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Volunteers-in-Parks (VIPs) is an official program of the National Park Service. It was authorized in 1970 by legislation that legalized a mechanism thru which the National Park Service (NPS) could accept and utilize volunteer help and services from the public. A major objective of the program is for it to be mutually beneficial to the NPS and the volunteer.

On the Blue Ridge Parkway, FRIENDS is the partner organization that trains and manages the volunteers in cooperation with the NPS. When the FRIENDS program began in 2006, FRIENDS staff went through the same VIP training as the National Park Service employees. FRIENDS continues to work with the NPS to focus and expand the program.

Who Can Be a VIP?

Anyone can be a VIP – individuals, couples, families, students and organized groups can volunteer. We welcome those under 18 years of age with the official, signed permission of a parent or guardian. FRIENDS has worked with volunteers from all around the United States and internationally. We do consider our volunteers ‘very important people’ as they play a hands-on role in our mission to protect and preserve the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What Do VIPs Do?

Volunteers work side-by-side with National Park Service employees and other FRIENDS volunteers throughout the Blue Ridge Parkway and its scenic corridor. Volunteers perform a variety of services ranging from office work at our headquarters to building/repairing split rail fences to documenting historic cemetery plots and more. There are as many ways to help as there are volunteers.

FRIENDS has a variety of volunteer programs serving the Parkway. Prospective volunteers are encouraged to read up on them and to tell us your interests when you apply.
Learn More


Complete our online application, there is no obligation. It simply allows us to get to know you better and understand your skills and interests. When we receive the application, we’ll put you in touch with a representative from the FRIENDS Chapter closest to you who can talk to you about current opportunities. Want to get ahead of the game and fill out your Volunteer Service Agreement? Find it in our download center.