FRIENDS Volunteers are Amazing!!
Hello FRIENDS Volunteers,

I have been staring at the same number for a while now, 599. Friends currently has 599 volunteers who have entered volunteer hours in the last two years or have signed up to be a new volunteer. 599! 

Everyday I rush to the computer to see if we've hit 600. So far we haven't but I am TOTALLY OK with that, 599. Who would have thought Friends would have so many volunteers actively working in the park?! 

It is amazing! 

This year alone we have had 72 new volunteers report hours and the volunteer hours have increased by 1,520 HOURS from last year! Yes, you read that right, service to the park is up  1,520 HOURS!

Y'all are amazing! 

I am truly humbled to work with such an amazing group of people that give to public lands so freely! I am thankful for each one of you out there working in the park to make it a great place to visit. Thanks you for all you do! I am sure your enthusiasm for the park will make that 599 turn into 600 in no time, who knows maybe we will even see 610!

For the love of the park!
The FRIENDS of the BRP Staff

P.S. Since the time this section was written (Monday) to now (Friday midday) we have increased volunteers to 604 :-) It's fun to a FRIEND!
New FRIENDS Website

In mid-July FRIENDS launched a new website. You will still be able to:
Check it out soon and let us know what you think.

Tips from a FRIEND: Loppers vs. Trimmer

Aubrey Arrington, a FRIENDS's volunteer since 2004, has been working on trails for about 28 years and has had plenty of experience.  He has discovered during this time what works for him and what does not.  

A suggestion he wants to share relates to clipping along hiking trails.  Most maintainers use loppers to prevent tree limbs and bushes from encroaching into the trail.  He says loppers can typically cut wood up to about an inch in diameter depending on the tool's size and weight.  But the operator is usually limited to one cut at a time.

Aubrey, who works on his adopted trails at least once per month, says he will carry loppers perhaps two times per year.  But for the rest of his trips, he uses hedge clippers when clipping.  

After using loppers, it takes months for limbs of any significant size to grow back.  Hedge clippers can remove multiple cuttings of new growth each time the blades are operated, making the job so much easier and quicker.  And he says they are great for opening a trail where plants like mountain laurel are abundant.
News from the Parkway
Interesting (Stunning!) Sightings

Last month's Yellow Vest showcased overlook adopter, Ralph Barton. He told us he loves to beat the heat of the day in the summer and hit the Parkway before sunrise. He sent us this picture to show another glorious reason to head out that early!
Chapter News Briefs
Humpback Rocks Chapter

The Humpback Rocks Historic Farm Old Time Music Concerts run smoothly thanks in part to wonderful parking volunteers who greet attendees with smiles.

Debbie Morris and Gary Quesenbery
Michael Janet and Patti

Sign Crew: CJ Woodburn and David Crowe
Ron Myers and Tim Bruce

Concert attendees sure do appreciate them and the music!

Peaks of Otter Chapter

The chapter helps with the inaugural NPS concert series hosted by the Peaks
 of Otter Lodge. The concerts are being held under the shade of trees along the edge of Abbott Lake with a view of Sharp Top. Members of the chapter, Bob Johnson and Joe Robinson, were in attendance to talk about volunteer efforts in the area.  If you are in the area stop by! The next concert is August 25th featuring Gate 10 Band. 

Roanoke Chapter

Mike Davis, the current chapter chair will be stepping down October 1st. Mike has done a fantastic job for the past year and we're grateful he's not going too far. He will be the Alternative Break Coordinator for the chapter. 

If you live in the Roanoke area and are interested in open position (see info below), please contact the office at 540-772-2992 or email Audrey Pearson at

Chapter Chair:

The Roanoke Chapter of Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway is looking for a new leader to work closely with NPS staff to ensure the Roanoke area of the Parkway is the preserved, protected and enhanced.
This position requires:
  • Working closely with NPS to identify volunteer projects
  • Communicating effectively with chapter members
Description of Activities:
  • Working closely with Friends Home Office and communicating with NPS staff and the local chapter
  • Building a Steering Committee of like-minded volunteers who want to serve the park.
Chapter leads set the tone for the chapter. You are not required to hold monthly meetings but can if desired. You can build your steering committee based on activities the chapter is interested in.

Fisher Peak Chapter

July was busy!  The chapter performed general trail maintenance such as clipping new growth, removing fallen limbs, mowing and weed eating on the two trails at the Music Center that the chapter has adopted. 

In addition, they  repainted 204 blazes on trees and posts along both trails as seen in the photo to the left.

They pulled weeds in the natural areas at the Music Center and cleaned, sanded and painted   portions of the large Parkway entrance sign at Route 89 around MP 215 (photo, right). 

They also collected, sorted and transferred Music Center recyclables to Galax on 5 occasions this month.

Plus, they:
  • Removed a wildlife camera from one location and deployed it to a new location. 
  • Provided music demonstrations at the Music Center to a total of 65 visitors during two weekend activities.
  • Assisted in covering the Music Center information desk once this month per request from the lead interpretive ranger.
  • Partnered with the Northern Highlands Chapter in a FRIENDS display tent at the July 20th Smoke on the Mountain event in Galax.  
  • AND, one of their members was a BBQ judge!

Northern Highlands Chapter

Chapter volunteers hit the Parkway to paint milepost signs.


Asheville Chapter

The chapter participated in an emergency project one morning in July.  Two large trees had come down in the mow zone where the Parkway intersects with Highway 25, which is a very busy intersection!  

This hearty crew removed the branches and hauled them off into the woods.  The chapter doesn't have a sawyer, but the volunteers were able to move the tree trunks so that traffic was not affected by the debris.


Safety First: Weed Eater Safety

Many of our volunteers assist Parkway maintenance by weed eating on trails and at overlooks and developed areas. Following are some weed eating safety requirements and optional recommendations.
  1. Steel-toed boots are required.
  2. Close fitting clothing is required.
  3. Long pants are required.
  4. Leg protection is recommended.
  5. Shirts are required and long sleeves are recommended.
  6. Gloves are recommended.
  7. Safety vests are required if working along a road or drive where traffic might be present.
  8. ANSI approved hearing protection is required.
  9. ANSI approved safety glasses are required.
  10. Helmets and face shields are recommended.
  11. Dust masks are recommended.


  • Volunteers are also required to go through training, typically provided by a maintenance employee, before using a weed eater on BRP property.
  • Be sure to adjust any handles and shoulder straps so the operator can stand straight to prevent wearing oneself out too quickly. 
  • Inspect your weed eater before each use and insure all safety equipment is present and functioning. 
  • Your physical fitness, terrain, temperatures, and weed height and thickness should be considered when determining how long one can safely weed eat. 
  • Take plenty of breaks and drink plenty of water. 
  • Always release the throttle and allow pedestrians to pass by before continuing. Maintain a safe distance from others working with you.
Volunteers by the Numbers
The National Park Service uses volunteer numbers to gain funding for the following year and the more hours volunteers report the more funding the NPS receives! 

Let's make this a record breaking year!
Volunteer Incentive Program
FRIENDS has started a volunteer incentive program to recognize the outstanding work our volunteers do for the love of the Parkway. Read more about it in the volunteer manual. Click the button below:
We'll keep the tallies below current each month so we can watch the numbers grow! 
 Volunteers with 50 + Hours Logged in 2019
We congratulate the following volunteers :

Aubrey Arrington
 Steve Estep
Charles Rose
Ross Akin
Harlan Goodreau
Cary Simms
Billie Bryant 
 Paul Kitchen
McFerrin Smith
Skip Capone
David Lennox
 Curtis Stiff
Julie Carpenter
Rusty Mansel 
Tom Tolle
Ken Carpenter
Nancy Midgette
Libby Wilcox 
Drew Daniels
Pete Lascell

Mike Davis
Tanya Poole

Keep reporting your hours!
Volunteer Hours by Group
October 2018 - July 2019 (NPS Fiscal Year)
Have you been out on the Parkway working? 
Do you have hours to report?  
  • Email them to:
  • Mail them to: PO Box 20986, Roanoke, VA 24018
  • Or click the button below to send them through the Google form
NOTE: If you are part of a chapter, check with your chapter chair about how to enter your hours. They may be sending them in for you. 


Job Task
Contact Info
May 14
General tasks as needed
Peaks of Otter Thursdays 9am to Noon Work at Johnson Farm

"Volunteers don't necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." 
--Elizabeth Andrew

Upcoming Events
Don't forget to enjoy a fun day on the Parkway this summer. The summer concerts are happening at Humpback Rocks, Peaks of Otter, Roanoke Mountain, Mabry Mill and the Blue Ridge Music Center. Not to mention all the interpretive programs happening at Parkway locations.

For a full listing of Parkway events visit the  Parkway Events Calendar or the
Are you a member of FRIENDS?
As a FRIENDS  volunteer , you give your  TIME  for the love of the park! 

But have you ever wondered how the vistas are restored or the demonstration gardens are funded? 

Our  members support the work of NPS staff and FRIENDS volunteers. Every year we create a list of funding requests that we hope to fulfill. Gifts from our annual members make that happen. 

For $40 a year you can become a member of FRIENDS and help the park and other volunteers!

Volunteer Resources
Click the links below to quickly access resources:

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