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The GAOA allocates $1.2 million for a park endeavor aimed at dismantling outdated structures and reinstating natural conditions in the Big Meadows area, recognized as a national historic landmark district, along with the Loft Mountain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This includes office buildings, outdated housing, a comfort station, parking areas, picnic sites, and sections of the H-loop road and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 trail closures

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park has closed Hull School Trail from Skyline Drive to Thornton River Upper Trail and Thornton River Upper Trail from the intersection of Hull School Trail to Skyline Drive due to the Rocky Branch Wildfire.

Closures still in place include Skyline Drive from Thornton Gap (mile 31.5) to Mathews Arm (mile 22.1), Appalachian Trail from Elkwallow to Beahms Gap, Rocky Branch Trail, Neighbor Mountain Trail, Jeremys Run Trail, and Byrds Nest 4 shelter.

A parkwide fire ban remains in effect.

National Park Service firefighters are working in partnership with Luray Fire Department and Virginia Department of Forestry.

The cause of this fire is unknown.

No structures are immediately threatened by the fire.

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.

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.

SNP looks to lease locally for seasonal workers

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Shenandoah National Park announced that they are looking for help in housing their seasonal employees this year.

The SNP is seeking to lease a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and/or three-or-more bedroom units with full kitchens, bathrooms, and a living/dining space to house between 1 to 50 employees.

Fully or partially furnished residences are preferred.

SNP must be able to lease the property from mid-April to mid-November.

They are specifically looking for properties in the area of Front Royal, Luray, Stanley, Elkton, and Harrisonburg.

Offered spaces must meet government requirements and be registered through SAM.gov.

To learn more about the NPS Leasing Program, click here.

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

NPS reinstates ticket program for Old Rag

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The National Park Service announced they will continue the day hiking ticket program for Old Rag hiking in 2023.

From March 1 through November 30, a day-use ticket will be required to hike on the Saddle Trail, Ridge Trail and Ridge Access Trail areas in the Shenandoah National Park.

A ticket needs to be purchased for $1 at recreation.gov with the goal of helping to ease crowding on Old Rag.

A cap of 800 hikers are permitted per day with 400 tickets available 30 days before arrival  and the next 400 being released 5 days before.

Tickets will not be required December 1 through February 28.

For more information on Old Rag Day-Use Ticket’s click here.

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

Skyline Drive fully reopens

Skyline Drive sign picture taken by employee of WZRV/WFTR used by permission

Shenandoah National Park announced that the entirety of Skyline Drive is once again open to through access.

National Park Service crews and volunteers from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club worked diligently to clear the southern section of the Drive between mile 65.5 at the Swift Run Entrance Station to mile 105.5 at the Rockfish Gap Entrance Station.

The winter storm in December began closing stretches of Skyline Drive due to downed tree limbs, ice blocking Mary’s Rock Tunnel, and other roadway hazards.

Click here to view some pictures of the crew’s hard work to clear the Drive.

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

SNP updates COVID-19 masks requirements

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Shenandoah National Park (SNP) announced that going forward masks must be worn in all buildings in the park effective today Aug. 22.

The change is in response to the high transmission rates in the area of the park regarding COVID-19.

The National Park Service (NPS) in collaboration with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) use the latest science to guide decisions regarding COVID-19.

Superintendent Pat Kenney explains that the park monitors local community levels and respond when transmission levels are high.

The trigger to require masking is when the majority of the counties that the park resides in move into high transmission status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) community levels are released weekly and adjustments in requirements will be made accordingly.

Currently all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status in all common areas and shared work spaces in the park.

The public can check the park’s website before visiting for the latest information about the current status on masks.

Visitors to any State or National Park are asked to follow signs and instructions that are posted at all parks in NPS.

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

Star Party with CCBF and Belle Grove

Kris kringle outdoor market

Star Parties have returned with the National Park Service and the Shenandoah Astronomical Society.

Three meteor showers are forecast for this year’s Saturday evening dates with the first shower tonight.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is expected to start at 8 pm tonight.

Guests are welcome to these free events which will be held at Thoburn’s Redoubt, part of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove Historical Park.

Telescopes are provided with instruction from Astronomical Society members or you can bring your own.

The other Star Parties this summer are planned for the Perseid Meteor Shower on August 13th and the Orionid Meteor Shower on October 22nd.

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