Anne’s Parkway Writings

What is a “historian’s Parkway”?

What is a “historian’s Parkway”?

(Original post on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, April 16, 2008) Drivers, hikers, bikers, lovers, photographers, engineers, landscape designers, neighboring landowners, farmers, philanthropists, politicians, business owners – there are almost as many perspectives on the Parkway as there are travelers. And each of us may experience the Parkway differently at different times. I first went there as child in the 1970s and 1980s – in the back seat of my parents’ Buick Century. Devil’s Courthouse was a favorite place for…

Read More Read More

Tarnish on Our National Treasures

Tarnish on Our National Treasures

Anne Mitchell Whisnant David E. Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) March 30, 2007 CHAPEL HILL–‘Let’s close the National Parks,” Bernard DeVoto wrote in Harper’s in 1953. Detailing the decay of a park system in crisis as visitation skyrocketed but budgets lagged in the post-World War II years, DeVoto shocked Americans by suggesting that Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon be shuttered until citizens in “a more enlightened future” would demand from Congress the funding that would…

Read More Read More

The Parkway Has Never Been Easy, But It’s Worth It

The Parkway Has Never Been Easy, But It’s Worth It

By Anne Mitchell Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) October 15, 2006 I’ve spent 15 years traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway writing “Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History” (University of North Carolina Press). The parkway, Ive learned, has always been a controversial and politically challenging undertaking. Bringing a limited-access scenic highway with an exceptionally wide right-of-way through a populated region could hardly help but stir conflicts. For nearly 75 years, parkway managers have contended with…

Read More Read More

A Two-state Solution for the Parkway’s Woes

A Two-state Solution for the Parkway’s Woes

By Anne Mitchell Whisnant Originally published in The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) May 5, 2006 DURHAM–America’s beloved Blue Ridge Parkway, the scenic road winding through the North Carolina and Virginia mountains, is in crisis. Though it has been the most popular attraction in the National Parks system since the 1950s, and today draws more visitors than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined, its annual operating budget is only about half that of those parks. Now, with the entire…

Read More Read More