Letter from the Superintendent

Thank you to the Foundation and its supporters for another outstanding year of stewardship on the Blue Ridge Parkway! As we pivot into 2024, I’m inspired by the work we accomplished together in 2023. Whether connecting millions of people with the sights, sounds, and stories of the southern Appalachian Mountains, or ensuring protection of the delicate resources that we steward within our park’s boundaries—this work is possible through our partnership.

The National Park Service is said to be in the “forever business.” Our mission, as set in the 1916 Organic Act, is “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” During 2023, there were many Foundation projects that demonstrated our commitment to this mission.

One such project was the removal of debris from a decades-old plane crash near Waterrock Knob. An area of incredible beauty and biodiversity had become burdened by the growing popularity of this off-trail site. Heavy use, significant resource damage, and increased need for emergency response led us to take action. Thanks to the Foundation, this area is now healing—and plants that were unknown at the site have now been found in the area.

In Virginia, we were proud of the work done by the Foundation to engage Parkway communities in planning for the future of the Blue Ridge Music Center. We are looking forward to an expansion of operations there in response to this important input.

The popularity of the Parkway is no surprise. More than 16.5 million people visited in 2023. Together, we can ensure that the Parkway experience is protected and supports local economies for generations to come.