The arrival of 2017 has opened a new chapter for the National Park Service and the National Park System, one that in the first days of the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress is fraught with concern over both the stability of the agency and the health of the parks.
Blue Ridge Parkway
From Fiscal Year 2006 through Fiscal Year 2015 the National Park Service spent roughly $10.5 billion on deferred maintenance projects, and yet the overall price tag for deferred maintenance continued to creep ever higher, leading the Government Accountability Office to wonder if the Park Service's strategy for tackling the projects was sound.
Fall’s glorious colors are gone, and so are the tailgating cars that they lure to the Blue Ridge Parkway. And that’s just one reason to visit this meandering ribbon of pavement during the winter months.
An anonymous donor is raising the stakes at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a matching challenge. Each donation designated for the former estate near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, will be matched dollar for dollar if the $300,000 goal is reached.
Did you ever wonder what animals and birds lurk about after dark, or when you’re not looking? The National Park Service has been working with the Smithsonian Institution to gain some insights to wildlife movements by using more than 30 remote cameras provided by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to capture animals on the move.
Two million dollars to help remove 500 tons of debris at Point Reyes National Seashore. Twenty-three-million dollars committed for land acquisition at Grand Teton National Park. Another $2 million to help open Stonewall National Monument.
What does it take to run a lodge in the National Park System, especially a small operation that is not part of a corporate conglomerate? Traveler's lodging experts, David and Kay Scott, recently sat down with the owner of the Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway to discuss his business.
Running more than 160 pages, the National Park Service Management Policies provides park managers with quick reference to how they are to manage their units, what uses are appropriate, and how to usher visitors out of the park when Congress fails to fund the National Park Service. But the Management Policies, which last were updated in 2006, also leave much to interpretation and exception.
Next time you head for the Blue Ridge Parkway, consider packing your camping gear as there are eight developed campgrounds where you can spend the night.
In the following column, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward warns of the problems the weight of the National Park Service's unfunded maintenance needs will have on the Parkway.