Blue Ridge Parkway receives Scenic Byways Grant for Graveyard Fields enhancements

The Blue Ridge Parkway has received a $261,336 National Scenic Byways Grant to enhance the existing overlook and trail system at the Graveyard Fields area at milepost 418 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The enhancements, designed to improve visitor safety and comfort, include expansion of the parking, construction of a convenience station, trail improvements and interpretive signs.  The project work will be carried out by a partnership of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the National Park Service and the US Forest Service, and has not yet been scheduled.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will be overseeing the project and contributing a $65,334 cash match for the Graveyard Fields project. In addition, the Foundation has funded $20,000 of design services and secured over $I 0,000 in pro bono design work for the project.  Those wishing to contribute to the project can make donations here.

The Graveyard Fields overlook is an important resource location along the 70+ mile segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This particular area of the Parkway provides visitors with unique landscape vistas and significant recreational opportunities. Its popularity has caused deterioration of the trails, and sediment runoff threatens the water quality of the Yellowstone Prong Creek that runs along the main trail.  Visitor use exceeds the current parking capacity every day of the week throughout the summer and fall season.

To address these issues, the project includes:

  • Expansion of the parking lot and new guardrail to eliminate unauthorized parking.
  • A new convenience station for the comfort of visitors and the protection of water quality.
  • Trail improvements that include installing boardwalks and improving drainage.
  • A new trail map and interpretive signs on the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail.

For more information and photographs visit the project page.

About "Graveyard Fields"

Graveyard Fields is a popular hiking area located at milepost 418 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

About the Scenic Byways program

The National Scenic Byways (NSB) Program was established under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. Under the program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. There are 150 such designated byways in 46 states. The Federal Highway Administration promotes the collection as America's Byways.

The National Scenic Byways Discretionary Grants program provides merit-based funding for byway-related projects each year.  For more information visit www.bywaysonline.org.

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