Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation 2024 Parkway Impact Opportunities

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 8:00 am

Each year, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation collaborates with the National Park Service to identify critical projects that protect and sustain the scenic route. These initiatives are chosen to enhance the journey for the millions of visitors who explore this wondrous landscape to discover the rich historic, cultural, and natural resources it holds.

The Parkway does not charge an admission fee, making it more vulnerable to decreased staffing, maintenance backlogs, and building closures. That is where you come in. On these pages, you’ll find the latest opportunities to shape the future of the Parkway. We invite you to check the boxes on all the projects you would like to support, and then give.

The transformational projects that need your support span all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and total more than $1.6 million. Your gift can enhance the national park and create an even more wonderful place to learn, explore, and enjoy. Please give today!

Create a Better Craggy Gardens

Goal $750,000 – Each donation will be matched by a LIFT Fund grant!

Side view of Craggy Visitor Center and steps leading down to restroomWith its prolific summer blooms of rhododendron and 360-degree mountaintop views, Craggy Gardens is an iconic Parkway destination that is loved by tourists and locals. It ranks as one of the most popular locations in America's most visited national park unit.

Sadly, this recreation area just a short drive north from Asheville is showing extreme deterioration. The 71-year-old visitor center is weathered and run-down. Its restrooms are only accessible via an exterior stairway and are closed seasonally and prone to water system breaks. Information along the trails is minimal, and the picnic area needs significant rehabilitation.

Your donation for this initiative will help fund two sets of permanent, fully accessible, waterless vault toilets at Craggy Visitor Center and another set in the parking lot for Craggy Pinnacle Trail; five new trailhead exhibits; and planning and design work to renovate and improve the visitor center, the picnic area, and other site features.

Your contribution for this project will be matched dollar for dollar by a $750,000 grant from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s new Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund. Please double the impact of your gift and revitalize Craggy Gardens.


Replace the Roof at Mabry Mill

Goal: $65,000 | Remaining need: $37,216

Deteriorating shake roof on Mabry MillIn 1938, the Parkway's most photographed site, Mabry Mill, was almost lost forever. In the early years of Parkway construction, many buildings were either designated to be saved or razed along the route. Although the mill had seen better days when it passed into the possession of the National Park Service, the wood structure landed firmly on the save list. Still, a miscommunication sent a state highway crew to the site to demolish the structure built around 1910. By sheer luck, Park Ranger Edwin Mac Dale spotted the team entering the mill and stopped the destruction just before it started according to the book Ed and Lizzie: The Mabrys and Their Mill written by Michael Ryan.

Today, we are once again in danger of losing this Photo of Mabry Mill and pondbeloved Parkway destination and the stories it passes on. We need your help to replace the mill’s failing roof. The weather-worn shakes are leaking, jeopardizing the ability to visit the mill and the survival of the structure itself. You can ensure the mill continues to share insights about early 20th century life by making a donation to replace the shake roof. This project will be the first phase of improvements to the historic structures onsite. Please give today to allow future visitors to step back in time, just as we have for decades.


Replace Plaster at Flat Top Manor

Goal: $174,617

View of damaged and missing plaster on ceiling at Flat Top ManorCrumbling ceiling plaster in three interior spaces is marring the beauty of the circa-1901 mansion built by Moses and Bertha Cone. In addition to being unsightly and detrimental to the integrity of this historic home, it is a safety issue. As the damaged plaster continues to fall, visitors and employees are exposed to the possibility of being struck by the heavy material falling from the 12-foot ceilings. With a gift, you can fund repairs by professionals who specialize in period plasterwork. Your donation will preserve the historic appearance and structural integrity of this Parkway treasure, and ensure the safety of staff and visitors.


Bass Lake Accessibility Ramp

Goal: $80,000 | Remaining need: $19,230

Current ramp at Bass Lake near comfort stationYou can give more people the chance to enjoy the tranquility of Bass Lake. The flat loop trail around the picturesque lake is a popular destination for High Country residents and visitors alike, especially now that the route is connected to downtown Blowing Rock via a sidewalk. Unfortunately, the ramp that leads to the trail from the parking area is a gravel path that is often eroded by rain, making it difficult for visitors to traverse. Your donation will replace the gravel ramp with a concrete route to the trail and restrooms, giving visitors with mobility limitations safer access to this key feature of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.


Trails & Views Forever

A hiker takes in the mountain view from the Craggy Pinnacle Trail

The Trails & Views Forever program allows donors to tackle crucial improvement and maintenance needs at Parkway recreational areas including campground, trails, picnic areas, and overlooks.

Restore the Views | Goal: $27,000 | Remaining need: $16,800

The Parkway’s designers created astounding roadside overlooks that wow travelers around every corner. Today, many of the views are obscured by overgrown vegetation. With your help, arborist crews will work to reveal the iconic scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina near the border with Virginia.

Launch a Trade Career | Goal: $32,000 | Remaining need: $18,000

There are more than 10,000 signs to maintain on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The park’s sign production center is responsible for designing, fabricating, repairing, and installing these important features that orient and educate visitors with trail maps, overlook names, and more. Through this initiative, you can create an apprenticeship in collaboration with the Appalachian Conservation Corps to pass on the specialized skill set needed for this role. The apprentice will train with park staff for 31 weeks, including during the busiest time of the season, and learn about job opportunities with the National Park Service and Blue Ridge Parkway.

Trail Management and Oversight | Goal: $65,000

Despite the Parkway’s 88-year history and hundreds of miles of trails, it wasn’t until recently that the National Park Service welcomed a team member focused solely on the oversight of hiking routes in the park. 

The role of Trail Program Coordinator was created thanks to your foresight. By providing continued support for this key position, work can move forward to identify trail program priorities and coordinate projects with Parkway staff, volunteers, adjacent public land agencies, and partner organizations such as the US Forest Service, state parks, Friends of Mountains to Sea Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Carolina Mountain Club. The park deserves a dedicated point person to care for the trails that leads us through the natural wonders of the mountains.

Trail Needs | Goal: $85,000

Considering 16.7 million visitors flocked to the Parkway in 2023, the number of people exploring the trails in the national park is only expected to climb. More than 369 miles of trails in the national park lead visitors across rolling fields and through sun-dappled forests, up craggy mountainsides and down into lush valleys. In addition to official park trails and social paths, the Parkway intersects with the Appalachian Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail. Keeping each step of the way safe for visitors with minimal impacts on the surrounding ecosystems is a tall task.

By helping to fund a thorough inventory of trails within the national park, you can give the Trail Program Manager and volunteer crews the assessment tools and critical information they need to prioritize and plan trail improvements while carefully considering the impacts to the landscape.

Linville Gorge Trail | Goal: $25,000 | Remaining need: $12,500

You can help repair the trail that leads to Linville Falls, one of the most iconic outdoor destinations in North Carolina. The Linville Gorge Trail poses serious safety concerns with several downed trees, uneven and unstable terrain, and a steep, sloped tread that is eroding into the Linville River. Your gift will bring in a Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards team to clear trees, install rock structures including stone steps and retaining walls, and create sidehill reinforcements at several major erosion areas.

Humpback Rocks Trail | Goal: $15,000 | FUNDED

Humpback Rocks Trail is an extremely popular hiking route, so popular that erosion and vegetation loss are significant and the possibility for injuries to visitors is a concern. Your support will allow the National Park Service to work with a consultant to realign the lower third of the route to protect natural resources and ensure its safe use.


Repair Museum of North Carolina Minerals

Goal: $43,000 | Remaining need: $5,000

Museum of North Carolina minerals buildingSince 1955, the Museum of North Carolina Minerals has served as a hub of information about the area’s rich mineral resources and mining heritage. Constructed in part with stone quarried at Grandfather Mountain, the aging building's exterior requires repairs, including the replacement of damaged wood and fresh paint. Inside, the building needs a new HVAC system to ensure adequate climate control to protect the exhibits. This project also includes refreshing the landscaping around the museum, installation of a new flagpole, and a ground inspection to address any drainage issues. Your gift will help ensure this educational site continues to be an inviting and educational destination for visitors.


Provide interpreter programs at Crabtree Falls

Goal: $8,000

Crabtree FallsThe Parkway is a fascinating place, and sometimes visitors need a little help to get to know it better. With the addition of an interpreter-in-residence at Crabtree Falls, the National Park Service will be able to expand its services for visitors to include demonstrations, campfire programs, and guided hikes. This popular spot has seen an increase in campers in recent years, making it an ideal place to station a knowledgeable interpreter to share details about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.


Debut New Programs at The Bluffs Restaurant

Goal: $25,000

The Bluffs is known as a must-visit destination for homestyle meals and hospitality on the Parkway. Now, the Foundation is expanding its role at the restaurant by offering educational events and popups that celebrate heritage foodways and build community connections. With a contribution, you can ensure The Bluffs continues to delight thousands of diners with delicious food and experiences that showcase mountain culture.


Boost Volunteers' Impact

Goal: $15,000

A volunteer rover at Devil's Courthouse overlookIn 2023, the Parkway hosted more than 800 volunteers who dedicated more than 45,000 hours to critical operational support and visitor services in the national park, from repairing trails and protecting rare plants to directing visitors on their journey. These energetic and dedicated volunteers require training, uniforms, and equipment to perform their jobs safely and successfully. You can make sure they receive the tools, gear, learning opportunities, and recognition they need for a rewarding role, while greatly expanding outreach to visitors yearning to enjoy all the park has to offer.


Kids in Parks

Children line up to cut a ribbon to open a new Kids in Parks trail at Mount Mitchell

Our signature Kids in Parks program is a network of 275 hiking, biking, paddling and disc golf trails outfitted with free activity guides for children and families. The goal behind these TRACK Trails is to encourage kids to be physically active and help them build meaningful connections with nature using self-guided brochures and a new web-app. In turn, these activities help inspire the next generation of stewards, who will care for all public lands, including the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here are ways you can support the program:

Build a TRACK Trail | $6,500 per trail

You can turn an existing trail into a family-friendly TRACK Trail adventure. Your contribution will provide one park with a trailhead kiosk, four custom activity brochures designed to engage visitors in the natural or historic resources, a feature page on, and prizes for children who “track” their outdoor adventures through the web-app.

TRACK Trail Mini | $2,500 per trail

TRACK Trail Minis are a perfect option for small parks or sites and offer all of the perks of the program’s standard TRACK Trails; however, the trailhead kiosks are smaller and feature just one self-guided brochure.

Reward Young Explorers | $5 per prize package

After children log their adventure through the Kids in Parks web-app they receive prizes in the mail. With a gift to support these free rewards, you can encourage children to continue their exploration of nature and the program's TRACK Trails. Imagine their excitement as they open an envelope containing a Trail TRACKer Passport booklet to record future outings and collect TRACK Trail stickers featuring flora, fauna, historic structures, and scenery from the trail they visited; a carabiner keychain; and a collectible prize card with educational information and activities. For $5, you are introducing another child to the wonders of the outdoors. This is an excellent choice for our monthly giving program.


Blue Ridge Music Center

Sarah McCombie plays banjo and Austin McCombie plays guitar on the amphitheater stage at the Blue Ridge Music Center

Cultural preservation is a core element of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s mission, and we advance that goal by supporting projects and programs at the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 in Virginia.

Keep Tunes and Tales Alive | Goal: $70,000

At the Blue Ridge Music Center, the sounds of the mountains are preserved, interpreted, and celebrated through the annual summer concert series hosted in the outdoor amphitheater with beautiful Fisher Peak as the backdrop. However, concert ticket sales, grants, and sponsorships do not cover the costs of all the dynamic programs offered spring through fall. With a donation, you can ensure that the music of the mountains comes to life and a treasured aspect of the region's cultural heritage remains vibrant.

Grow Milepost Music | Goal: $30,000

Milepost Music is a series of free summer concerts hosted from June through Septemberat popular destinations on the Parkway. These Sunday afternoon shows supplement educational programs for visitors as park staffing shortages continue and help support local and regional musicians. Because of the success of past seasons, the Music Center is increasing the number of concerts at Humpback Rocks, Mabry Mill, Doughton Park, and the Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville this year. You can share the joy of mountain music with a gift that supports artist fees, production costs, advertising and administration/coordination of this impactful cultural series.

Share a New Exhibit | Goal: $5,500

With your help, the exhibition Half-Tone Folk Heroes: Traditional Musicians as Pop Art will go on display in the Luthier Shop at the Music Center. The collection of illustrations by Gina Dilg, a visual artist and musician from Radford, Va., pays tribute to the oldtime, bluegrass, early country, and blues folk artists who have inspired generations, including the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Joe and Odell Thompson, Samantha Bumgarner, and Etta Baker. Your donation will help share a fun and fresh perspective on the intersection of visual arts and music with thousands of visitors.

Light up the Stage | Goal: $63,000 | Remaining need: $43,147

Crowd sits in amphitheater looking at lighted stage at night at Blue Ridge Music CenterThe Music Center’s stage lighting currently operates with outdated, high wattage lamps that are expensive to replace and difficult to source because the bulbs are no longer manufactured. This lighting is no longer sustainable. With a donation, you can fund LED fixtures and converters that will supply energy efficient lighting that will shine for years to come.

Ambassadors | Goal: $28,550

The National Park Service faces many challenges when hiring staff for Parkway roles, including decreased funding and labor force shortages. To maintain enriching and engaging experiences at the Music Center, you can provide support for Visitor Experience Ambassadors and Event Logistics Coordinators who will share programs and information and assist visitors coming to Music Center programs and events from June through October. With one full-time and/or multiple part-time ambassador staff, the Foundation will supplement current National Park Service staff at this popular cultural destination.

Repair Solar Lights | Goal: $12,000

After the sun sets behind the hills and the final round of applause fades, crowds stream out of the amphitheater. You can make sure the walk to their cars is just another part of a safe and enjoyable evening by funding repairs to solar lights used to illuminate the parking lot. Please help reduce the chance of injury or accident for concertgoers and the staff who are responsible for traffic control.


Blue Ridge Rising: Help the Region Soar

The Foundation and gateway communities along the Parkway are entering a new phase of the Blue Ridge Rising initiative. After hosting more than 35 meetings in 29 counties and the inaugural Blue Ridge Rising Two-State Summit, we are now working to implement the strategies prioritized in the Blue Ridge Rising Action Plan, a guide that highlights the next steps in this collaborative process.

The Parkway is the thread that ties Blue Ridge communities together, but it is the communities that amplify a wealth of rich experiences for travelers, and thus enhancing the prosperity of the entire region. The music, history, culture, craft traditions, and natural wonders of the mountains know no boundaries, including those of the national park.

You can play a role in unifying and strengthening the connection between neighboring communities and the national park. When you support the Blue Ridge Rising initiative, you are lifting an entire region. Here are the six key focus areas where your contribution can make an impact:

Capacity Building

  • Secure sustainable funding from varied sources to implement the Blue Ridge Rising Action Plan. 
  • Increase staffing at the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and partner organizations to execute the initiatives in the action plan.
  • Continue to foster regional collaboration through inclusive committees, meetings, grantmaking, and conferences.


  • Support and expand youth conservation opportunities within Parkway communities to provide job skills to younger workers, while also completing trails and reducing wildfire hazards in the park.
  • Encourage regional universities, community colleges, and K-12 systems to develop and expand hospitality management and natural resource programs.


  • Develop wayfinding solutions at key intersections to lead tourists to local communities and Parkway amenities.
  • Create regional travel itineraries that showcase the unique aspects of local communities.
  • Develop a visual trail program that encourages visitors to explore arts, culture, and historic downtowns in the Parkway communities.

Unified Regional Voice

  • Encourage additional federal funding for Parkway operations and maintenance to maintain tourism traffic and local spending.
  • Establish a Parkway coalition composed of elected officials and community leaders, with representatives from the entire Blue Ridge Rising region.

Resource Protection

  • Promote voluntary protection of key viewsheds and other natural resources by working with agencies and land trusts to identify and conserve the unprotected lands that are most valuable to the Parkway and local communities.
  • Encourage protection of dark sky resources by surveying and seeking official designations for the region’s best dark sky areas.

Visitor Experiences

  • Develop new and existing trails and greenways to connect gateway communities to the Parkway, adjoining public lands, and each other.
  • Improve bicycle access and safety on the Parkway and on roads that connect the Parkway to gateway communities.
  • Promote, support, and fill gaps in storytelling about the region, such as Appalachian heritage, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Black history, and Blue Ridge mountain music.
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