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Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:38

Foundation gives in big way to parkway

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Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has given more than $650,000 to the Blue Ridge Parkway for projects and programs this year.

These cover a range of initiatives, including children's education, projects to enrich the visitors' experience and preservation of historic, cultural and natural resources along the length of the parkway.

"The support provided by the foundation has become vital to our ability to meet some of the parkway's most basic needs and maintain a sustainable and healthy Blue Ridge Parkway," Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis said.

Among the projects funded by the money:

• Continued funding of the Parks As Classrooms initiative for this school year.

• Graveyard Fields Enhancement project, to improve visitor use and stewardship of this highly trafficked area and expand the parking, construct a convenience station and improve the trails and interpretive signs.

• Waterrock Knob Visitor Center Roof Replacement. A total roof replacement of the Waterrock Knob Visitor Center that has been in a state of deterioration for a number of years.

• Blue Ridge Parkway Weather. The Blue Ridge Parkway will partner with Ray's Weather and Appalachian State University to build a comprehensive weather website and smart-phone application covering the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. Using information from weather stations and webcams installed along the parkway, the site will include custom forecasts, live weather conditions, live webcam images and video, radar and satellite imagery, climate information and reader supplied photography and comments. Data from the site will be freely available to researchers in a standard format for projects ranging from park management to research in climate/meteorology, education/outreach, ecology, biology, etc.

A complete list of the approved projects for 2012 can be found on the foundation's website at www.brpfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Publications/Grants2012Sheet.pdf

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