Webb, Warner, and North Carolina Senators to Introduce Bill to Preserve Blue Ridge Parkway 

January 26, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, U.S. Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) are joining North Carolina Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) today to introduce legislation authorizing the National Park Service to acquire up to 50,000 acres of land surrounding the historic roadway. In the House of Representatives, Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA), Tom Perriello (D-VA), Heath Shuler (D-NC), and David Price (D-NC) introduced companion legislation. The Blue Ridge Parkway’s anniversary will be celebrated in September.

“The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the Commonwealth’s most significant tourist attractions, providing economic benefits to communities in Southwestern Virginia,” said Senator Webb. “As a longtime supporter of natural and cultural landmark preservation, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation.”

“The Blue Ridge Parkway, the nation’s first and longest rural parkway, connects Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina,” Senator Warner said. “The Parkway links dozens of outdoor recreation and tourism options, and this legislation will help us continue to preserve and promote Appalachia’s unique culture and history.”

The Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act will authorize $75 million over five years to allow the National Park Service to acquire and preserve high priority land surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway. The bill will adjust the park’s boundary to include the new land acquisition, but no land would be acquired through eminent domain. The Conservation Trust of North Carolina proposed the legislation as an appropriate commemoration of the 75th anniversary.

Construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935 near Cumberland Knob, NC. Today, it stretches 469 miles across North Carolina and Virginia, and its breathtaking views attract nearly 20 million visitors per year, making it the most visited site in the National Park Service. One of the strongest economic engines in the region, the Blue Ridge Parkway generates an estimated $2.3 billion in North Carolina and Virginia annually.

via Webb, Warner, and North Carolina Senators to Introduce Bill to Preserve Blue Ridge Parkway .

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