Severe winter weather at the end of last year made a mess of Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, bringing intense ice and downed trees. Back in mid-December, the National Park Service (NPS) estimated there were 600 downed trees on Skyline Drive and nearby trails, including the Appalachian Trail.
Although volunteer crews have made significant progress, there is still much more work to be done. To help, the nonprofit Shenandoah National Park Trust (SNPT) is providing meals for the NPS and the Charlottesville chapter of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) crews and is also asking for additional contributions.
“We’re uniquely positioned to help Shenandoah address urgent needs, as we can mobilize quickly and provide immediate relief funds.” a SNPT official wrote in a statement. “We’ve already donated over 300 meals in the last two weeks, but with hundreds of trees still down across the 105-mile Drive, the volunteer crews still have weeks of work to do. With your help, we can keep volunteers fed for however long it takes to get Skyline Drive cleared and safe for travel.”
According to the NPS, the Charlottesville PATC estimates that they have cleared about 50 percent of the Appalachian Trail. Officials urge the public to be mindful by avoiding areas where crews are working and by never making social trails around blowdowns.
“Those were two big-time storms that hit and it may seem like progress is slow, but safety is our number one goal,” Shenandoah National Park officials stated. “…we’re committed to clearing not only what’s on the ground, but also what could fall later.”
To contribute, visit SNPT’s Emergency Fund page.
Cover photo: The Big Meadows Area sign stands covered in ice after the winter storm on December 15, 2022. All photos were posted by Shenandoah National Park.