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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 15:48

Graveyard Fields closing for upgrades

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out graveyardOne the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most popular recreation areas will soon be closing for construction. The Graveyard Fields parking area and trailhead, at milepost 418.8, will close for approximately 11 weeks beginning April 22. 

 

During the closure, the National Park Service will complete phases of a comprehensive construction project underway at this highly used recreation area.  The project addresses important visitor services and safety issues, and includes construction of a new comfort station and doubling of the parking capacity. Complete closure of the parking area is necessary to protect the public during the project and expedite construction.

Work to be completed during the closure includes: expanding from 17 to 40 parking spaces; construction of a new three-unit ADA-compliant restroom; improvements to trails, including installing a boardwalk, constructing check dams, improving drainage and closing non-system trails. A new trail map will also be installed at the trailhead, and four interpretive signs will be placed on the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail.

Also in conjunction with the closure and construction, the speed limit in the area will be reduced. Parking along the road shoulder will also be eliminated.

“Currently visitors to Graveyard Fields use the island of the existing lot, and several hundred feet of the narrow road shoulder in both directions, for parking. This situation is unsafe and has resulted in numerous incidents,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods. “We’re pleased this expansion will relieve some of the congestion and improve safety for drivers and pedestrians at Graveyard Fields.”

The Graveyard Fields upgrades are being funded in part by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. 

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