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Category: VBR Posts

History and the GMP, Part 4: What shouldn’t go in

History and the GMP, Part 4: What shouldn’t go in

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, August 14, 2008) Sorry I have been offline for a while — I was traveling to the midwest, where I visited Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace. But now back to the Blue Ridge Parkway! In some recent posts, I’ve been trying to give a historically-informed analysis of the “preliminary alternatives” announced back in the spring for the public’s consideration and commentary to help the…

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Parkway’s problems endemic to many National Parks

Parkway’s problems endemic to many National Parks

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 25, 2008) I subscribe to a Google groups listserv called Park Land Watch that sends me multiple articles every day about all kinds of issues facing the National Parks. The topics raised on the list remind me that our beloved Blue Ridge Parkway is part of a large national system of parks, and that its struggles are, by and large, emblematic of the troubles faced by the entire National Parks system….

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History and the GMP, Part 3: Some priorities

History and the GMP, Part 3: Some priorities

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 16, 2008) In some recent posts, I’ve been trying to give a historically-informed analysis of the “preliminary alternatives” recently announced for the public’s consideration and commentary to help the Parkway staff writes a General Management Plan for the park. Today’s topic? The comments I submitted in response to Question 2. Read the spring 2008 GMP newsletter and learn about the preliminary alternatives here. Question 2. Which parts of any of…

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80 K-12 teachers studying Parkway at ASU this week and next

80 K-12 teachers studying Parkway at ASU this week and next

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 9, 2008) I have just returned from Boone, NC, where I spent parts of two days with a group of K-12 educators who are spending a week at Appalachian State University studying the Parkway and its history. They are there for the first of two sessions of a new “Landmarks of American History and Culture” teacher workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Titled “Not Just a Scenic Road: The Blue…

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History and the GMP, Part 2: An argument for alternative C

History and the GMP, Part 2: An argument for alternative C

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, July 2, 2008) In this and the next several posts, I’m trying to give a historically-informed analysis of the “preliminary alternatives” recently announced for the public’s consideration and commentary to help the Parkway staff writes a General Management Plan for the park. Today’s topic? The comments I submitted in response to Question 1. Read the spring 2008 GMP newsletter and learn about the preliminary alternatives here. Question 1. Is one of the…

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Parkway history at the BRP General Management Plan: Part 1

Parkway history at the BRP General Management Plan: Part 1

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 25, 2008) For several years now, the staff at the Blue Ridge Parkway has been working on writing a General Management Plan. Before you start yawning, let me explain a bit: what is a General Management Plan, and why should we care? Partly we should care because the Parkway is under legal mandate to have a GMP under the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978. That act directs…

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Images that would be worth 1000 words

Images that would be worth 1000 words

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 11, 2008) When local people dubbed it “The Scenic” in the 1930s, they recognized what all of us realize – that the Parkway is an intensely visual experience. “See” is the first syllable in “scenic.” But the sources from which a historian works (letters, reports, newspapers) are often mostly verbal, and our understanding of many of the events that those documents record (legislative debates, allocation of funds, administrative decisions,…

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A Parkway murder mystery

A Parkway murder mystery

(Originally posted on Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, June 4, 2008) The January 3, 1979 Asheville Citizen-Times story was brief and sterile: Four or five gunshot wounds were in Catherine D. Bauer when her dead body was found Monday afternoon in a wooded part of the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department reported Tuesday. No arrests had been made at the time, the department spokesman said, but he added: `We might have something tomorrow.’ Mrs. Bauer,…

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The adventures of the Blue Ridge Parkway archives

The adventures of the Blue Ridge Parkway archives

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, May 27, 2008) I am writing this post while riding along in my family’s minivan, my computer plugged into the cigarette lighter via a DC/AC converter my husband and I bought when I was doing some early Parkway research. We bought this little device in 1994 because at that time, when I was doing research for my book, the Blue Ridge Parkway’s main collection of historical documents was housed in…

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Designing the Parks conference in Charlottesville next week

Designing the Parks conference in Charlottesville next week

(Originally posted to Virtual Blue Ridge’s Blue Ridge Parkway Blog, May 14, 2008) Writing a book of history can often be an intensely solitary process. Hours alone in the archives, communing with long-dead people as your only companions. I know I’ve had a running conversation in my head with Parkway location engineer R. Getty Browning, dead since the late 1960s, but as alive to me as many of the real people in my world. More on him in a future…

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