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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:02

Parkway chief to retire

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Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis has announced that he will retire on April 1 after 41 years in the National Park Service. During his eight years at the Parkway, he faced continuous budget cuts, which reduced the number of full-time employees at the Parkway from more than 240 to 160.

The Parkway, which receives more visitors than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined, currently runs on a budget of approximately $1 per visitor per year.

Francis was credited with keeping the parkway functioning during those times and working with local communities and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to do more with less.

Francis came to the Parkway from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where he was the long-time assistant superintendent.

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This Must Be the Place

  • This must be the place

    art theplaceMary Harper was quite possibly the first real friend I made when I moved to Western North Carolina.

    With my apartment a few blocks away from the Water’n Hole Bar & Grill in Waynesville, I ventured down there at night trying to see what was up in this town, trying to make some friends, and trying not to feel alone and isolated in a new place where I was unknown to all who surrounded me. Harper, with her million-dollar smile and swagger, immediately made me feel at home. 

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