In a recent flurry of social and traditional media, claims have been made that the Blue Ridge Parkway is considering banning bicycles. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Beyond current law and policy, the Blue Ridge Parkway has no plans to restrict bicycle use of the Parkway.
Parkway planning and law enforcement personnel have replied to this incorrect perception as follows:
The Blue Ridge Parkway was established for scenic driving and recreational purposes with a focus on the automobile. Over time, visitation trends have changed with an increased variety of uses, with both recreational vehicles and bicycles enjoying a scenic recreational experience.
Both types of use have been accommodated on the Parkway. There is nothing in the Parkway’s Master Plan Preferred Alternative that precludes any existing uses from continuing, or precludes the consideration of new uses. There are many activities that occur on the parkway – hiking, horseback riding, motorcycle use, running, bird watching – such uses are allowed where appropriate given resource protection and safety concerns. All uses of the Parkway motor road are currently and will continue to be managed under federal laws and NPS policies.
The parkway is National Register eligible because of its designed landscape, age, and contributing features and is world renowned as an example of rural parkway design. NPS managers are required by law to manage eligible properties as if they were currently on the National Register of Historic Places. The historical significance of the Parkway motor road is based upon the design and spatial relationship of the travel lanes, grass shoulders, paved ditches, and cut and fill slopes. Keeping this relationship intact is critical to protecting the character and historic integrity of the Parkway, which NPS staff are charged with maintaining under the Organic Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other NPS laws and policies.
Decisions about cultural and historic resources, like all Parkway resources and other day-to-day park management decisions, are dictated by NPS and Department of Interior (DOI) laws and policies, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, and other law and policy. The General Management Plan provides overall direction for that management, but is designed to provide general guidance while allowing flexibility for management within the parameters of law and policy.
- Leesa Sutton Brandon