Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Fascinating Story at 75: The Blue Ridge Parkway--Part 4-- Growth

From the Summer 2010 Blue Ridge Digest.

When World War II began, about 170 miles were open to travel and another 160 under construction. Obviously, money was needed elsewhere during the war years and as a result, by the early 1950s, only half of the Parkway was finished.

Then, the National Park Service launched a ten-year development program called Mission 66 to have the whole thing opened by 1966. The initiative was very successful and by the target year, all but 7.7 miles at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina was finished.

The mountain's owner, Hugh Morton, objected to the proposed construction, citing the fragility of the mountain's ecology. After years of negotiating, the revolutionary Linn Cove Viaduct opened in 1987, completing the Blue Ridge Parkway's 469-mile route.

Today, the Parkway is the nation's most-visited unit in the system with an average 16 million people a year.

But one of those has not been me. Hoping to change that this coming year if gas doesn't get too expensive.

Get Me to the BRP. --RoadDog

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