
Mileposts 63, 169 & 176 | Goal: $16,000
Our Kids in Parks program got its start in 2009 with the opening of the first TRACK Trail at the Asheville Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today, there are five trails along the route that engage children and their families with the outdoors through activity brochures. You can expand these adventures for future land stewards by supporting the creation of new experiences at these fascinating Parkway sites in Virginia: the James River and Rocky Knob/Mabry Mill.

Exhibits at Waterrock Knob Visitor Center
Milepost 451 | Goal: $38,005
The Waterrock Knob Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C., occupies a unique position on the Parkway, having the potential to be either the first or last stop for travelers. With the help of your donation, the National Park Service will install new exhibits to replace the current time-worn displays that feature outdated information. The new exhibits will inform visitors about:

  • The surrounding mountains of the Southern Highlands, and the role of conservation in maintaining their pristine beauty.
  • Cherokee history and culture.
  • The unique biodiversity resulting from such high elevations, with a focus on black bear and elk.
  • The impact of invasive pests, primarily the balsam woolly adelgid.

Your gift will create a richer experience for travelers.



Bluffs at Doughton Park
Milepost 241 | Remaining goal: $250,000
Our goal is within reach! That’s right, we only need $250,000 to hit our fundraising target for reopening the former Bluffs Coffee Shop building at Doughton Park, near Sparta, N.C.

We’ve come so far thanks to your dedication and generosity for the project. Support from the North Carolina General Assembly and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has also been critical. In 2017, the state appropriated $350,000 toward building repairs. ARC recently provided a $300,000 grant to purchase updated restaurant equipment and furniture.

In the past, the significant cost of new equipment and repairs deterred potential concession applications. But today there is even more good news: several prospective operators recently toured the facility to learn about the logistics of setting up shop.

We are so close to bringing this beloved place back to life. Let’s reopen the doors to new memories at Bluffs.

Sharp Top Shelter
Milepost 86 | Remaining goal: $56,700
Work is set to begin this spring to rejuvenate the little stone shelter that greets visitors at the summit of Sharp Top Mountain at the Peaks of Otter. National Park Service staff will scrub away extensive graffiti, repair and reset windows, doors, sills and thresholds, replace the roof, and stain the clapboard siding to prepare the building for future interpretive programs and secure it against the elements. Donations for this project will be matched through the Centennial Challenge program!

Printing of Blue Ridge Parkway Outdoor Guide
Parkway-wide | Goal: $11,500
Updated annually, the printed Outdoor Activity Guide features trail maps, safety information, bear encounter guidance, and articles on Parkway programs, the Blue Ridge Music Center, and current issues facing the park. The National Park Service offers this 24-page newspaper for free at every visitor center, as well as community outreach events. It is an essential guide to a well-planned Parkway excursion. With your support, 100,000 copies will be printed and made available before the busiest visitation periods of the season.



New Wildlife Cameras
Parkway-wide | Goal: $5,460
You can give citizen scientists the equipment they need to complete an important mission. This summer, volunteers will hike off the beaten paths and use GPS coordinates to place motion-sensitive cameras in remote areas, returning periodically to find out what types of birds, mammals, reptiles, and other creatures have passed by the lens. Their work will allow park biologists to cover more territory in a multiyear study of animal populations and their locations on Parkway land.

Bee Kind to the Parkway
Parkway-wide | Remaining goal: $8,180
They may be small, but bees do big things on the Parkway. They play a vital role in the ecosystem, allowing plants to reproduce through pollination. These plants not only make a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway beautiful, but provide an important food source for wildlife. You can make sure the park is a place where bees and their pollinator friends can thrive. A gift for this project will give citizen scientists the tools they need to collect native wildflower seeds and survey populations of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The seeds will be used to re-establish wildflower display areas originally designed into the Parkway landscape, and therefore bolster pollinator habitats. The bee surveys will begin this spring, so please give today!

Force Multipliers for Plant and Wildlife Protection
Parkway-wide | Remaining goal: $2,264
Law enforcement rangers do far more on the Parkway than just control traffic and keep visitors safe. They protect plants and wildlife from poachers in search of rare species, including galax, ginseng, and even bog turtles. With more than 80,000 acres of park land spread across 29 counties in two states, it’s a logistical challenge to monitor the entire Parkway. Your gift for this project will purchase remote sensors to keep a careful watch on vulnerable species and alert rangers to potential thefts in real-time. Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, we are more than halfway to our goal. 



Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
Milepost 294 | Remaining goal: $1 million
Your gifts are truly remaking history at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Flat Top Manor is regaining its grandeur with much-needed exterior repairs. The carriage trails are clear of overgrown vegetation and ready for hikers and horseback riders to explore freely. Soon additional exhibits will be installed in the manor to tell the story of the Cone family, servants, and farmers who called the estate home, and outdoor panels will feature trail maps.

Two years ago, we set out to raise $3 million. Today, we are working to secure the last $1 million to continue the improvements this landmark deserves, including restoration of the landscape the Cones so dearly loved and expanded parking for thousands of visitors each year. With a donation, you can keep us on the path to a brighter future for an estate steeped in history and natural beauty.

Humpback Rocks Farm
Milepost 5 | Goal: $75,056
Crews with the National Park Service are putting their skills in log structure repair and stone stacking to work on Ramsey Cabin and a collection of hand-hewn structures that make up the late 19th century farmstead at Humpback Rocks. With a gift, you can make sure this fascinating place continues to pass down the story of pioneer families who depended on the land and each other to carve out lives in the mountains. Donations for this project will be matched through the Centennial Challenge program!

Blue Ridge Music Center Programming
Milepost 213 | Goal: $55,000
The Blue Ridge Music Center is gearing up for a fantastic season of concerts, and you can take center stage in making the Roots of American Music series a success. Your gift brings people together to experience old-time, bluegrass, folk, Americana, country blues, and gospel performances and learn about how these forms of music took root and grew into an American sound. Let’s keep this rich tradition of homegrown music alive in the mountains.