Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long - 217 miles in Virginia, including the Skyline Drive, and 252 miles in North Carolina. It was conceived during the Great Depression as a scenic tourist link between the two National Parks, The Shenandoah and The Great Smoky Mountains. It was implemented out of a need to put people to work in 1935 during the Depression and the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) provided the labor.
~map of the Blue Ridge Parkway~
Before the first construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway was ever begun, a landscape architect travelled the length of the proposed roadway and planned for each view, each overlook, and each parking area. As a result, there are breathtaking vistas and close up looks at the forest around each turn of the road.
~one of the many preserved buildings along the Parkway~
Today on the Blue Ridge Parkway it's possible to rock climb, hang glide, fish for trout, bicycle... almost any activity that doesn't damage the park or endanger other visitors. Recent tropical storms in 2004 has done some damage to a portain of the parkway. 50 inches of rain in 3 weeks time has taken out a portion of the pavement and the road bed has started to slip down the mountain. This section is closed until repairs are done in 2005.
~the winding road of the Parkway~
The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina are one of the most popular US tourist destinations, attracting a growing number of travelers each year. The western Carolina mountain counties have long been a favorite spot for vacation homes, but in recent years the number of full-time residents has increased too.
~colorful fall view~
Immediately obvious as you travel down the parkway is the immaculate care that the National Park Service takes with upkeep and maintenance. There is never any litter, the road itself has no pot holes or bumps, and the lawns and gardens one finds along the way are splendid in their elegance. And as with any National Park you are not allowed to disturb any plant life.
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