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Spring/Summer 2013



A publication by FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway dedicated to increasing environmental education, interpretation and awareness of the Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding corridor.


Mark Dempsey Palmer L. Bland, Jr. William F. Mason, Jr., Esquire Nye Simmons, M.D.


features 3 Blooms in Spring ~ Carolina Silverbells 4 Students Return To The Blue Ridge Parkway 7 Blue Ridge Parkway Biodiversity 9 A Parkway Cycling Experience 11 Grover Groundhog’s Kids Corner 13 Reflections on FRIENDS Early Days 15 Guardwall Reconstruction on the Parkway

Ken Randolph, President David Poteet, Vice President Lynn Davis, Secretary J. Richard Wells, Treasurer William Brenton, Jr., CFP Dan Chitwood, Kyle Edgell, Mary Jane Ferguson, Denise Koff, Ben Geer Keys, Jonathan R. Ireland

BOARD EMERITUS Mary Guynn, Dick Patterson, MD, J. Richard Wells

ADVISORY BOARD Marcia and Dave Barstow, Pat and Chuck Blackley George Blanar, Ph.D., Mr. Rupert Cutler, Ph.D. David Harrison, George Humphries, Dr. Harley Jolley, Fredrick Kubik, Cara Ellen Modisett Dick Patterson, M.D., Jamie Prince, Elizabeth Sims, Marie Tambellini


For Sale - Blue Ridge Parkway Poster


ove the cover on this issue of High Vistas? It’s the first in a series of posters featuring the Blue Ridge Parkway. This series of poster is produced by Lantern Press and 5% of the proceeds of the poster sales go to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Order your poster from the FRIENDS website at or scan the QR code!

FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! Thank you, our members, for your years of commitment and loyalty to our organization and the Blue Ridge Parkway. 2

Susan Jackson Mills, Ph.D., Executive Director Fernando Gracia, Director of Programs and Community Outreach Janet Moore, Marketing Consultant Stacey Woods*, Director of Donor Development & Events Jamey Miller*, Marketing Director Mary Ellen Belcher*, VIP Program

VOLUNTEER STAFF Virginia Ehrich and Pauline O’Dell, Membership Kathy Van Duzer and Linda Willard, Office Assistant *Part-time Staff

HIGH VISTAS STAFF Journal Chief: Susan J. Mills, Ph.D. High Vistas Intern Director: Danielle Lovell Editor: David Barstow Graphic Designer: Jill Darlington-Smith Darlington-Smith Graphics Ad Sales: Stacey Woods

The views expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not in any way represent the views of the National Park Service or FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Spring / Summer 2013

Thank You, FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway Article by Congressman Bob Goodlatte


ne of my favorite spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Sharp Top Mountain. While it is a steep hike, the result is well worth it. It’s hard to beat the views of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding peaks from the top! I have many memories of afternoons spent hiking and exploring with my family along the Parkway. The work done by the FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway is

instrumental in protecting some of the most beautiful landscapes in our great nation and promoting the communities along this cherished landmark. As FRIENDS celebrates 25 years, I commend FRIENDS on their work to preserve this national treasure.

Congressman Bob Goo with some FdRlaIEttNe planting trees DS

Blooms In Spring ~ Carolina Silverbells By Su Clauson-Wicker


ou won’t hear bells, but you can sometimes spot the delicate Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina) tree by the buzz. Bees love its dangling bell-shaped flowers that bloom in April and May. In fact, North Carolina and Tennessee beekeepers speak highly of the species as a honey plant. The little silverbell tree, found along the Parkway from Buck Creek Gap to Black Mountain (Mileposts 344 – 355), has an understated elegance from a distance. Her simple elegance can be over shadowed by showier cherries and dwarfed by the more abundant


dogwoods. To truly appreciate her, you must stand close to her silently chiming white bells to admire their perfect shape and the tiny green seed cluster within. The silverbell is a native tree, an understory consort of redbuds, dogwoods and birch. In the wild, it acts more like a huge, spreading shrub than a tree, with several trunks spreading 20 feet laterally as it rises only 20-25 feet in height. Look for it on the woodland edges, particularly along streams, in coves and on moist lower slopes of the mountains. Its mature bark is strikingly veined in gray and black, and its leaves are pleasant and decidedly pest- and disease-resistant. By winter, its showy green four-winged fruits are definitely for the birds and the squirrels. But for about three weeks in spring, the silverbell graces humanity with its breathless bells. These simple, joyous flowers seem the epitome of faith: exquisitely simple, yet powerful. Give them adequate rain and they’ll return again and again. This little tree can live to be 100

and never reach the height of a gabled two-story bungalow. When the leaves are about one-third grown, typically around May at Parkway elevations, the flowers of the silverbell tree will burst into bloom. It has been known as snowdrop-tree or opossumwood in the Southern Appalachians, where its light, close-grained wood has been a favorite for carving and crafts. Silverbells don’t have much of a scent, but the tree has made contributions to the early perfume industry. The bark produces a small amount of benzoin resin oil, which has been occasionally extracted for use in perfumes. True to its name, the Carolina silverbell grows mostly in the Carolinas, eastern Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The species has been successfully cultivated as far north as southern New England and in Europe. The first published description of Carolina silverbell appeared in 1731 in Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina. Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, made a taxonomic description of it in 1759 and named it Halesia carolina L. When compared to dogwood or redbud, it’s relatively rare. So if you spot one on the Parkway, you owe yourself the experience of stopping to rest awhile under its swaying bells. 3

Students Return To The Blue Ridge Parkway By Fernando Gracia


pring break programs are taking place around the country, and for more than 200 students that means a trip not to the beach, but to a national park to participate either in the National Park Service Academy or an “Alternative Break” program. Through these programs, students provide volunteer service to their park while improving park habitats and preparing for careers in an increasingly “green” economy.

I think what stands out the most was the generosity and general goodwill of the FRIENDS group…


“FRIENDS is excited to again sponsor and host FRIENDS’ Alternative Break Program (ABProgram) which both the University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University participate in,” said FRIENDS Executive Director, Susan J. Mills, Ph.D. “FRIENDS chapters are incredible in planning and implementing these programs annually!” FRIENDS’ ABProgram provides college students an opportunity to be immersed in a Blue Ridge Parkway community and engaged in volunteer service. Each ABProgram focuses on Park way needs, such as the maintenance and restoration of Parkway assets. Students develop a lasting relationship with the Parkway and are exposed to social and cultural issues within the park’s communities. Their experience can foster stewardship for America’s parks.

The students worked alongside the FRIENDS Fisher Peak and Rocky Knob Chapters and the National Park Service. The Fisher Peak Chapter is piloting the Adopt-A-Cemetery program, a project that consists of maintaining and collecting data of approximately 40 cemeteries.

Throughout the week, the chapter and students worked with Stephen Kidd, a cultural resource specialist for the Blue Ridge Parkway, to identify, maintain and collect data from approximately six cemeteries. There are many old cemeteries along the Parkway that have lots of history and, in some cases, have been forgotten and are in need of care. The group cleared the cemeteries where necessary, identified and documented each burial headstone, located each grave using GPS, and documented the boundaries. This information will be used by the National Park Service and FRIENDS to further research and document history along the Blue Ridge Parkway. At Doughton Park, the students and FRIENDS volunteers installed 28 water bars and 4 natural dips to prevent erosion of the trail and forest. At a Blue Ridge Music Center trail, the group installed steps in compliance with National Park guidelines to make a steep section of the trail easier to navigate.

Spring / Summer 2013

Most workdays ended with recreational or learning activities. Student learned to flat foot, visited local industries, played regional instruments and much more that added to their personal growth and view of the Blue Ridge. “I think what stands out the most was the generosity and general goodwill of the FRIENDS group,” said Notre Dame student Sam Kaczmarek. “I appreciate

What I valued most were the incredible people we worked with.”

all the trouble people went through to allow us to experience the region and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the FRIENDS group.” For the second year in a row, the Rocky Knob Chapter hosted twelve students from Vanderbilt University. Students traveled to Floyd, Virginia to work and learn about preservation and the local culture through community service and hands-on experiences. The students removed and replaced worn out split rail fencing under the supervision of Parkway employees.

The students also removed downed tree branches and other debris around Mabry Mill. The program included a tour of the R.J. Reynolds Homestead; a discussion on Appalachian culture; a presentation about her falcon and how they hunt together by Lee Chichester and a conversation with Duke University professor Charlie Thompson about moonshine. “Although I learned to build a fence, heard the history behind the moonshine business, and got up close and personal with a falcon, what I valued most were the incredible individuals we worked with,” said Vanderbilt student Scott Head. “We looked up to them during our trip, and now they will forever hold a place in my memory, continuing to impact my regular life. Looking back, I think

about all the once-in-a-lifetime memories we made on the Parkway.” Check out our website at www. to learn more about their experiences and to see more photos. As a FRIENDS member, you make all of these experiences possible! Without YOUR support these programs cannot continue. Please return the enclosed envelope today! 5



t’s about the love, it’s about the devotion, it’s about the passion that FRIENDS of Blue Ridge Parkway have for this exceptional part of our country. Every issue of High Vistas Journal is a testament to the dedication and extraordinary desire of all of the authors, photographers, volunteers and especially the staff to share their commitment to the Parkway. Ranking


number one in visitation rates in the National Park system, each year the Blue Ridge Parkway is host to about 16 million visitors from around the world. A unique member of the National Park system, the Parkway has been designated a National Scenic Byway and an AllAmerican Road. The consistent efforts of FRIENDS and other supporters of the Blue Ridge Parkway help to sustain

the efforts of the National Park rangers, biologists, and interpreters to educate visitors about the unique nature, history, and recreational opportunities along the 469-mile Parkway. We would like to wish FRIENDS of Blue Ridge Parkway a hearty Happy 25th Anniversary! -Ann and Rob Simpson.

Spring / Summer 2013

Blue Ridge Parkway Biodiversity Article and Photographs by Ann and Rob Simpson


onnecting Shenandoah National Park with its southern sister park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway rolls gracefully south through verdant Appalachian forests for 469 matchless miles. Known worldwide for its picturesque scenery, the Parkway passes through five mountain ranges in the Central and Southern Appalachians and four National Forests. One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Appalachians are an ancient landform once resembling the mighty Himalayas. Over time, wind and water have softened the towering jagged mountains into endless pageants of waving, rolling crests that sweep into yawning valleys and flower-filled meadows. Untouched by the glaciers of the last ice age, the moderate climate and mild temperatures surrounding the Parkway have created one of the most biologically diverse temperate areas in the world. As the longest continuous route into the Appalachian Mountains, the Parkway plays a major role in the protection of some of the richest natural habitats in the United States. With an elevation range from roughly 650 feet at the James River to 6,047 feet at Richland Balsam, the diversity of flora and fauna is exceptional. Over 2,074 species of vascular plants have been identified here, including twentyfour which are considered globally rare and seven that are globally imperiled.

Hundreds of species of animals call the Parkway home with seventy-four listed as globally rare and nine listed as threatened and endangered. The forest types of the Blue Ridge range from the drier oak-hickories in the northern section to the lush cove forests of magnolias and tulip trees in the central section. Dark green spruce and fir trees characterize the southernmost section in the high elevations of the Balsam Mountains. The cool and wet habitats of the Southern Appalachian region provide an ideal climate for organisms such as salamanders, millipedes and fungi. Several salamanders that have been discovered on the Blue Ridge are very unique. Some of them, such as the Peaks of Otter salamander, are so restricted in range that the entire world’s population is protected within the Parkway’s boundaries. The cool mountain streams provide habitat for native Eastern brook trout and unique fish, such as the Blue Ridge sculpin, as well as many endemic species of small minnows. Along with a pleasant driving experience, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers visitors many opportunities to explore the diversity of nature found here. Hundreds of trails are available from easy leg-stretchers for time pressed visitors to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Appalachian Trail that challenge marathon hikers. Spectacular waterfalls include Crabtree, Linville, and the falls

at Graveyard Fields. At the James River Visitor Center at Milepost 63.8, the selfguiding 0.5 mile Trail of Trees is a great place to learn to identify native southern

The self-guiding 0.5 mile Trail of Trees is a great place to learn to identify native southern Appalachian hardwoods. Appalachian hardwoods, as many of the trees along the trail are labeled with their name and natural history information. From graceful trillium to colorful rhododendrons, wildflower enthusiasts enjoy the great diversity of plants species that are found in the southern Appalachians. The exquisite southern red trillium puts on a colorful display in April and May at Mabry Mill at Milepost 176.2. At Milepost 364.6, the Craggy Gardens area is beautiful any time of year but especially during the second or third week in June when you can find spectacular native Catawba rhododendrons in full bloom. While enjoying the Park’s many natural resources, please do not pick any wildflowers or remove any natural objects, always maintain a safe distance from wildlife and never feed wildlife, as this will disrupt the homes of all these species. 7

FRIENDS President’s Message Dear FRIENDS, As we begin our celebration of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 25th Anniversary, it is important to remember why our organization exists – to support the Blue Ridge Parkway. This national treasure is the reason why over 16 million visitors come every year. It is the reason why many local businesses exist, with the Parkway having a $2.3 billion impact on the local economies. The Parkway provides an opportunity to appreciate the four National Forests through which it crosses. It also creates a chance for recreation with over 369 miles of trails, 9 campgrounds, 13 picnic areas, 14 visitor centers; and 469-miles of roadway. It is an opportunity to learn and discover something from over 1,000 demonstrations, special events, and programs. It is a reservoir of special, natural and cultural resources that we must protect for future generations. It is a place where memories are made and futures are planned out. But the sad truth is that our beloved Blue Ridge Parkway is in danger of becoming just a memory, and not part of our future. Many of you have read and are well aware of the effects that the Sequestration has had on our national parks, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway. If not, let me inform you of the devastating effects it is having on our Park right now and for many years to come. The park’s budget of approximately $15-million will face another budget cut of 5% ($785,000) for the entire fiscal year; but since the cut did not begin until half the year had passed, the effect is more like a 10% reduction on the balance of the year’s funding. This means that the 16-million visitors that are expected to visit the Parkway this year can expect reduced facilities at picnic areas, visitor centers and campgrounds, fewer ranger-led walks and talks, and possibly a shorter season. Despite the cuts, the Parkway will have to accommodate just as many visitors as before, and maintain just as many important assets and valuable landmarks. Unfortunately, this has been the trend for many years; as the Parkway has lost more than 25% of its staff over the last ten years, and the Sequestration is another layer of cuts on top of this downward spiral. Where does the Parkway look for help? FRIENDS is responding to this call for relief by recruiting more volunteers for projects, assisting Parkway staff with volunteer training, and engaging Parkway communities in volunteerism. If it wasn’t

obvious already, the time is now for the Parkway’s support groups, friends, and its communities to make a commitment for the future sustainability of our park. FRIENDS’ members are some of the most committed ambassadors for our Parkway, but we encourage you to do more during this pressing time. Communication is the key; so please help to inform your communities, organizations and peers of the dire need and how they can support the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the beginning of a great opportunity to join the struggle for the future of our parks. The time is now, and it is folks like you that will provide an opportunity for future generations to discover and appreciate the beauty of the Parkway. Don’t let the Parkway become just a memory.

Thank you for your loyalty and support of FRIENDS!

TH A N KS TO OUR IN-K IND CONTR IBUTORS We wish to thank the following for their important in-kind contributions: Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center Wildflour Restaurant & Bakery Mr. Bill’s Wine Shop, Plastics One Hampton Inn Biltmore Square (Asheville, NC) Darlington-Smith Graphics If your name did not appear on the list and you made a contribution between October 2012 - March 2013, please contact us at 540.772.2992.


Spring / Summer 2013

A Parkway Cycling Experience By Su Clauson-Wicker


an McGilliard and her six girlfriends still refer to their 10 days on the Blue Ridge Parkway as the trip of a lifetime. They never hit a winery, a concert, or a gift shop. “The Parkway itself was our experience – oh, those gorgeous views,” McGilliard says. “It was great that we could eat anything we wanted, day after day, without gaining weight.” That’s one of the benefits of bicycling the Parkway – all of it. In August 2008, McGilliard and her Virginia friends rode the length of the Parkway plus Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive – about 600 miles -- in just 10 days. All but two of the women were over 45, some well over. “We trained for at least eight months,” said McGilliard, who was almost 60 at the time. “We did strength training and spinning (cycle) classes all winter and rode when the weather was good.” Although the women went prepared with chain lube, extra tubes, bandages, and aspirin, no one ever had a flat tire, a medical problem, or even an argument. And when the going got rough, out came the pep talks. “We’d talk some as we rode, but we mostly enjoyed the gorgeous scenery,” McGilliard said. “We saw blooming

rhododendron, bear, turkey, deer and a couple of timber rattlers.” The seven liked to challenge themselves, so they biked hard and rose every morning before 6am to beat the heat. They ate breakfast and sometimes lunch on their bicycles and favored 300-calorie breakfast cookies and peanut butter. For dinner, they loaded up in the support van that a husband was driving and went out somewhere nice. Often, they’d eat again before bed. They always spent the night in a motel they’d pre-booked. They stopped at general stores for food and sometimes for pancakes. Mabry Mill’s homeground flapjacks were a big hit. “We pedaled 50-85 miles a day, but we enjoyed it,” McGilliard said. “Other

people might plan a more leisurely trip of 20-25 miles a day with more sightseeing. They might want to carry a tent and camp. There are all kinds of ways to do a Parkway cycling trip.” McGillian’s group loved the Parkway’s stunning vistas, slower traffic, and workout potential. On their first day, they climbed 2,400 feet. Some calves and other body parts were sore the next day. “When I was really tired, I’d focus and think, ‘I can do this,’” McGillian said. “I knew I’d put in the time and training.” A downhill ride was the reward waiting at the end of those long climbs. The women occasionally surpassed posted speed limits of 35 mph on downward curves. The scariest part of the trip, Gilliard said, was the tunnels. Twentyfive of the 26 tunnels are located in the rugged North Carolina mountains. “They were pitch black inside, and we just hoped the cars following us would see our reflectors,” McGillian said. Pre-planning made the trip work. When the women found that a North Carolina section of the Parkway was closed, creating a detour onto an interstate, they arranged for an escort. They knew where they would be spending each night and where they’d be stopping for a snack or to refill their water bottles – very important on a cycling trip. McGilliard said, “Every day was an adventure - the landscape was always changing. I’d like to do it again.” 9

FRIENDS is Celebrating Our 25th Anniversary! Thanks to all of our members for supporting us over the years.


e salute each of you. Through your financial support and faithful contributions, the important work of FRIENDS continues. If you made a contribution of $250 or more between March 01, 2012 and February 28, 2013 and your name does not appear on this list, please notify us at 800.228.PARK (7275).

Parkway Friends Trustee $1,000 and Over Adams Construction Alpha Natural Resources Appalachian Power Arcadia Publishing, Inc. Associated Asphalt Bank of America Charitable Foundation Beirne Carter Foundation Brenton Group Bruce Ford Brown Charitable Trust Burrows Charitable Foundation Cardinal Glass Industries, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. William D. Carter The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina County of Roanoke Dickson Foundation, Inc. Dominion Foundation Ms. Betty L. Dunn Dr. Linda E. Durham Mary Ann Elliott Foundation

Marian E. English Farrell Foundation Foundation for Roanoke Valley Mr. Gordon Hall Mrs. June S. Hennage James River Equipment Virginia, LLC Lanford Brothers Company, Inc. Leisure Publishing Company Mrs. Barbara J. Morris National Environmental Education & Training Foundation New City Media, Inc. Partners in Financial Planning, LLC Plastics One, Inc. Mr. David Poteet Roanoke Regional Partnership Rockydale Quarries Corporation Separation Technologies, LLC Mr. and Mrs. Bruce A. Stonestreet Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program

Parkway Friends Trustee $500 to $999 Mr Palmer L. Bland Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Boucher Brenton Group/LaCroix Carter Machinery Company, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel S. Chitwood Dominion Air & Machinery Mr. Stephen English Fleet Feet Sports Roanoke Mr. and Mrs. Phil Francis Mr. Julius C. Hubbard Mr. and Mrs. Philip G. Kinken Dr. and Mrs. Wood N. Lay David and Susan Lennox Dave and Margaret Melchior

The Newbern Foundation Patrick County Fredric and Mary L. Pement Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Ravenhorst Dr. and Mrs. William R. Richardson Rish Equipment Company Roanoke Cement Mr. Loren M. Rogers Scott Insurance Mr. W. Kelly Smith Mr. David Wallenborn Karen Waldron and Shawn Ricci Wal-Mart Foundation Mr. Dan Wells

Parkway Friends Trustee $250 to $499 Mr. Norman Addington Asheville Bear Creek RV Park Bank of America Bernhardt Furniture Company Timothy and Vickie Bibee Mr. and Mrs. Bill Blandford Blue Ridge Beverage Co., Inc. Boitnott & Schaben, LLC John H. and Ruth Ann Bowman Branch Banking and Trust Company Dr. Dale and Rev. Linda Browne Cambria Suites Roanoke Mrs. Nell C. Clark Common Ground Distributors, Inc. Corvesta Cox Communications Crosskeys Vineyards Javad and Brenda Deganian Gail and Stephen Dula Ms. Margaret H. Gamble Mr. and Mrs. Ray L. Garland GE Foundation Glade Valley Bed and Breakfast Mr. Robert C. Greear Mrs. Carole Groce Ivan and Alicia Handwerk Mr. and Mrs. Tim B. Hilton Dr. and Mrs. Daniel R. Jones Mr. and Mrs. Ben Geer Keys Denise and Marc Koff Mr. and Mrs. Herbert L. Lawton Susan and Bob Mills

Mr. William E. Monroe Tom and Sally Moore Ms. Jean Nydegger Mrs. Jean W. Parrish Robert and Martha Pierce Pine Wind Music, Inc. Precision Management, LLC Sheila and Jerry Ray David and Judith Reemsnyder Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Lane Reese Rachel and George Sanborn Schrimsher Properties Dr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Sikes Mr. Larry Sipos Mr. David Sutton Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club Nancy Tannenbaum and John Becton Dr. Jane K. Testerman Mrs. Judy Lynn Trimble Ms. Phyllis Vance Walkabout Outfitter Ms. Patricia H. Wellington Tom and Linda Willard Ms. Emma J. Windham Tom and Candy Wood Emily and Chip Woodrum Ken and Peggy Wright

Memorials Leonard Groce Given by Mrs. Carole Groce Dottie S. Hubbard Given by Mr. Julius C. Hubbard, Jr. E. C. Morris Given by Mrs. Barbara J. Morris Laurie Pilkerton Given by Marian E. English

Honorarium Mrs. Joanna B. Trimble Given by Mrs. Judy Lynn Trimble

Return the enclosed envelope to support FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s capital campaign for our 25th Anniversary! 10

Spring / Summer 2013

Grover Groundhog’s Kids Corner Hey Kids! Grover Groundhog here - the official mascot of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by to learn more because there’s SO much to know about our Parkway. Don’t forget - the best way to learn about the Parkway is to get outside and have fun on it! And while you’re out there, help me spread the word about keeping the Parkway beautiful and clean by following these guidelines: ✔✔ Don’t be a litter bug! Put litter where it belongs - in trash cans or recycling bins. ✔✔ Leave the pretty flowers for everyone to enjoy. ✔✔ Watch the critters from a distance and never feed or frighten them. ✔✔ Stay on trails and paths when you’re in the woods. Straying into natural areas may destroy endangered plants and disrupt the homes of our animal friends! ✔✔ Be careful with campfires and always make sure you have a grown-up nearby. ✔✔ Tell all your friends to practice these habits, too. Be sure to keep in touch with FRIENDS! Send me your stories and drawings about your experiences on the Parkway. I promise I’ll read them all - and you might even find your letter or drawing in one of our magazines or on our website! There are a lot of ways you can keep up with me!

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Spring and Summer are the perfect time to explore Patrick County, VA. Picnics at a covered bridge, canoe rides through the lake or rivers, dancing to traditional mountain music, shopping at an artisan studio, hiking or mountain biking, horseback riding, or fishing. But there’s so much more to discover when you come to Patrick County. Visit us and Experience the Simple Life.


Spring / Summer 2013

Ref lections on FRIENDS Early Days ‘We Are Still Needed’ FRIENDS Organizer Says

by Sally Harris


y the time the Blue Ridge Parkway held its Golden Anniversary celebration in 1985, people were swarming the treasured byway. But money was so tight for national parks that their superintendents called for help. The governors of Virginia and North

Carolina set up a committee to establish Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Parkway Superintendent, Gary Everhardt asked Jack Smith, Executive Vice President of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, to head the group. Lynn Davis and Mary Guynn, of Roanoke and Galax, were natural committee members having worked on the Parkway’s two celebrations with others who would join the FRIENDS effort. Smith provided good guidance, Guynn said. “People were chosen because of their backgrounds in civic work. Everyone in the group had something to offer.” Everhardt fostered excitement for FRIENDS work, Davis said. The committee members traveled throughout the two states for challenging quarterly all-day work sessions and had dinner together afterwards, becoming friends for life. After the meetings, they relentlessly lobbied their home cities and towns along with civic groups asking for support. FRIENDS lost a much-loved leader when Smith died in 1991. Building on Smith’s foundation, FRIENDS became a working organization, not just a support group, Davis said. Moving forward,

Leisure Publishing’s, Richard Wells provided wise, steady guidance until his retirement from the Presidency of FRIENDS to Treasure in 2012. Ken Randolph succeeded Wells as President. FRIENDS, now 10,000 members and 2,000 volunteers strong, establishes youth programs, plants trees, restores splitrail fences, clears trails—whatever needs to be done. Two members dreamed of a music center, and FRIENDS helped with turning the idea into the Blue Ridge Music Center near Galax, Guynn said. Today Guynn is inspiring others! In 2006 she started the first FRIENDS chapter, Fisher Peak, around her kitchen table. Today she continues in her leadership role and shares her passion for the Blue Ridge Parkway. In 2010, Guynn, a former Galax council member and Davis, represented FRIENDS on the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary Committee - the only women who have worked on all Parkway celebrations. Guynn has been honored as a lifetime member, Board Emeritus and remains active with the FRIENDS Fisher Peak Chapter. Davis was just a child when, as soon as it was driveable, her dad took the whole family on the parkway. She deems it “manna in the wilderness for today’s stressed-out citizens” and is compelled to help preserve its values, heritage, and beauty. She has created a traveling parkway exhibit, written grants for projects and worked on its 75th Anniversary symposium. Davis remains on the board having served in all aspects of board work for 25 years. Davis is as committed and dedicated today as she was 25 years ago! Last summer she took her grandchildren from Idaho to the Parkway - they loved it. “I introduced our marvelous parkway to the youngest generation,” she said. “I

can honestly tell my grandchildren that I worked diligently to leave them a national treasure, the Blue Ridge Parkway.” When FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge

“We were really dedicated to doing the work that was needed… we need to increase income to help our park.” Parkway began, money was tight. “We were really dedicated to doing the work that was needed,” Guynn said. “Money remains tight now, we need to increase income to help our park – we are still needed.”

FRIENDS Honors Lynn Davis & Mary Guynn for Their 25 Years of Service FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway honors Lynn Davis and Mary Guynn for their 25 years of dedication and commitment to the organization they began. Today, both Guynn and Davis, are active in FRIENDS. Guynn established and continues to serve on the FRIENDS Fisher Peak Chapter steering committee and Davis remains on the board to provide service and inspire others. Their example reflects what “FRIENDS” stands for today – volunteer service, commitment to the Blue Ridge Parkway and inspiration to others to provide a legacy of dedication! 13




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Beautiful scenic views


Enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast

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Spring / Summer 2013

Guardwall Reconstruction on the Parkway By Karen J. Hall


any years ago, Stanley Abbott, the first landscape architect for the Blue Ridge Parkway took great care in designing the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the construction of the guardwalls. Mr. Abbott insisted they be constructed with native materials located less than 15 miles from the Parkway. The guardwalls help protect from high cliffs or ditches. Over time the mortar has decayed and failed in many of these guardwalls. As they aged, they began to sink and crack making them very unsafe to the public. In 2010, with the assistance of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highways Administration, reconstruction of the stone guardwalls began using the most current engineering standards while

keeping the aesthetic beauty of the view as mandated in the early planning of the Parkway rock structures. How do they do this you ask? Each stone is labeled corresponding to the location in the wall and marked accordingly. Then each stone is removed. A large trench is dug in the wall location and sometimes a concrete footing is poured to stabilize the wall after it is rebuilt. Each stone is then replaced in the exact location from where it was removed. These stones weigh several pounds per square foot, requiring heavy equipment to lift and replace them. During critical times of construction, both lanes of traffic were closed for visitor and worker safety.

Members, Create YOUR Page!


RIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway has a new website – have you checked it out? 25th Anniversary updates to the website will be appearing throughout our celebration. Have you created YOUR PAGE on our website to “FRIENDraise”? The new FRIENDraiser CREATE YOUR PAGE makes it simple for you to raise funds for YOUR Blue Ridge Parkway through FRIENDS. Click on CREATE YOUR PAGE on the home page of our website at or scan this QR Code to visit the page.

Do you have a loved one you would like to honor or remember? Maybe you are celebrating a milestone such as a birthday, anniversary or activity. Or maybe you just want to support a favorite FRIENDS program. The FRIENDraiser Creator is simple and fun to use; just set a FRIENDraiser goal, add a bio and a picture. Once you have set up your page, be sure to send it out to your email contacts, Facebook friends, Google Plus friends and Twitter followers. This can all be done conveniently right from the FRIENDS website. Visit our website today and view a list of FRIENDraiser pages created by FRIENDS just like you. You can check

The Parkway staff finished this reconstruction project without forfeiting the natural aesthetics of the Parkway while meeting current safety standards of the DOT Federal Highways Administration. This project required many detours including one near Sparta, North Carolina that lasted for several months. All closings due to guardwall reconstruction have been reopened. More work will be completed in the future but currently the only closures are for bridge work, road failures, or weather related conditions. For the latest closings and conditions check the website at Resource: R. Steven Kidd’s brochure on “Guardwall Reconstruction Information 2012.” Mr. Kidd is the Cultural Resources Specialist/Archeologist (RPA) for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Follow FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway

out how Tim Peagram is progressing on his 469 mile hike along the Parkway. Then consider donating $1 or more to support Tim and FRIENDS’ work! 15

enew You r Members R o t h ip e m i ? T Give Us A Call! 800.228.7275


PO Box 20986 Roanoke, VA 24018 800.228.PARK (7275) 540.772.2992


Ways Of Giving

he future of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway depends upon YOU, our members. The degree of foresight and generosity of our members will affect the future of the Blue Ridge Parkway for generations to come. There are many ways you can give to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway:

2. I hereby bequeath $___cash, to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose current principle business address for identification purposes is PO Box 20986, Roanoke, Virginia 24018, to be used at its sole discretion for its charitable purposes.

• Remember FRIENDS in your Will It’s simple. Add only one of the following sentences to your Will or do so by using a codicil to your existing Will:

3. I hereby devise the following property to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose current principle business address for identification purposes is PO Box 20986, Roanoke, Virginia 24018, to be used at its sole discretion for its charitable purposes [legal description of property, whether real property or personal property]. Please note that FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway does not give legal advice nor does it in any way practice law.

1. I hereby give ___% of my residuary estate to FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose current principle business address for identification purposes is PO Box 20986, Roanoke, Virginia 24018, to be used at its sole discretion for its charitable purposes.

FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the State of North Carolina and the Commonwealth of Virginia, whose current principle business address for identification purposes is PO Box 20986, Roanoke, Virginia 24018. Tax ID#:58-1854404. FRIENDS would like to keep a record of your foresight and generosity on file. Please contact us at 800.228.PARK (7275), by mail to FRIENDS, P O Box 20986, Roanoke, VA 24018 or by email,

• Give gift memberships to family and friends for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and honorariums • Give gifts of cash or marketable securities • Give a gift of real estate

High vistas ss2013