The long-range plan for development of recreation along the Blue Ridge Parkway was announced today, January 15, 2013. The National Park Service (NPS) officially released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the General Management Plan (GMP) for the parkway.
The document will guide development for at least 20 years. NPS plans to officially adopt the plan within a month.
NPS issued a preliminary plan in the fall of 2011 for public comment and tweaked the plan to reflect public concerns. (See stories linked to below for background.) NPS received 3,360 comments in writing and at four public hearings.
Though NPS has been operating the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina for 75 years, it never before established a GMP.
The plan aims to preserve environmental and cultural resources while improving visitor experiences. For more info, see http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=10419. The plan is more than 700 pages.
NPS wants some minor improvements in visitor services while maintaining current the current driving experience.