On Monday, October 22, Representative Virginia Foxx hosted a roundtable discussion in Blowing Rock, focusing on the deferred maintenance backlog for the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS manages more than 400 park units throughout the US, but the organization has suffered from inconsistent funding in recent years. On the Blue Ridge Parkway, we most readily see this issue in reduced maintenance schedules, understaffing, overgrown overlooks, and deteriorating historic sites and campgrounds. The roundtable was an opportunity for Representative Foxx to hear from local leaders and organizations, and for them to describe the importance of the Blue Ridge Parkway to our local economy and culture.
Many organizations were in attendance, including the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway Association, Blue Ridge Conservancy, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Avery Chamber of Commerce, and more. A representative from the Pew Research Center came to offer clarification on possible funding sources. Representative Foxx expressed confidence that funding has good bipartisan support, and there are two bills for securing sources that have a good opportunity to pass if brought to a vote in the next session of Congress.
Article by Amanda Lugenbell, Assistant Director, Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority