National Park Service seeks public comment on permits for races that would close Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular spot to host running and biking races and in 2020 there are two new races that would like permits to temporarily shut down the parkway. These new races would require temporary, full closures of the parkway, and the National Park Service is asking for the public’s feedback. None of the races that currently utilize the parkway require full closures.

The first proposed permit is for a running race and would require a temporary, full closure of the parkway from Milepost 377, just north of Asheville, to Milepost 383. The race would potentially draw 2,000 runners and would happen on May 2, 2020. The second proposed permit is from The Ironman Group and would have the cycling portion of the triathlon take place on the parkway on June 7, 2020. The permit would require a temporary, full closure of the parkway from Milepost 91 to Milepost 112 near Roanoke.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed permits until November 22.  Comments for the Asheville permit can be entered here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/RevelBRP and comments for the Roanoke permit should be submitted here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/IronmanBRP.

It’s time for seasonal closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway

It’s the time of year when the weather turns colder; stores begin stocking their shelves for the holidays and facilities along the Blue Ridge Parkway shut down for the season. The Waterrock Knob visitor center (MP 451) and Craggy Gardens visitor center (MP 364) both closed for the season on November 11. All campgrounds and picnic areas in Western North Carolina are also closed, as is the Pisgah Inn and restaurant. The parkway itself does not close except during periods of hazardous weather including ice and snow. 

National Park Service backpedals on their decision to allow ATVs in Utah National Parks

A move by the National Park Service that we reported on last month allowing ATVs in Utah National Parks has been scrapped by the National Park Service just one week before it was set to take effect. The Associated Press reports that the National Park Service said it reversed course after consulting with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and concluding that the rule wasn’t necessary. 

The rule would have lined up with Utah state law, which allows ATVs and other off-road vehicles on state and county roads. Instead, the ban on ATVs in national parks, including parks in Utah, still stands.