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Blue Ridge Parkway opens 2022 season on Memorial Day weekend

(© karenfoleyphoto – stock.adobe.com)

Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds, picnic areas and visitor centers are opening with full services for the 2022 visitor season this weekend, and National Park Service officials want to take the opportunity to remind visitors that their actions while recreating along the boardwalk can help them and other park visitors have a safe and memorable visit.

“We rely on park visitors to plan ahead by checking road conditions before their trip, learning the operating hours of facilities they hope to visit, and reserving campsites well in advance.” , said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Visitors should also be patient and flexible, as popular parks can be full on peak weekends throughout the summer and fall. We encourage you to have alternatives in mind if parking lots or trails are full, or if facilities are closed when arriving at their destinations on the boardwalk.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the largest designed landscapes in the nation, offering visitors a wide variety of opportunities to experience the nature, history and culture of southern Appalachia. The in-car and off-park design enhances the experience; and whether at milepost 0 or 469, hiking the scenic route, hiking a trail, or attending a concert or ranger program, Parkway officials remind visitors to have a plan and to recreate responsibly.

A full schedule of open facilities is also available on the boardwalk website

Several road projects are also underway this season and, as with any road project, motorists and park visitors should exercise caution and observe closures. The parkway website and road conditions page are important planning tools that provide daily information on the status of mileposts with links to additional project information or detour maps, the optionally. In addition to previously announced plans for the Laurel Fork Bridge, slope repairs, and completion of road projects in Roanoke, visitors may experience intermittent or one-lane closures related to additional paving projects at some viewpoints in North Carolina parking areas and picnic areas or preventative bridge maintenance work on several bridges in Virginia and North Carolina.

This season, public health and masking requirements may vary along the boardwalk depending on local conditions. Weekly updates will be posted on the Parkway Alerts and Updates webpage and at park facilities. In areas that the CDC identifies as high community level COVID-19, masks are required for everyone in all NPS buildings, regardless of vaccination status. In most low and medium COVID-19 community level areas, masks are optional, but visitors should follow signs and instructions from park staff and volunteers. Visitors are always encouraged to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.

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