Friday, May 11, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway Seeks Public Input for Official Trailhead and Access Locations

The Blue Ridge Parkway has partnered with Buncombe County's Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services (BCPGRS) in the planning process of the Greenways and Trails Master Plan for the County, which will identify greenway connections mutually beneficial to the Parkway and the County. The goal of the public process is to find the most optimum locations for these connections.

This partnership is part of a larger Parkway-specific scoping project for the Asheville Corridor. Increased use and resultant resource damage and safety concerns have created the need for the Blue Ridge Parkway to undertake the Asheville Comprehensive Access and Trail Study.

Park staff have inventoried the parking locations, Mountains to Sea Trail access, unauthorized trails, and safety issues from Craven Gap (MP 380) to the ramp at Brevard Road/191 (MP 395). The goal of this study is to identify the trailheads, access, and parking locations that will be designated as official public access, as well as which areas may be closed to facilitate rehabilitation of resources or for safety concerns. Once the appropriate access and parking locations have been identified, the Parkway will look specifically at each site and begin planning improvements that are developed sustainably to meet the National Park Service mission of protecting natural and cultural resources, providing quality visitor experiences, and improving the safety of our visitors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway's scoping process will be conducted in conjunction with the County's public meetings to gather public input for the County's Greenways Master Plan. Parkway staff will be at the meetings with more information regarding the trailhead analysis. All meetings will be held from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, and will be open house to allow participants to arrive and leave at their convenience. Meeting dates and locations are listed below.

The National Park Service will be accepting public comments beginning May 14, 2012 through June 1, 2012. During the 36-day review period, only written comments will be accepted. Comments can be submitted via comment forms at the public meetings, or via the park's planning website. Comments must be submitted or be postmarked by midnight on June 1, 2012 to be considered.

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment - including your personal identifying information - may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your correspondence to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The following is the public meeting schedule:

May 14: Weaverville Town Hall - 30 South Main Street Weaverville, NC 28787

May 15: Skyland Fire Department - 9 Miller Rd Skyland NC 28776

May 21: AB Tech Enka campus - Haynes Conference Center - 1459 Sand Hill Road Candler, NC 28715

May 22: NC Dept. of Cultural Resources - 176 Riceville Road Asheville, NC 28805


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