Virtual Open House: General Session

Blue Ridge Parkway



Dates & Times


Monday, April 19, 2021


5:00 PM


1 hour

Type of Event



The Blue Ridge region is an area steeped in tradition and is recognized worldwide for its natural and cultural richness. The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles through the region, connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park. Along the way, the Parkway ties together a diverse landscape and lifestyleconnecting the past with the present and preserving the region's heritage for the future. This session provides attendees a brief introduction and orientation to the Blue Ridge Parkway and an opportunity to consider the complexity of managing this 469-mile linear park. 


Leesa Brandon – External Affairs Specialist, Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Leesa Brandon is the Blue Ridge Parkway’s External Affairs Specialist and oversees the park’s public affairs, partnerships and volunteer programs. Leesa works regularly with park staff across a variety of disciplines, community and partner organizations, and media outlets to promote understanding and stewardship of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Alexa Viets - Acting Superintendent, Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Alexa is currently serving as the Acting Superintendent for the Blue Ridge Parkway while the park is in pursuit of a permanent replacement for former Superintendent, J.D. Lee. Alexa typically serves as the Chief of Resource Management and Interpretation for the Blue Ridge Parkway where she leads a team of 18 permanent staff of interpreters, cultural resource managers, natural resource scientists and planning and design professionals, as well as overseeing 20-25 additional seasonal interpretive rangers and the Parkway’s visitor center operations. She joined the Blue Ridge Parkway team in the spring of 2017. Prior to her time on the Parkway, Alexa served in numerous roles in the NPS including as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Director of the NPS and as the Chief of the Centennial Office from 2012 to 2016.


Peter Hamel - Ridge District Interpreter, Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Peter graduated from the University of Tennessee and got his first National Park Service job in Yellowstone National Park in 1998. Peter work with the NPS also includes positions at Everglades, Denali, and Katmai National Parks prior to arriving to the Parkway.

Neal Labrie - Chief Ranger, Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Neal has been with the National Park service for 25 years, 24 of them as a commissioned U.S. Park Ranger, EMT, wildland firefighter, and search and rescue instructor. He has worked at Acadia NP (Maine), Independence NHP (Philadelphia), Pinnacles NM (California), and Katmai NP (Alaska), and is currently the Chief Ranger for the Blue Ridge Parkway. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and is a 2017 graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, VA. In his current role at the Blue Ridge Parkway, he manages the Visitor and Resource Protection Division which includes Law Enforcement and Emergency Services, Campgrounds and Fee Collection operations, and the Blue Ridge Communications Center (dispatch). He has been stationed at the Parkway since 2014.

Rachel Stasny - Chief of Administration and Chief of Staff, Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Rachel joined the NPS in 2014 and worked as an analyst for offices within the NPS headquarters in Washington DC prior to joining the parkway management team in 2019.  


Reservation or Registration: Yes

Produced in partnership with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Virtual Open House sessions will be presented as Zoom webinars, with a dedicated question and answer session during each event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Make Reservation or Register

Contact Information

Blue Ridge Parkway Public Affairs

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