SNP receives funds for preservation initiatives

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund provided enhancements to a beloved route managed by the National Park Service.

Over 18 months and with a budget of $15 million, the Skyline Drive preservation initiative revitalized 56 miles and 19 scenic overlooks along this renowned national historic landmark and scenic byway traversing
the Blue Ridge Mountains within Shenandoah National Park.

The GAOA allocates $1.2 million for a park endeavor aimed at dismantling outdated structures and reinstating natural conditions in the Big Meadows area, recognized as a national historic landmark district, along with the Loft Mountain Campground.

Springtime travelers are in for safer and smoother journeys through the breathtaking vistas of  Shenandoah National Park.

Thanks to the Skyline Drive project, distressed pavement has been
restored, shoulders stabilized, pavement and road markings enhanced, and road surfaces treated to fortify structural integrity and prolong road life.

In addition, obsolete or deteriorating structures and facilities in Big Meadows and Loft Mountain Campground have been dismantled.

This includes office buildings, outdated housing, a comfort station, parking areas, picnic sites, and sections of the H-loop road and
campsites, totaling approximately $3 million in deferred maintenance savings.

The final phase of the project involves restoring natural vegetation in these areas, promising visitors a more harmonious landscape.

GAOA stands as a crucial component of a larger initiative to address the extensive backlog of deferred maintenance and repair needs across national parks.

With revenue sourced from energy development, GAOA grants the National Park Service up to $1.3 billion annually for five
years.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

SNP collaborates with utility partners

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park (SNP) is taking proactive measures to fortify its infrastructure in collaboration with utility partners, aiming to minimize potential damage from future weather occurrences.

The initiative involves the replacement of utility poles and the restoration of power lines along two key utility corridors within the park.

Consequently ,certain visitor services will be affected at Elkwallow, Mathews Arm Campground, and the Big Meadows area.

Updates for Visitors in the Big Meadows Area:

  • During April, intermittent power outages will occur between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from Mondays to Thursdays.
  • Shower facilities will be closed between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Normal Park operations will resume on Fridays through Sundays.
  • Wood and ice sales remain available at Big Meadows Wayside until further notice.
  • Comfort stations/bathrooms in the loops of Big Meadows Campground will continue to operate fully.

Big Meadows Wayside and the visitor center at Big Meadows will function mostly as usual with the assistance of generators.

However, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from Mondays through
Thursdays, Wi-Fi services may experience disruptions, exhibits will be closed, and movie screenings will be suspended.

Big Meadows Lodge is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, as planned.

Elkwallow Wayside & Mathews Arm Campground:

  •  Renovation work for these areas will commence upon completion of the tasks at Big Meadows.
  • Opening dates for these facilities are to be determined later due to the ongoing renovations.

For individuals with campground reservations until mid-June who have not received communication regarding their reservation at Mathews Arm, please reach out to Mindy Bogue at mindy_bogue@nps.gov or 540-999-3500 x3405.

Guests have the option to relocate their camping reservations to either Big Meadows or Loft Mountain Campgrounds.

However, availability may be limited at these sites due to the closure
of Mathews Arm.

Alternatively, guests may opt for a refund if they choose to cancel their reservation.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Shenandoah National Park plans controlled burn

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park officials plan to burn about 88 acres at Big Meadows sometime between Monday and April 15. The actual date will depend on the weather, according to a park news release.

“A portion of Big Meadows (mile 51 on Skyline Drive), the open area across from Byrd Visitor Center, is burned each year for the purpose of maintaining the open vista by preventing encroachment from small trees and shrubs,” a park news release states.

“Prescribed burns are ignited by fire managers under a pre-determined set of conditions, including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, fuel moisture and resource availability. Prescribed burns will be conducted as interagency projects, with local support, under the guidance and direction of trained and experienced National Park Service personnel.”

Fire managers expect the project will take one day to complete. Smoke will be visible that day in the surrounding area.

All park facilities will remain open during the burn, but access to Big Meadows will be restricted.

Quaker run fire update

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Quaker Run fire has now burned over 1500 acres, but remains within its containment lines.

Friday, November 3rd, firefighters built backfires to reduce burnable materials and widen containment lines.

Shenandoah National Park officials are recommending that people avoid the areas of Whiteoak, Old Rag, and Big Meadows.

The power has been temporarily cut to Big Meadows and services are limited.

The Rapidan Tract of the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area is closed until further notice for safety reasons. 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

National public lands day is coming up!

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park will celebrate the 30th anniversary of National Land Day on September 23rd.

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands.

Volunteers in the park will demonstrate this year’s nationwide theme of 30 Years of Care and Community through a service project near Big Meadows.

Entrance fees for the park will be waived on Saturday, September 23rd.

This year’s events will take place over three days, September 22-24 and registration is required.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

SNP host the annual Sky Festival coinciding with Perseid shower

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Shenandoah National Park (SNP) announced the annual Night Sky Festival starts August 11.

There will be several speakers in various locations at the event this year.

Two of the guest speakers include NASA’s veteran astronaut and space scientist Tom Jones and Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern who will offer instruction and demonstrations on night sky watching.

Demonstrations will be offered at Dickey Ridge, Mathews Arm Campground, Skyland, Byrd Visitor Center and Big Meadows.

A schedule of events starting August 11 and lasting through August 13 is found here.

This weekend should be an extremely exciting one as the Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to peak on August 12.

According to Space.com we could see as many as 150 to 200 meteors an hour.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

SNP celebrates National Trails Day

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park is celebrating National Trails Day today.

The annual event, hosted by the American Hiking Society, celebrates not only national scenic and historic trails, but all trails on public lands.

SNP will welcome guests to the visitor center at Big Meadows to share information about what they do.

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, head to the visitor center to get involved with a small trail clean up and a fun project.

RSVP is required by contacting corrina_wendel@nps.gov.

Guests are also welcome to join Ranger Karl on a hike starting at the Stony Man parking lot at 10 am.

Ranger Karl will have interesting facts along the 3.4 mile hike which will take approximately 2.5 hours.

No RSVP is needed for the hike.

To see more information on National Trails Day and Volunteer opportunities, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

13 acres affected by SNP wildfire

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Shenandoah National Park reports the effects of a wildfire that started around 2 pm on Thursday and lasted till 11 pm that evening.

National Park Service firefighters and a crew from the United States Forest Service got the blaze under control in the Big Meadows area.

Several trails in the region and Rapidan Road remain closed while crews continue to clear remnants of the wildfire.

A power line in the impacted area left Big Meadows Wayside, Campground and Picnic Grounds and Lewis Mountain temporarily without power.

Those areas, which opened for the season Mar. 24, have reopened with power restored.

In all just over 13 acres were affected by the wildfire which remains under investigation.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.