Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Providing $500,000 For Blue Ridge Parkway Projects and Programs

A variety of projects and programs -- from music in the mountains to rangers in the classrooms -- will move forward at the Blue Ridge Parkway thanks to $500,000 in funding from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

The money will allow the Parkway to continue its Parks as Classrooms program, relocate its communications center, offer a series of concerts at the Blue Ridge Music Center, and conduct additional research at the Moses Cone Manor House.

"The staff of the Parkway and I are very grateful to the foundation for their very generous contribution to fund a variety of important needs that we have this year," said Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis. "Without their support, we would not be able to fund projects and programs that help us serve Parkway visitors, educate young people, and protect the Parkway for future generations."

The Blue Ridge Parkway worms its way 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park through some of the oldest and most diverse mountains in the world. Last year more than 16 million people visited a portion of the Parkway, according to the foundation.

“Thousands across North Carolina purchase the Blue Ridge Parkway Specialty License Plate or make a donation to the Foundation, and thus it is the community of caring committed stewards that makes our support of the Parkway possible,” said Carolyn Ward, chief executive officer of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “We would like to thank the community for all their support, and if you see someone with a Blue Ridge Parkway Specialty License Plate, thank them for protecting the Parkway."

The approved projects for 2011 include:

* Continued funding of the Parks As Classrooms initiative for the 2011-2012 school year. Parks as Classrooms is the Blue Ridge Parkway’s outreach program to children, instilling values of Parkway protection to students in all 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties that border the Parkway.

* Relocation of the Park Communications Center. A 1,200-square-foot communications center will be constructed at the Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina, that will house the Parkway’s interagency dispatch operation.

* The “Roots of American Music Program.” Funding for the 2011 series of concerts at the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Parkway. Funding by the foundation will allow six of the concerts to be free to the public.

* Ground Penetrating Radar Survey at Moses Cone Manor - This survey at the rear of the Moses Cone Manor House and within the area of the former bowling alley, croquet field, and tennis court will determine presence or absence, and state of preservation of any sub-surface remains of the former structures prior to implementing the Moses Cone Developed Area Management Plan.