The National Park Service announces everything you need to know as the Blue Ridge Parkway opens this Memorial Day weekend.
Get ready, Outsiders! The National Park Service is opening the Blue Ridge Parkway for the 2022 season. One of the largest designed landscapes in the country, the parkway provides millions of visitors with a wide variety of opportunities to experience southern Appalachian nature, history, and culture every year.
The park’s “drive-a-while, stop-a-while” design caters to this experience; one set to reopen this Memorial Day weekend.
“Whether at milepost 0 or 469, driving the scenic route, hiking a trail or taking in a concert or ranger program, Parkway officials remind visitors to have a plan and recreate responsibly,” NPS announces Wednesday.
Blue Ridge Parkway offers a host of activities for visitors, and all amenities will open this weekend. This includes campgrounds, picnic areas, and visitor centers opening with full services for the 2022 visitor season. Beforehand, National Park Service managers want to take the opportunity to remind visitors that their actions while recreating along the Parkway can help them and other park visitors have a safe and memorable visit.
‘We depend on park visitors to plan ahead’
“We depend on park visitors to plan ahead by checking road status ahead of their trip, learning operating schedules for facilities they hope to visit, and reserving campsites well ahead of time,” offers Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Visitors should also be patient and flexible as popular park locations may be full during peak weekends throughout the summer and fall.”
Swartout also encourages visitors “to have alternatives in mind if parking lots or trails are full.”
Remember to always check the schedule on the Parkway’s website before your trip. This is crucial in 2022, as multiple NPS road projects are also underway this season. “As with any road project, motorists and park visitors must exercise caution and observe closures. The Parkway website and road status page are important planning tools that provide milepost by milepost status information daily with links to additional project information or detour maps where applicable,” NPS cites.
2022 Closures for Blue Ridge Parkway:
- Laurel Fork Bridge
- Slope repairs
- Completion of road projects in Roanoke, Virginia
- Visitors may also experience intermittent or one lane closures related to additional paving projects in some NC overlooks
- Parking areas and picnic areas may also temporarily close
- Preventative bridge maintenance work at several bridges in VA and NC is also possible
In addition, public health and masking requirements may vary along the parkway this season. Weekly updates will be posted on the Parkway’s Alerts and Updates webpage and in park facilities.
“In areas the CDC identifies as high COVID-19 community level, 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,” NPS explains. “But visitors should follow signs and instructions from park staff and volunteers. Visitors are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.”
Happy trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway this Memorial Day Weekend and the summer ahead, Outsiders!