Photo caption - Blue Ridge Parkway and Roanoke officials, along with Congressman Bob Goodlatte, were on hand for today's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Leaders Celebrate Blue Ridge Parkway Trail Repairs and River Access at Ribbon Cutting
(ROANOKE, VA) - United States Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods, and Chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors P. Jason Peters, along with other community leaders and numerous volunteers, gathered today at Milepost 114.9 on the Blue Ridge Parkway to celebrate the newly rehabilitated Roanoke River Trail. The ribbon cutting was the final step in a multi-year project to rehabilitate the trail from the overlook to the Roanoke River.
In kind donations from a number of partners were acknowledged as a key component of the projects success. Staff, materials and volunteers from the National Park Service, Roanoke Valley Greenways, Pathfinders for Greenways, Friends of the Rivers of Virginia, Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Float Fishermen of Virginia and the Creek Freaks of Franklin County contributed over 3000 hours of volunteer time and nearly $3000 of in-kind materials. Specific improvements at the site include putting in a culvert, re-building the gravel trail surface, installing 206 steps down steep terrain, fixing broken handrail and taking measures to reduce erosion from runoff.
Partnerships like the one in Roanoke were also recognized as important models to the success of the National Park Service’s future. As the National Park Service commemorates its 100th Anniversary in 2016, increasingly park units will seek to duplicate these types of partnerships and successful projects. County Board of Supervisor Chairman Jason Peters stated, “The Blue Ridge Parkway - its protection, its maintenance, its programs, its very survival - is dependent on the support of neighboring communities and on partnerships with its friends and neighbors.”
In addition, the involvement and presence of partners demonstrates importance of the Roanoke area’s growing greenway and trail networks, its regional focus on outdoor recreation, and the importance of connections to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Comments from the speakers highlighted the growing recreation network in the Roanoke Valley, as this trail project creates a linkage from the Parkway to local blue way activities on the Roanoke River.
At the conclusion of the ribbon cutting event, several project volunteers accompanied Superintendent Woods and Congressman Goodlatte on a short hike of the new trail.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, in linking the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, is dedicated to enhancing the outstanding scenic and recreational qualities of the corridor that it traverses; conserving unimpaired its significant natural and cultural resources, and promoting in perpetuity the public enjoyment and appreciation of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. Learn more about the Parkway at www.nps.gov/blri.
Leesa Brandon, Public Information Officer