FRIENDS Volunteers are Amazing!!
Hello FRIENDS Volunteers,

The Parkway season is underway! We hope you are out there enjoying the park and all it has to offer. What are you most excited about this season? Concerts, trails, camping, or interpretative programs? We would love to hear from you and share your story, so let us know! 

We want to encourage everyone on the Parkway to be mindful of your safety. Please use caution and follow the speed limit.  While working on the Parkway make sure you are visible by wearing your vest and using your car magnet if you have one. We value all our volunteers and want to make sure you are safe for many years to come! 

Thanks for all you do for the Parkway!
The FRIENDS of the BRP Staff
For the Love of the Park!

Letters from Camp(grounds)
Greetings from Pisgah campground!

I have been looking forward to the 2019 season. I am pleased to tell you that the camp received only minor damage over Winter (there is continuing erosion in the C and D loops and an ice storm broke the tops out of almost every beech tree). We have already begun improvements to several tent pads.

Project Parkway brought 51 volunteers to the campground. We got a real head start on repairs to steps, water bars, tables, and fire pits.

I am pleased to invite all of you to join me again this year to continue our maintenance and improvement projects.

Yes, Spring rains have promoted vegetation to grow faster than it can be cut. BUT - Rhodies, Laurels, and wild flowers are in bloom and the place is gorgeous.

We will begin our 
bi-weekly work groups on Tuesday June 11 at 9:00 AM. We'll work until 12:00.Meet at the entrance kiosk in sturdy closed toe shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants, hat, gloves (sunscreen), etc.

If you can join us for a Tuesday session let me know.  I can do a more effective job of planning our activities. If anyone would like to work on a different day; that's no problem. We can work it out.

I thank you in advance for helping maintain one of the best, most beautiful camps on the Parkway. 

Steve Estep
Pisgah District Volunteer of the Year
FRIENDS Asheville Chapter 
(Pictured in the yellow vest to the right)
News from the Parkway
Interesting Sightings on the Parkway: 
Pink Lady Slipper

Friends volunteer, Aubrey Arrington, captured this photo of pink lady slippers in May while maintaining one of his adopted trails in the Highlands District.  
He says that while this
flower is not considered rare, it is less often seen than many of our spring forest flowers. It is part of the orchid family and is rare to find a white slipper versus pink.  
Unlike many flowers, fungi (in a relationship with the plant called symbiosis) is necessary to provide nutrients to the seed. It takes a few years to transform from seed to a mature plant but can then live for 20 years or more.  Picking or digging up pink lady slippers is illegal in various locations of the eastern U.S. including the Blue Ridge Parkway. Remind visitors that all flowers and plants on Parkway property should be viewed but left for others to appreciate.  With 14 or more million visitors per year, if even half the visitors picked flowers, it could have devastating results.
Chapter News Briefs
Roanoke Chapter

The Roanoke Chapter and REACH have a strong partnership which is connecting student and youth volunteers with the Parkway. A group from Rocky Mount Baptist Church recently helped clean up the Roanoke River Overlook.

Link to Roanoke Chapter Facebook Page

Rocky Knob Chapter

Volunteers from the Rocky Knob Chapter have had 8 workdays in 8 weeks. Each week 2 to 10 people have been helping that area cleanup after the Winter storm damage that kept their section of the Parkway closed for an extended amount of time.

Fisher Peak Chapter

Three volunteers from the Fisher Peak Chapter, Aubrey, Don and Cary, recently attended the National Park Service Sawyer training at the Doughton Park maintenance facility. 
Asheville Chapter

Asheville Chapter volunteers Steve, McFerrin, Dane and Skip worked together to remove a portion of a large fallen tree that was protruding onto the should of the road at milepost 390. It was hazardous to motorists, especially those traveling at night.

Safety First: "Leaves of 3, let it be. 
Leaves of 5, let it thrive."

Often, trail, overlook or cemetery adopters might see the vine in this photo and immediately look for a tool to chop it down, thinking it is poison ivy.  

But this photo is an example of Virginia  creeper.  While there are other vines with three or five leaves, there is plenty of both the 3-leaf poison ivy and the 5-leaf Virginia creeper along the Blue Ridge Parkway.   If viewed during the fruiting season, look for  white berries to help identify poison ivy and blue-black berries to help identify Virginia creeper.  Poison ivy leaves can turn bright red in the fall season and mature plants have numerous root hairs on the vine.

Poison ivy should be avoided as most people experience allergic skin reactions when coming in contact with its sap.  If you think you have come in contact with it, wash with soap and cold water any exposed skin as soon as possible.  If you are weed eating your adopted area (must have up-to-date Park training for weed eating), wearing long sleeves and protecting one's hands, neck and face will drastically reduce the risks of exposure.  But since we are in a national park unit, we suggest cutting poison ivy back only if the plant is encroaching into an area where humans are susceptible to contact.  If you see 3-leafed vines, just try to avoid it.  And if you see 5-leafed vines, allow it to prosper unless it is blocking the way or damaging other plants.
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                            Rusty Mansel
Julie Carpenter                                 Pete Lascell
Ken Carpenter                                   Tanya Poole
Mike Davis                                         Cary Simms
Harlan Goodreau                             Libby Wilcox        
Paul Kitchen

Incentive  gifts will be sent quarterly. Keep reporting your hours!
Volunteer Hours by Group
October 2018 - May 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. 
Chapter Workdays


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 FRIENDS Events Calendar.

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, our members help us do that and also receive some sweet benefits beyond helping the park!

For $30 you can become a member of FRIENDS and help the park and other volunteers!

Connect with your local FRIENDS chapter!

Humpback Rocks:
Peaks of Otter:
Roanoke Valley:
Rocky Knob:
Fisher Peak:
Northern Highlands:
High Country:
Crabtree Falls:
Volunteer Resources
Click the links below to quickly access resources:
Have information to share in an upcoming issue? Please email Julie Whalen with details.

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