It's going to cost you a little more to enjoy Shenandoah National Park beginning May 1.
As a longtime resident of northern Virginia, I feel like I know Shenandoah National Park fairly well. I’ve driven the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive several times, stayed in and near the park, and spent many weekends hiking there. And yet I’ve never experienced the park from the back of a horse...until now.
National park concessionaires, deeply concerned over what they see as three decades of stagnant visitation to the National Park System, want Congress to authorize better marketing of the parks, longer "high" seasons in the parks they believe would generate more revenues for infrastructure improvements, and expanded concessionaire opportunities in the parks.
Though winter has not released its grip on Shenandoah National Park and staff continues to work on clearing the Skyline Drive of snow and ice, facilities in the park will begin opening this month.
Years ago during a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, as impressed as I was with what was underground, I was equally struck by the park's surface and the cemeteries that told a silent story of the generations dating back to Revolutionary War times that had called this place home. Cemeteries going back decades, if not hundreds of years, can be found throughout the National Park System, and represent a moving chapter of the country's settlement.
High school students interested in spending their summer in a national park and gaining valuable skills have at least three parks to consider for jobs with the Youth Conservation Corps. Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Joshua Tree National Park in California all are seeking applications for their YCC programs.
It's bitterly cold, you're tired of snow and ice, and a seasonal job in a beautiful, and warm, location somewhere in the National Park System sounds ideal. So where do you look?
Make an executive decision to visit a national park this Presidents Day weekend. All 405 national parks will offer free admission February 14-16.
Are current entrance fees at Shenandoah National Park reasonable? Not if Shenandoah is to continue as a "world-class park," according to Superintendent Jim Northrup.