Did you know? The mountains within the Blue Ridge Parkway are considered one of the most biodiverse places on earth. To support the national park, organizations like the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation help fund restoration projects + conservation programs.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Richmonders had a way to help support the park? Hint: They can by pre-ordering the new BRPF license plate ($25 annually; $35 for a personalized plate).
The NC version of the plate provides ~$500,000 per year for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s work — so this plate gives Virginians the opportunity to make a significant impact.
Here are five ways purchasing a plate can have a positive environmental impact on the park:
Support trail work to prevent erosion
Care of the Parkway’s great expanse of trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and overlooks has fallen behind because of budget constraints. Trails can erode without proper restoration and maintenance, leading to long-term damage. That damage could affect many areas across the park’s 369+ miles of hiking trails.
Through the Trails & Views Forever program, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation aims to raise a total of $3 million that will go toward repairs at trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas, as well as clearing of the iconic scenic overlooks along the route. The program also helps engage youth conservation crews in trail rehabilitation projects.
Teach visitors how to protect endangered plant species
With additional funds, the park can expand education programs that provide training and supplies to volunteers who teach visitors how to protect endangered flora and fauna — like by not trampling plants on their hike. Over 2,000 plant species call the national park home. Without proper education, visitors can potentially affect what’s growing in the park.
A bioblitz is an event where volunteers and researchers survey plants + animals in certain areas. The results give biologists a more precise picture of species diversity and habitat needs on the Parkway. During one bioblitz, species like the speckled black salamander and the red-spotted newt were found at Rock Castle Gorge along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
Fund long-term research projects
Research doesn’t happen overnight. In order to collect data across 88,000 acres of land, park biologists use motion-activated cameras placed in remote areas. This allows them to study animal populations, assess the distribution of medium and large mammals in the park, monitor wildlife use of water sources, and track other unique habitats along the Parkway.
Support surveys of threatened species
The park’s biodiverse status is ecologically important. However, for a number of threatened species that call the Parkway home, including bog turtles and crayfish, it’s even more important for park biologists to know how they’re doing in order to assist in their survival. Providing funds for scientific surveys allows park biologists to learn which species are making a comeback and which ones need more assistance.
To help the Blue Ridge Parkway with its various on-going projects, learn more about pre-ordering a license plate.
How many bird species can be found within the park? Make a guess here.*