Blue Ridge Parkway Chief Landscape Architect Receives Top Honor
Gary Johnson, chief landscape architect at the Blue Ridge Parkway, received one of four agency awards for excellence in cultural resource management. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis presented Johnson the award March 17 in New Orleans at the 2011 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas and Cultural Sites.
"Preservation is about deciding what's important, figuring out how to protect it, and passing along an appreciation to others. Recipients of this award have excelled in all of these aspects," said Director Jarvis.
The Appleman-Judd-Lewis Awards were established in 1970 to recognize National Park Service employees who excel in cultural resource stewardship and management. The awards are named for three former Park Service employees: historian Roy E. Appleman, historical architect Henry A. Judd, and curator Ralph H. Lewis.
Johnson has been advocating the protection of visual resources for many years, both within and outside the boundary of national parks. It's not easy preserving the famous vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s most visited national park. However, Gary Johnson has literally written the book that helps maintain the endless scenery, fall colors, wildlife, trails, and Appalachian charm that attract 17 million people a year to the park.
Johnson's Guidebook for the Blue Ridge Parkway Scenery Conservation System provides effective methods of analysis and actions needed to protect the 469-mile-long treasure. He also led an effort to develop acceptable safety modifications to meet defensible standards while protecting the Parkway’s historic roadside landscape, stone guardwalls, bridges and tunnel portals.
Parkway Superintendent Philip Francis said, "Thanks to Johnson’s hard work, images of the parkway will include protected scenic views, historic rustic stone walls and intact designed landscapes for many years to come."
Did You Know?
Several of the early designers, architects, and engineers of the Blue Ridge Parkway worked together on New York's Westchester County Parkway, incorporating many of the same design elements.