Blue Ridge Rising: Help the Region Soar

The Foundation and gateway communities along the Parkway are entering a new phase of the Blue Ridge Rising initiative. After hosting more than 35 meetings in 29 counties and the inaugural Blue Ridge Rising Two-State Summit, we are now working to implement the strategies prioritized in the Blue Ridge Rising Action Plan, a guide that highlights the next steps in this collaborative process.

The Parkway is the thread that ties Blue Ridge communities together, but it is the communities that amplify a wealth of rich experiences for travelers, and thus enhancing the prosperity of the entire region. The music, history, culture, craft traditions, and natural wonders of the mountains know no boundaries, including those of the national park.

You can play a role in unifying and strengthening the connection between neighboring communities and the national park. When you support the Blue Ridge Rising initiative, you are lifting an entire region. Here are the six key focus areas where your contribution can make an impact:

Capacity Building

  • Secure sustainable funding from varied sources to implement the Blue Ridge Rising Action Plan. 
  • Increase staffing at the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and partner organizations to execute the initiatives in the action plan.
  • Continue to foster regional collaboration through inclusive committees, meetings, grantmaking, and conferences.


  • An American Conservation Corps crew clears overgrown vegetation on trails at Moses H. Cone Memorial ParkSupport and expand youth conservation opportunities within Parkway communities to provide job skills to younger workers, while also completing trails and reducing wildfire hazards in the park.
  • Encourage regional universities, community colleges, and K-12 systems to develop and expand hospitality management and natural resource programs.


  • Develop wayfinding solutions at key intersections to lead tourists to local communities and Parkway amenities.
  • Create regional travel itineraries that showcase the unique aspects of local communities.
  • Develop a visual trail program that encourages visitors to explore arts, culture, and historic downtowns in the Parkway communities.

Unified Regional Voice

  • Encourage additional federal funding for Parkway operations and maintenance to maintain tourism traffic and local spending.
  • Establish a Parkway coalition composed of elected officials and community leaders, with representatives from the entire Blue Ridge Rising region.

Milky Way in night sky over Price Lake on the Blue Ridge ParkwayResource Protection

  • Promote voluntary protection of key viewsheds and other natural resources by working with agencies and land trusts to identify and conserve the unprotected lands that are most valuable to the Parkway and local communities.
  • Encourage protection of dark sky resources by surveying and seeking official designations for the region’s best dark sky areas.

Visitor Experiences

  • Develop new and existing trails and greenways to connect gateway communities to the Parkway, adjoining public lands, and each other.
  • Improve bicycle access and safety on the Parkway and on roads that connect the Parkway to gateway communities.
  • Promote, support, and fill gaps in storytelling about the region, such as Appalachian heritage, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Black history, and Blue Ridge mountain music.