• The long vistas are part of a Blue Ridge Parkway experience

    Blue Ridge

    Parkway NC,VA

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  • Phone System Down at Julian Price Campground

    The phone system at JP Campground, MP 296.9, is currently out of order. Please refer to recreation.gov to make or change any reservations. For additional questions please refer to the camping opportunities section of our website. More »

  • A traffic light on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

    Parkway officials urge all visitors to observe timers set on stop lights from MP242.4 at Alligator Back Parking Area to MP241. Work in the area involves 24-hour, 1-lane traffic control until November 2, 2014, when a full closure goes into effect.

Environmental Factors

Nature and Science
For more than one billion years the lands that are now the Blue Ridge Parkway have been affected by a variety of environmental factors. Beginning with a collision between two huge land masses about 1.1 billion years ago and continuing up to the present day's weathering and erosion, the mountains have been built up and worn down. Once similar to the jagged peaks of the young Rocky Mountains, the older mountains of the southern Appalachians have been worn down by millions of years of erosion and now show the rounded topography and lower elevations that we enjoy today.

Other factors are also at work. Humans have been altering the natural systems here for thousands of years, with increasing impacts since Europeans arrived almost 300 years ago. With more than 1,200 miles of boundary, development encroaches along much of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hundreds of utility rights-of-way and roads cross its length. Agricultural activities both on and off the Parkway and logging up to its boundaries have changed large patches of vegetation and fragmented remaining areas. Non-native pests and diseases are killing a variety of native plants and animals. Other exotic species are competing with or displacing natives from their habitat. Both air and water pollution have degraded entire systems along the Parkway.

Despite all of these impacts the Blue Ridge Parkway continues to provide thousands of acres of natural habitat and refuge. Lands that were disturbed in the past are reverting back to healthy natural systems, providing animals and plants with habitats that are increasingly uncommon on neighboring lands.

Did You Know?

Black bears

The Parkway is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world with about 100 varieties of trees, 1,600 plant species, 54 mammals, and 159 species of birds.