Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway's 75th Anniversary

September 9, 2010, 10:28 am

This year, 2010, marks the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, often called “America’s Favorite Drive.” Named for the bluish tint that the mountains put off from a mixture of sunlight, forest and fog, parkway construction commenced in 1935, in part, to connect Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. Originally called the “Appalachian Scenic Highway,” it was envisioned as the first elongated national park, providing the recently enamored automobile traveler some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the United States—running more than 450 miles through the Appalachian states.

Today, the Blue Ridge Parkway is managed by the National Park Service and is the most visited national park unit in the system, with an average of 16 million visits a year! Commercial and residential development, air and water quality issues, and lack of sufficient funding, however, all threaten this valuable and vulnerable corridor. In collaboration with the National Park Service and several organizations, including land trust groups from all states on the route, thousands are working diligently to ensure the park and its environment is protected.

All along the parkway this year there will be events and exhibits celebrating the road and the communities and parks surrounding it. From September 10-12, there will be a festival at Cumberland Knob (Milepost 216) and The Blue Ridge Music Center (Milepost 213). This celebration brings an extraordinary opportunity to create awareness, initiate dialogue in local communities, and take action that will insure a strong future for the Parkway. Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc. is leading the way and a full schedule of events and activities can be found at www.blueridgeparkway75.org.To learn more about events and how you can lend a hand in preserving the parkway, call (828) 777-9493 or visit blueridgeparkway75.org.

In addition to Blue Ridge Parkway events, the 75th anniversary inspired a Virginia couple to create an educational corn maze that celebrates their historic neighbor – the scenic roadway that influences their work and “drives” business to their 22-acre farm just off the parkway in the town of Meadows of Dan.