Just a few weeks ago the Blue Ridge Parkway held its annual VIP recognition luncheon. Over 100 volunteers gathered to celebrate their service and honor this year’s VIP award recipients. These honorees painted a picture of the diverse opportunities to volunteer up and down the Parkway. Some assisted with maintenance, including painting and washing signs, helping with the upkeep of historic cemeteries, and clearing trails. Others helped with interpretation and visitor experiences, including gathering oral histories from local community members, researching and creating programming about the Civil War in the mountains, and acting as campground hosts.

In other news at the Parkway, the Association for National Park Rangers held a conference in Asheville. Part of the conference included a service project. About 25 conference attendees cleaned up a trail at the Folk Art Center, and also picked up trash and branches alongside the Parkway, which is helpful for the maintenance staff when mowing.