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The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

The Blue Ridge Parkway winds along 469 miles that stretch from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, but it is far more than a road. The Parkway is an invaluable connection to the nature, history, culture, and recreation opportunities of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The route is dotted with campsites, trails, waterfalls, lakes, overlooks, forests, fields, and historical structures. In 2017, the Parkway welcomed more than 16 million visitors, more than Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon national parks combined for the same year.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the primary nonprofit fundraising partner for the Parkway, is made up of people who have a deep love for this majestic road and want to ensure that its natural beauty and the experiences it offers endure for generations to come. These individuals make up our Community of Stewards and help guide our work, which focuses on historical and cultural preservation, environmental protection, visitor amenities, and educational outreach.

By working with the National Park Service and our supporters, we identify critical projects and raise funds to address those needs, creating a stronger park and enjoyable experiences for the millions of visitors that come to the park each year.

Recent projects include:

* The rehab of structures at Johnson Farm in Virginia, where visitors can learn about late 19th and early 20th century farm life;

* The installation of remote cameras that capture the activities of wildlife, enabling park resource managers to better manage the habitats these creatures call home;

* The paving of Abbott Lake Loop Trail, creating the first complete ADA trail on the Parkway;

* The construction of a new shower facility (only the second on the entire route) at Julian Price Memorial Park campground.

The Foundation’s mission also includes protecting cultural history and engaging the next generation of public land stewards. To improve the health of children and help them connect to the outdoors, the nonprofit started the Kids in Parks program and opened the first TRACK Trail at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville in 2009. In 2013, the Foundation took over musical programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center, milepost 213, which passes on the musical traditions of the region with bluegrass, old-time, Americana, and country blues performances.

These are just some of the vital roles the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation fulfills in support of the National Park Service mission. Visit the Foundation’s website,, to learn about more of its initiatives and how you can support the Parkway.


Flat Top Manor, Blue Ridge Parkway/NPS

Preserving History At Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is one of the spectacular places on the Blue Ridge Parkway where history and recreation meet. The 3,500-acre park just outside Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is crisscrossed by carriage trails and features lakes, gardens, and orchards.

Cone, known as the Denim King for bringing the production of the durable fabric to the South, was not only a successful entrepreneur; he was an inquisitive gentleman farmer who experimented with agriculture. He meticulously designed his country place to incorporate a strong conservation ethic and employ scientific farming methods. Many of the estate’s characteristics, such as the miles of carriage roads and landscape design were highly artistic for the time. In 1901, Cone crowned the estate with a 23-room colonial revival home dubbed Flat Top Manor. Among the original features were a 10-pin bowling alley, deer park, laundry house, and several apple orchards.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014, but with ever declining federal funding, the Parkway has not been able to maintain the property in a fashion deserving of this valued historical site. The landscape and Flat Top Manor are in serious disrepair, the iconic stone walls are crumbling, and there are few interpretive materials to tell the story of the estate. In 2016, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation set out to raise $3 million to meet the most pressing needs of this unique place.

So far, the Foundation has secured $2 million, and repairs and improvements are already underway. Recently, a new roof and balustrade were installed at the manor house and a youth crew with the American Conservation Experience cleared overgrown vegetation from the trails. The Foundation is just $1 million from its overall goal to protect this place like no other on the Blue Ridge Parkway. To be part of the plan to remake history at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, click here.

Kids In Parks

Kids in Parks is a network of hiking, biking, paddling and disc golf trails outfitted with free activity guides for children and families. The mission behind these TRACK Trails goes beyond fun; the goals are to encourage kids to be physically active and help them build meaningful connections with nature. In turn, these goals help inspire the next generation of stewards, who will care for all public lands, including the Blue Ridge Parkway. Parks are at their best when people use, appreciate, and care for them.

The Track Trail program has been hugely successful in getting youths into the parks/Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

Each TRACK Trail has a series of self-guided brochures designed to turn an ordinary hike into a fun-filled, discovery-packed adventure. The guides encourage children to truly engage with the outdoors by identifying trees and birds, viewing the forest from the perspective of animals, and searching for natural features, among other fun activities. The ease of the hikes and educational materials provide a positive introduction to outdoor activities. TRACK Trails are fun, healthy, and free. Children can record their adventures at to earn prizes and plan more adventures.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation launched their Kids in Parks program in 2012 to help get kids and families “un-plugged,” outdoors, and actively engaged in the natural, cultural and historic resources. Kids who register their TRACK Trail adventures on the Kids in Parks website become members of the program’s Trail TRACKer Team and earn incentive prizes such as Trail TRACKer Gear designed to make their next outdoor adventure more interactive and fun.

The nation-wide Kids in Parks program began on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a single trail at the Asheville Visitor Center.

For more information, visit this site.