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Federal budget cuts hit Blue Ridge Parkway
Roanoke Mountain, Rocky Knob and Smart View affected by sequestration.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
The Roanoke Mountain Campground will not open at all because of the sequester, but plans are in the works to continue the Sunday evening concerts through the fall, a news release said.
The Roanoke Times | File January
Roanoke Mountain Campground, Smart View picnic area in Franklin County and the Rocky Knob Visitor Center in Floyd County will all remain closed this season because of automatic federal spending cuts.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
On a day when the Blue Ridge Parkway announced its seasonal openings, the big news was about the places that will stay closed because of the federal government's automatic spending cuts.
Roanoke Mountain Campground, Smart View picnic area in Franklin County and the Rocky Knob Visitor Center in Floyd County will all remain closed this season, because of an across-the-board 5 percent cut to the National Park Service mandated by the federal sequester.
The James River Visitor Center in Amherst County will also remain closed.
Parkway officials had slated Roanoke Mountain Campground to be converted to a daytime-only park, but a lack of funding had prevented that plan from being implemented and the area was to remain a campground temporarily. Now, because of the sequester , the campground will not open at all, although plans are in the works to continue the Sunday evening bluegrass and mountain music concerts through the fall, according to a parkway news release.
The Rocky Knob rental cabins will not re open until renovations are completed.
The funding cut means that the park service cannot hire a full complement of seasonal employees, the news release stated, forcing several sites to stay closed along the 469-mile scenic route in Virginia and North Carolina.
"We regret that reductions to our usual visitor service may cause some inconvenience for park visitors and will keep the public informed if the situation changes," the news release stated.
Most parkway sites that will re open will do so by Memorial Day weekend. The Mabry Mill Restaurant will open May 1, and the rest of the grounds will open May 24. The Blue Ridge Music Center will re open four days a week starting May 4 and daily beginning May 24.
The music center's concert season starts May 25 and includes a performance by Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal on June 14 and other bluegrass, old-time, gospel and blues concerts through Aug. 31.
Also opening May 24 will be the Rocky Knob picnic area and the Peaks of Otter Campground, Nature Center and Visitor Center and the nearby Johnson Farm in Bedford County.
The Peaks of Otter Restaurant and Lodge will re open by early summer, pending the finalization of a contract with a new manager. The lodge closed in November after the previous management company opted not to bid on a new contract.
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