FRIENDS Volunteers are Amazing!!
Hello FRIENDS Volunteers,

It is true what they say,  April showers brings May Flowers because the parkway is in BLOOM! This time of year is quite magical as everything begins to bloom and grow! As more people flock to the park to take in the beauty, we are asking our volunteers to be aware of all the extra traffic! Be sure to wear a vest and display your volunteer magnets, this will help people see you from the roadway. Your safety is a top priority for us so please use caution when working in the park!

We hope you get out there and enjoy the Parkway as the season opens up!

Thanks for all you for the Parkway!
The FRIENDS of the BRP staff
For the Love of the Park......

Project Parkway 2019: Success!
What happens when over 200 volunteers show up at different Parkway locations on the same sunny Saturday morning in April?
An amazing 
amount of work!

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make it such a successful day. Over 900 camp and picnic sites were cleared, countless leaves and debris removed, along with necessary repairs made to fire pits and tables. 

Check out some of the highlights in the picture and video links below.
And watch this great news segment filmed at Julian Price: 
News from the Parkway
Interesting Sightings on the Parkway

When FRIENDS' volunteers are working on the Parkway and experience something really unusual, let us know and we will share it with others. 

For this issue, we received a photo from the FRIENDS Fisher Peak Chapter.  They regularly schedule trail maintenance activities on the two trails the chapter adopted at the Blue Ridge Music Center.  This tree can be observed each time the chapter works on the Fisher Peak Loop Trail.  One chapter member sees an alien creature similar to our earthling giraffe.  The animal is facing left with two horns extending from its head.  It appears to be eating a stick or has a unicorn-type protrusion growing from its nose.  What do you see?

Picnic Table Repair

Volunteers from the FRIENDS Crabtree Falls Chapter took advantage of some warm weather in April to clean up the Crabtree Falls Picnic Area. Trees were cleared from the loop trail and picnic tables were tended to. Depending on the type of work needed some tables had the wood replaced entirely, trimmed to remove
damaged areas or were power-washed. The work was supervised by Katie, the wonder dog, and the pictures speak for themselves.

Five volunteers recently returned to stain the tables.

Safety First

As warm temperatures creep up the mountain sides, some cold blooded creatures start coming out in search for warmth.  That includes SNAKES! One of our trail adopters in the Highlands region just reported to us that he came across two snakes on the same day (May 8) while performing trail maintenance.  One was likely an eastern milk snake; the other clearly a timber rattler.  Both snakes moved off the trail tread with a little gentle nudging using a  long  stick.  

So be aware of this possible encounter while doing outside volunteer work on the Parkway.  And don't forget, while one might be tempted to do harm to a snake (particularly a poisonous rattler), the Park lands are their home.  Hopefully, if we are observant, the day can end well for hikers, volunteers, and wildlife alike.

Volunteer Spotlight: The Bear Czar, Grant Heggie and the Bear Patrol

Volunteers from the  Humpback Rocks FRIENDS Chapter
spend time during the busy summer months informing the public about sharing the Appalachians and recreation areas with black bears to ensure picnic areas and campgrounds can stay open.

Grant Heggie volunteers as the Bear Patrol Coordinator or Bear Czar. He trains and schedules volunteers throughout the summer.  Volunteers use an attention-grabbing bear pelt and other  educational items to engage visitors at the Humpback Rocks  Picnic Area, Humpback Rocks Farm during an event, or other  locales along the Parkway if needed.

Pictured is a Bear Patrol volunteer, Debbie Morris, educating picnickers while on their patrol at the Humpback Rock Picnic Area. There have been bears in the area so their efforts are very important.

For anyone else interested in volunteering, e-mail

NPS Training Opportunities
Snakes, Bears and Bees.. Oh My!

NPS announced that the division of Resource Management and Planning has arranged for a cross
 divisional, multi-district training opportunity. John Sealy will return this season to conduct training that
will allow staff and volunteers to safely move snakes from busy visitor use areas without harming themselves or the snakes.
Additionally, this training will include a refresher on other animal hazards such as ticks, yellow jackets and bears presented by Parkway staff. 

Training Dates:

May 29th:  Snakes and other Wildlife Hazards Training     Bluffs Maintenance     10 a.m.

June 7th:  Snakes and other Wildlife Hazards Training     Peaks Maintenance     10 a.m.

June 13th:  Snakes and other Wildlife Hazards Training     Oteen Maintenance     10 a.m.

If you are interested in participating in this training please contact Bob Cherry for more details:
Read more about how John Sealy has worked with the Parkway in the past here.

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                             Paul Kitchen
Julie Carpenter                                 Rusty Mansel
Ken Carpenter                                  Pete Lascell
Mike Davis                                          Tanya Poole
Harlan Goodreau                             Libby Wilcox

Incentive  gifts will be sent quarterly. Keep reporting your hours!
Volunteer Hours by Group
October 2018 - April 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
Humpback Rocks
May 17
Clean up Humpback Rocks historic farm MP 5.8
High Country
May 18
Boone Fork Trail
May 14
General tasks as needed
Crabtree Falls May 15 Finish picnic tables
Asheville May 20 Staffing rest areas for Assault on Mount Mitchell

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

Upcoming Events
May 2019

Concert Kick-Off Event: 
Parkway Brewery
May 18th Salem, VA
Assault on Mt. Mitchell
Volunteer Opportunity May 20th Asheville, NC
Concert Kick-Off Event:  
Buffalo Mountain Brewery
May 25th Floyd, VA

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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