Press release from Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation:
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, in partnership with UNC Asheville Greenfest, held a work day at the Folk Art Center (milepost 382) on Saturday, September 16, 2017, to repair an eroded trail. A representative from the volunteer group Carolina Mountain Club also joined the work day to direct the physical and technical trail repairs. Nineteen college students moved more than a ton of gravel to restore the trail and ensure visitor safety.
Volunteers with the campus organization Active Students for a Healthy Environment (ASHE) were divided into several teams to complete the trail rehab. The first group shoveled gravel from a large pile into wheelbarrows. The second group took the gravel-filled wheelbarrows down the trail and unloaded them in the eroded areas. A third group raked and shaped the gravel into place, creating raised bumps called coweetas to divert rainwater into freshly dug trenches a fourth group had created. Yet another team cleared overgrown vegetation near the tunnel that passes over Riceville Road.
“These students showed remarkable teamwork, communicating well with one another to accomplish the task at hand,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “It was so inspiring to see this generation of young people engaged in the preservation of one of their National Parks. At the Foundation, we’re looking forward to empowering more volunteers to make a difference along all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.”
Over the course of three hours, the gravel pile slowly disappeared. The volunteers cheered out to one another when the last gravel-filled wheelbarrow was pushed down the trail. When the work was completed, all 19 students walked the restored trail, pleased with their finished project.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Volunteer Corps provides opportunities for individuals to give back to the Blue Ridge Parkway by donating their time. For more information and to become a volunteer, visit brpfoundation.org/volunteer.