In our country, people of color suffer from certain chronic illnesses at a higher rate than the rest of the population. At the same time, they seldom use our public lands for the health benefits that can absolutely be achieved through regular exercise, which is a big reason Pathways to Parks was formed.
More than ever, we are all in this together. For decades, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been our outdoor playground, our link to mountain history and culture, and our place to connect with nature. But this is an unprecedented time.
The National Park Service has made the difficult decision to close many sections of the Parkway that are seeing high visitation. (See the complete list of newly announced closures.) Keeping each other and our communities safe is what matters most right now.
The Parkway rangers are striving to keep the Blue Ridge Parkway safe while seeing an enormous influx of visitors. If you plan to enjoy the Parkway during this time, please make their job a lot less stressful by following these tips.
Avoid the Crowds
For law enforcement rangers, ensuring the safety of millions of visitors along 469 miles of road in two states is no small feat on an ordinary day. Now, they are seeing a large influx of people looking to find comfort in the outdoors during this difficult time.
We can’t say it loud enough: thank goodness for spring! The promise of refreshing walks in the woods, colorful blooms, and a greener landscape on the Blue Ridge Parkway are bright spots during these stressful times. If you’re headed out to appreciate the diverse wildflowers that herald the season’s arrival, we have tips for best viewing and staying safe.
As the news about COVID-19 develops, many people are turning to the outdoors to ease their stress and regain a sense of calm. We know that the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the natural places that can provide peace and perspective during these uncertain times.
We are pleased to announce that renovations to the interior of The Bluffs Restaurant at milepost 241 on the Parkway are underway, and a new operator has been selected.
Muddy Creek Enterprises, owners of the Muddy Creek Café & Music Halls in Sparta and Winston-Salem, will operate The Bluffs Restaurant under an agreement with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The restaurant is slated to reopen this summer.
Update: Thanks to your love for The Bluffs, we have met the $25,000 match for repairs to the historic restaurant.
Our hearts are bursting as we announce another gift-matching opportunity for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Yes. That’s right. WE HAVE TWO MATCHES!
Ten years after The Bluffs Restaurant closed, interior renovations will begin in preparation for an opening day this summer! Thanks to your support, the work will soon get underway at this beloved Doughton Park gathering place at milepost 240.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is proud to announce the appointment of new officers and the addition of members to its board of trustees and council of advisors. With a diverse range of backgrounds, these individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the leadership of the nonprofit that is focused on preserving and protecting the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We are pleased to welcome George Ivey to our team this month as a Development Officer. In his new role, he will support community outreach and fundraising in the greater Asheville area.
Ivey has a lifelong appreciation for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Born and raised in Asheville, he grew up less than two miles from the Parkway. As a teenager, he worked as a busboy at the Pisgah Inn restaurant. An avid cyclist, he rode the entire 469 miles of the scenic route in 2004.
Volunteers are valued members of our Community of Stewards. By generously sharing their time and talents, they reflect a deep commitment to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We can’t thank them enough for choosing to work with the Foundation to make an impact. Here are just a few of the many people who contributed their time in 2019.
Spreading the Word
With 369 miles of hiking trails, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers abundant treks for First Day Hikes to celebrate New Year’s Day in 2020. Whether you want to kick off a new fitness goal or just enjoy the peace of the outdoors, the Parkway has you covered. Here are a few trails to consider for your adventure:
Start a Family Tradition
Update: Due to a slow in donations because of the COVID-19 crisis, the deadline for the Trails & Views match has been extended to September 30, 2020.
Just in time for the holiday giving season, we're announcing a matching grant for our new Trails & Views Forever Fund for the Blue Ridge Parkway. An anonymous donor is offering a challenge grant of $300,000 to jump-start this initiative to repair trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, overlooks, and other amenities.
Ray and Laura Pease shared a love story, and not just with each other. The Blue Ridge Parkway wove its way into their hearts, and became a touchstone in their life together.
After discovering the Pisgah Inn during a visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1979, the couple returned each October to explore the Parkway. “Every year we would come and discover new trails and take some of the old trails,” Laura says. They weren’t shy about asking for recommendations for their next hiking or picnic spot. “Being Southerners, we talked to everybody.”
For so many people who enjoy fond memories of Bluffs Coffee Shop, the stories go beyond the ham biscuits, pan-fried chicken, and berry cobbler. A big part of the charm of stopping in for a home-style meal was the welcoming staff, including server Ellen Woodruff Smith, who worked at The Bluffs from the day it opened on May 31, 1949, to the day it closed on November 1, 2010.
We are so thrilled to announce that the Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Carolyn Ward, was recently honored with the William C. Everhart Award by the Clemson University Institute for Parks in recognition of sustained achievements that provide creative insights and that foster an appreciation of our natural and cultural heritage.
As the sun set on Zealandia on Friday, October 11, guests arrived for an evening of art, jazz, food and drinks, and for an exclusive first chance to view and purchase Blue Ridge Parkway-inspired plein air pieces. The historic mansion on Beaucatcher was the venue for this year’s Of Valley & Ridge: A Scenic Journey Through the Blue Ridge Parkway, an art show benefiting the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and presented by First Citizens Bank.
Dozens of community members, project donors, and representatives from National Park Foundation and National Park Service joined our staff on October 3 to celebrate the replacement of the old flume at Mabry Mill and installation of new shake roofs on additional historic buildings at the site.