Monday, December 10, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation Launches 469 Challenge

For the second time in two years, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation announces a year-end giving initiative - the 469 Challenge.

Inspired by the miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 469 Challenge is an end-of-year effort to bring in one donation for every mile. According to Director of Development Christy Bell, “The 469 Challenge is our way to show the Parkway what it means to us. This campaign focuses on the act of giving, and gifts of any size will help us complete this challenge. This is a great opportunity for all Parkway neighbors and enthusiasts to get involved and really make a difference!” The 469 Challenge takes place during the last two months of the year, In 2011, the Foundation raised 452 donations towards the 469 Challenge. As of December 5th, the Foundation has raised 233 donations towards the 2012 Challenge.

As the primary fundraiser and trusted steward for the Parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is charged with preserving the past, enhancing the present and safeguarding the future of the Parkway. Since its founding in 1997, it has worked in close cooperation with the National Park Service to meet the needs of the Parkway, providing over $3.4 million to fund needed projects that enhance and protect the natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities that make the Parkway an American treasure. In 2012, the Foundation has funded projects at popular spots including Graveyard Fields near Asheville, the Heart Pond and Price Lake in Blowing Rock, and Abbott Lake near Roanoke. The Foundation also funds year-round initiatives like Parks as Classrooms, allowing interpretive rangers go into schools in Parkway communities to connect students to the natural world and the cultural heritage of the region in a way that is real and meaningful, making over 45,000 contacts with schoolchildren annually.

With over 16 million visitors a year, the Parkway is the most visited unit of the National Park Service, more than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined. Yet with no entrance fee like these and other parks, declining federal budgets and the vast needs of an aging and expansive resource, the Parkway must rely on those who value it to continue to be the priceless resource treasured by millions. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation seeks the help of all Parkway neighbors and enthusiasts to complete the 469 Challenge to help protect the Parkway for today and the future.

You can learn more or donate online at

Hiking in the Smokies

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