The Story: Overview

"A Parkway like Blue Ridge has but one reason for existence, which is to please by revealing the charm and interest of the native American countryside. To accomplish that end requires the finest exercise of the several planning arts. Your composition is one of fields and fences, lakes and streams, and hills and valleys; and your problem is that of placing your roadway in such a position as best to reveal them."

- Stanley Abbott from the 1958 interview

When developing the plans for the Parkway, Parkway architects had to consider many different elements. The experience of driving the Blue Ridge Parkway was carefully planned to be scenic having pleasing or beautiful surroundings and appear completely natural. A ride down the Parkway today shows evidence of this planning in the convenient campgrounds, rustic related to country life comfort stations, scenic overlooks, hiking trails and the strategically placed log cabins along the road. But much more was involved in creating the Parkway than just paving the road. The Parkway planners in North Carolina purchased a wide right of way property around the road around the BRP to make sure the view did not include houses in disrepair or advertising signs. In order to make the view completely "natural", many houses around the road were moved or sold. Buildings which were allowed to stay, like the Brinegar Cabin, had to be renovated to create the desired rustic look. Details as small as picnic tables were carefully planned, as you can see in these blueprints for the design of seating in picnic areas. Hiking trails were carefully designed to provide safe access to breathtaking views. All of the Blue Ridge Parkway is constructed to portray a specific view of the Parkway and its surrounding communities.

"This road is to be constructed along the crest of the mountains with a two hundred foot area to be incorporated into the park system"

- Senator Robert Byrd

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