In addition to the normal predictable work to get the Blue Ridge Parkway open for the spring season, unplanned challenges have arisen.
A hard winter has resulted in an increased workload removing fallen and damaged trees from not only the roadway but trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas. This type of work is hard physical labor involving the dangers of working with heavy equipment, chainsaws, and chippers. Once the roads and trails are open, there will still be extensive work to remove the debris from road shoulders.
The Ridge District at the north end of the Parkway was challenged by a shooting incident at Rock Point Overlook this past Monday night. This resulted in a section of road being closed to the public and diversion of park rangers to the investigation and eventual apprehension of the shooter.
Now the Ridge District whose staff is already hard pressed and tested is faced with two wildfires burning along the Parkway near the James River area in Virginia. This has also resulted in a section of the Parkway being closed to the public.
This all reminds me of many springs following hard winters. As the blossoms and wildflowers bloom so do other aspects of nature and man. But you can be assured that the dedicated men and women who work for the National Park Service and the corps of volunteers that assist them will have the Park up and running for your visit this year.