For more than a dozen years, Friends has been known for its tree-plantings up and down the parkway corridor. At key sites where commercial or residential development intruded into the parkway corridor, Friends organized and funded major tree-planting efforts to buffer and preserve the pristine parkway experience.
In recent years, Friends has become aware of another threat to the parkway visitor’s experience. All up and down the 469-mile corridor, hundreds of overlooks which were so carefully selected and sited by the late parkway architect Stanley Abbott, have been allowed to become overgrown. The vistas originally intended have all but disappeared.
Continual parkway budget cuts for the last 15 years are part of the problem, but you only have to look at the size of some of the trees at the overlooks to realize this is a “ growing problem”… a problem that’s been coming since the overlooks were first built, starting in the late 1930s.
Annual recreational visitation on the parkway dropped from 22 million in 2002 to 12.8 million in 2013 and tourism and park service officials believe the overgrown overlooks is a key factor.
FRIENDS established the Virginia Parkway Tag Program to raise funds to keep Blue Ridge Parkway views as spectacular as they were originally intended. Our goal is to clear every overlook and designed vistas along the 469-mile corridor.