Part of the funds will go toward a major overhaul of the crowded Graveyard Fields overlook. It serves as a jumping off point for the Shining Rock Wilderness. A scenic, waterfall studded stream winds through high-elevation open meadows, making it a popular hiking destination — so popular the site has taken a beating.
Improvements will include better parking to alleviate congestion issues, restrooms, interpretive signs and trail improvements. Funding was also provided by the Scenic Byways program.
Other projects include the rehabilitation of campsites at the Mount Pisgah Campground, replacing damaged and worn interpretive signs along the Parkway, replacement of historic stone water fountains and Parks as Classroom program that provides fieldtrips and in-classroom programs for local schools.
Over $600,000 of the funding is for projects that were deemed critical or are already in process. The remaining projects will only be undertaken if external funding from grant sources, companies or private donations can be found to help offset the costs.
“The Parkway has given us an important list of needs this year, but we cannot accomplish them all without the help,” says Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “We will be working hard to find the funds to make all of these projects a reality.”