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Nearly one third of children from six months to six years live in households where the TV is on most of the time.

The National Park Service (NPS) Junior Ranger program brings children ages 5 – 12 outdoors, replacing TV, computer, and mobile devices with trees, trails and nature studies. Junior Ranger handbooks, maps and activity sheets are available thru the NPS website, through the links below or they may be picked up at any NPS park visitor center.

FRIENDS works with the NPS Junior Ranger program to involve children in conservation and volunteerism and helps fund the Blue Ridge Parkway program and materials. Close to 2,000 children participate annually. Our volunteers also provide special FRIENDS Junior Ranger activities and events such as our Kids Fishing program, Bog Turtle Protection program, and Save Parkway Views viewshed planting events.

To become a Junior Ranger, children will need the handbook, Parkway map and one activity sheet. They must complete all the activities in the handbook and at least three of the activities on the activity sheet. Then they may bring the completed materials to any park visitor center for a Ranger to check their answers. Rangers are typically available from Memorial Day through October. New Junior Rangers will receive a badge, certificate and sticker for their handbook.


Families can travel the Parkway with their Junior Rangers to complete activity sheets that are connected to locations along the way. The materials include games such as Parkway Bingo, which lets Junior Rangers circle sites they see on the Parkway and word games relating to things they might see or do.

Junior Rangers also participate in special Junior Ranger activities and events throughout the year.

Junior Rangers can earn patches and stickers for their handbooks for completing activity sheets. A sticker is earned for each individual sheet completed. A patch is earned by completing activity sheets for at least four different areas. There are ten activity sheets in all for the Parkway. Children may take their completed sheets and handbook in to any park visitor center to be checked by a Ranger and to receive their stickers and patches.
Junior Park Ranger activities are customized for each section of the Parkway. In the northern part of the Parkway, Junior Rangers might be interested in seeing the railroad tracks at Yankee Horse Ridge and learning how people have traveled in the mountains over the years. In the middle section of the Parkway, at Mabry Mill, they might tour the actual mill and then use a printed maze to follow the corn’s path through a grindstone as it becomes cornmeal. In the southern portion of the Parkway, at Cherokee, N.C., they might learn about the Cherokee clans and draw a clan symbol for their families.

The website Kids in Parks also has a variety of activities related to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In past years, children have participating in planting trees to improve Parkway viewsheds, hiked and cleared trails, and helped build bridges over Parkway creeks. Students from elementary and high schools have also worked along the Parkway. In the spring of 2010, for example, more than one hundred 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders amazed the Park Service by cleaning 105 campsites at the Roanoke Mountain Campground and painting and resurfacing them with gravel—in less than four hours!





Milepost 8.5     Humpback Rocks
Milepost 63.6     James River
Milepost 86     Peaks of Otter
Mileposts 120-176     Roanoke and Mabry Mill
Milepost 213     Blue Ridge Music Center
Mileposts 238-244.7     Brinegar Cabin and Doughton Park
Mileposts 294-297     Moses Cone and Julian Price Park
Milepost 316.4     Linville Falls
Mileposts 367-384     Craggy Gardens and Asheville
Mileposts 408-469     Mt. Pisgah and Cherokee

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