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Contact: Leesa Brandon, 828.348.3420
NC/VA –Blue Ridge Parkway rangers and staff plan to welcome approximately two million visitors along the 469-mile scenic route this October. With fall color beginning, park managers want to remind the public that a Parkway drive is different than most. The Parkway's unique design includes many steep grades, limited sight distances, and beautiful built in distractions;as a result, drivers must pay extra attention to ensure a safe and memorable visit.
To help prevent accidents from occurring, visitors are asked to keep the following guidelines in mind before heading out on the Parkway…
- ·Keep speeds within posted limits and be prepared for heavy traffic, wildlife and non-motorized users that may slow traffic further.
- ·Stay focused! Put cell phones and other devices away in a glove compartment or bag;and out of reach of the driver.
- Use pull-outs and overlooks to enjoy the views. When on the road, driving needs your full attention.
- Bicyclists should keep as far to the right as possible, and allow opportunities for traffic to move around you. Multiple riders need to stay in a single file line and should avoid groups larger than 4 riders. The Parkway is not recommended for inexperienced cyclists, especially during the highest period for traffic volume.
- Motorcyclists need to pay special attention to tunnels where lighting and visibility are poor, leaves and other debris on the roadway such as branches and rocks and early icing on bridges and at higher elevations. Slow down and focus on the road.
- Take your time - stop at visitor centers along the route and learn something new about the Parkway from a ranger.
Visitors can also find specific information to prepare for their Parkway adventure from a variety of sources. Park updates and information are available on a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The park website provides a real-time road closure map, facility schedules, suggested itineraries, visitor center locations, and much more at www.nps.gov/blri;and regularly updated, recorded fall foliage information is available at 828.298.0398.
As October comes to a close, Parkway staff will begin the traditional seasonal closure of visitor services in certain areas. Some concession and visitor center areas will continue to be open, pending any weather related closures. A full schedule of seasonal closing dates is available at https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/hours.htm.