Winter might be tossing its last fits of the season at the eastern sweep of the country, but that's not altering plans to move Shenandoah National Park's facilities into the spring season later this month.
The park's Harry F. Byrd Visitor Center will continue serving visitors on weekends (weather permitting) until March 29, when the visitor center will begin operating seven days a week. The Dickey Ridge Visitor Center will open Thursday through Monday beginning April 4. Beginning May 10, the visitor center will be open seven days a week.
Campgrounds will operate on the following schedule: Big Meadows Campground will open April 25; Lewis Mountain Campground will open April 2; Mathews Arm and Loft Mountain campgrounds will open May 7.
Elkwallow, Pinnacles, South River, and Dundo Picnic Grounds are currently open. The remaining picnic grounds will operate as follows: Lewis Mountain picnic grounds will open April 2; Dickey Ridge will open April 4; and Big Meadows Picnic Grounds will open April 25.
Delaware North Companies (DNC), the park's concessioner, will undertake the rehabilitation of concessions-operated buildings throughout the park this year. Visitors can expect improvements in public restrooms at Skyland, Big Meadows Wayside, and Loft Mountain Campstore, as well as the Loft Mountain and Big Meadows shower and laundry facilities.
Overnight guests will benefit from rehabilitation of 48 guest rooms, eight of which will be converted to meet accessibility standards.
DNC has partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation HOPE crew to rehabilitate the historic Skyland stables. Visitors to Skyland Resort will enjoy the redesign of the lobby area to include a new Grab-n-go area.
'We're excited to see the improvements in our guest facilities and operations,' said Chad Tinney, Shenandoah's concessions specialist. 'This is the first year of many under the contract that DNC is investing in our visitor facilities and working to reduce the maintenance backlog.'
Concessioner-operated restaurants, lodges, and associated facilities will operate as follows: Skyland Resort will open March 27; Lewis Mountain Cabins and Lewis Mountain Campstore will open April 2; Big Meadows Wayside will open April 4; Elkwallow and Loft Mountain waysides will open April 11; Big Meadows Shower/Laundry will open April 25; Loft Mountain Campstore and Loft Mountain Showers and Laundry will open May 7; Big Meadows Lodge will open May 14.