The National Park Service is considering applying for National Historic Landmark status for the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Adventure Cycling blog explains why this is bad for cyclists and other non-motorized trail users, setting a bad precedent for parks and trails around the country:
"The Blue Ridge Parkway is applying for National Historic Landmark (NHL) status as a way to manage the parkway under the financial strain of diminishing national park budgets. However, the designation clearly sets a bad precedent -- one that cannot be easily undone. Under this status, any changes within the parkway will go under intense historic and environmental review, called the Section 106 process. This could halt or stagnate trail building, road maintenance, or any number of future improvements for bicycle access. In addition, other national parks could begin using this designation to “preserve” the status quo. Despite the growing interest in bicycling, park managers wouldn't have to accommodate cyclists or other non-motorized and alternative transportation users."
The National Park Service is accepting public comments online and by mail until December 16 (fast approaching!) http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=355&projectI...
Apologies for cross-posting; this has been making the rounds on other bike sites but I didn't see anything on the Chainlink about it. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful resource for cyclists and makes a great cycling vacation!
done. I'm kinda busy today so I just blasted this off on the comment form:
|mments:||Topic Question 1: The automobile centric aspects of the plan alternative "promoting the driving experience" is distressing to me. I've only been on the Parkway once, and it was one of the more enjoyable experiences of my life. From my vantage point as a motorcyclist I decided that the next time I rode the Parkway it would be on a bicycle so that I could enjoy the beauty at a more natural, unhurried pace.
I really appreciate all your hard work in maintaining and preserving this national treasure of ours. Thank you very much for your work and for your attention to my concerns.
I've ridden most of the northern section of the Parkway and Skyline Drive. In 1998 three friends and I took Amtrak to Washington DC, rode across the Key Bridge, picked up the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Path to get us through the suburbs, and then on to Front Royal where we began our climb up to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
For a midwest cyclist, that's tough bikin'...all hills! But we spent the next week biking south. Each night we'd drop down into the Virginia countryside to dine and rest. And then back up the next morning. When we finally decided we'd had enough, why we just dropped down to the Amtrak and rode back to Chicago in comfort. To appear as an organized ride, we all had matching bike jerseys. And never had any problem with cars...trucks are not permitted on the BRP. There are several published guides on this biking trip. So I recommend the ride to all. I fail to see how "Landmark" status would degrade cyclists' experience on this ride. IMO if NPS campgrounds are closed along the route it will mean fewer RV's and huge trailers...a plus for cyclists!