National Park Service officials have announced the opening of the 2021 visitor season on the Blue Ridge Parkway with reminders that park visitors play a key role in protecting the historic 469-mile route. With many of the Parkway’s campgrounds, picnic areas, and visitor centers fully operational as of this weekend, park visitors and neighbors are reminded that when visiting these and other areas to stay on trails and roads, pack out trash, and leave park resources as you find them.
“The protection of the Parkway is a shared goal between park staff, partners, volunteers, and the millions of visitors who come to the park each year. We expect this summer and fall to be busy on the Parkway and one of the ways visitors can help us take care of park resources is by planning ahead,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Visitor choices to recreate responsibly and plan ahead play an important role in helping us preserve and protect the Parkway and its resources for future generations.”
Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday, park rangers are also sharing some important tips for visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway. From reminders about what to do at crowded overlooks, to navigation tips for the Parkway, this new Top 10 Tips list helps both new and experienced park visitors alike get the most out of their trip to the Parkway this season.
Visitors can also expect several road and construction projects happening throughout the season that address ongoing maintenance needs. Current projects include two bridge rehabilitation projects; one at the Linville River Bridge in North Carolina, near Milepost 317, and another at the Roanoke River Bridge in Virginia, near Milepost 114. Signed detour routes are in place around both of these project closures.
A pavement preservation project at overlooks and picnic areas in Virginia is ongoing and could have minor impacts; and a major exterior rehabilitation project is also underway at the Moses Cone Memorial Park Manor House at Milepost 298. The Manor House is open during construction.
As the NPS continues to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health measures are in place across the park including capacity limits and temporary closures in response to local conditions. Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
A complete schedule of open facilities, as well as additional information to help plan a memorable and safe Parkway experience, is available on the Parkway’s website. Regularly updated information regarding ranger events, music performances, and cultural demonstrations is also available online.