Partners gather for Graveyard Fields ribbon-cutting

Jul 30, 2014

Graveyard Fields is one of the most popular spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway and on Aug. 4, you can join the National Park Service, U.S Forest Service and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to celebrate its official reopening after extensive trail improvements, construction of new restrooms and expanded parking area.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Graveyard Fields at Milepost 419 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The vision for this project started over five years ago with a partnership between the National Park Service, Forest Service and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Although the conversation and planning started with these three partners, the final result was only possible because of the dedication and contribution of many of the Foundation’s Community of Stewards members.

The Foundation secured a Scenic Byways grant of $261,000 and committed to raising over $65,000 in matching funds.  To date, The Foundation’s Community of Stewards has contributed over $25,000 to the project, leaving almost $40,000 still to raise. “We have had over 100 donors and supporters of the project thus far and donations are still coming in”, said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “This project is a great example of the power of the Parkway in rallying our Community of Stewards together to make a difference.”

The project is supported by individual donors both large and small, local community groups such as the Fund for Haywood County and the Asheville BMW Riders and significant in-kind contributions from Bonesteel Films and the Steep Canyon Rangers who joined together to create a music video to raise awareness around the needs at Graveyard Fields.

Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods, who will be at the ribbon-cutting celebration stated, “This project is a wonderful enhancement to Graveyard Fields and will enrich the experience of visitors to the site while helping to protect the fragile resource. This partnership will have lasting impacts for years to come, and I would like to thank all of those who made this possible.”

“These improvements will provide visitors with an enhanced recreational experience well into the future,” said Kristin Bail, Forest Supervisor of the Forest Service’s National Forests of North Carolina. “We appreciate the time, energy and work that the partners provided to make these renovations a reality.”

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