Thursday, January 26, 2006

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Count Continues to Drop

A decline in the number of visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway has led to some concern about trends in parkway usage.

Last year, 18.7 million people visited the parkway, according to preliminary figures released this month. It’s the third year of decline in a row, a 6.3 percent drop from 19.9 million in 2004 and 20.2 million in 2003.

Officials have attributed the drop to everything from gas prices to the weather, but a tightening of National Park Service funding may also be contributing to the disappointing numbers.

Camping stays also declined last year, to 65,630 nights last year from 88,561 in 2004. Noblitt attributed this both to the rainy weather and the primitive facilities.

The parkway covers 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia. Full Story...

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