The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a national treasure. Its 469 miles of spectacular views in North Carolina and Virginia attract nearly 20 million visitors per year, making it the most visited unit of the National Park Service. Colorful views are a primary attraction of the Parkway, with flowering rhododendrons and flaming azaleas flanking the roadside in the spring, wildflowers gracing the meadows in the summer, and brilliant foliage cloaking nearly every tree in the fall. The Parkway, which will mark its 75th anniversary in 2010, is one of the strongest economic engines in the North Carolina mountains, providing over $2 billion per year to local communities.

Scenic and Natural Corridor

A coalition of ten western North Carolina land trusts and three national land conservation organizations have identified the Blue Ridge Parkway as a focus area in their Blue Ridge Forever campaign. The Parkway is an extremely fragile ribbon, as its ecological, cultural and scenic integrity are threatened by fast-paced development throughout the region. In most places, land included in the Parkway is only 800 feet wide, and most of the land that comprises the views is privately held. Week by week, forests are denuded, streams become laced with silt, and remarkable vistas are marred by new subdivisions, roads and shopping centers.

Pristine Waters

More than 600 streams, many of which are headwaters of major river systems, are found within the Parkway’s boundaries. Protection of the land surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway safeguards some of the most productive trout stream habitat in the Southern Appalachians along with drinking water for millions of citizens.

Wildlife Diversity

The mixture of forested and pastoral landscapes along the Parkway provides a wide variety of plant and animal habitat. Serving as an important regional wildlife corridor, the Parkway is home to at least eight federally-endangered species and approximately 100 state-listed rare species.

Economic Vitality

The Blue Ridge Parkway contributes significantly to the economies in all seventeen western North Carolina counties through which it passes. Visitors on average spend well over $100 per day, generating over $2.3 billion annually for the regional economy.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Rural Land Trust, Carolina Mountain Lands Conservancy, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, High Country Conservancy, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, with help from government agencies, have protected over 30,000 acres in more than 40 locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The North Carolina State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and other data sources are being used to set priorities for land and habitat protection.

The Parkway’s 75th anniversary in 2010 provides a focal point around which to galvanize public support to save the Parkway.

How You Can Help

Investment in these critical places can leverage public dollars to protect more natural areas and scenic views along the Blue Ridge Parkway before they are gone forever. Whatever your ability to give, we welcome your gift and thank you for caring about North Carolina’s invaluable and fragile mountain landscape. Call us today to discuss your tax-deductible gift.

LAND TRUSTS SERVING THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

CTNC logo
Conservation Trust for North Carolina
1028 Washington St., Raleigh, NC 27605
919-828-4199 x 16 www.ctnc.org

BRC_sidetext
Blue Ridge Conservancy
P.O. Box 568, Boone, NC 28607
828-264-2511 www.blueridgeconservancy.org

FCNC logo
Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina
P.O. Box 3023, Morganton, NC 28680
828-437-9930 www.foothillsconservancy.org

mainspring logo
Mainspring Conservation Trust
PO Box 1148, Franklin, NC 28744
828-524-4741 x 204 www.mainspringconserves.org

southern-appalachian
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
34 Wall St., Suite 502, Asheville, NC 28801
828-253-0095 www.appalachian.org