Blue Ridge Parkway
Completed: October 9, 2014
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a spectacular drive along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains, it is 469 miles long and is in two states; North Carolina and Virginia. The roadway is designed for leisurely driving, average speed limit is 45 mph, and has limited access along the way. There are numerous historic sites, arts and craft shops and visitor centers on the parkway. Campgrounds, lodging and eating opportunities can be found, but not very many. Stops along the route are identified by their Milepost number, from north to south.
This is classified Senior Friendly as no age range is given to participate.
Because this National Park Service site covers so much territory, both in history and natural resources their Junior Ranger program is unique. The staff along the way can help you understand what needs to be completed. Initially you receive a pocket folder which has seven different short activities, these are all to be completed. The folder activities include; Arrowhead, While walking any Parkway Trail, While riding along the Parkway, History and Nature Along the Parkway, Doing Your Part, Preparing for Changing Weather, and Parkway Bingo. All of these were fun activities that were helpful to experience the Parkway.
Ten activity sheets are available at multiple sites, some sites can provide more that one sheet. Because sites may be closed when you reach a site you will want to pick up as many as you can along the way. To earn the Junior Ranger badge you need to complete at least three activities on one of the sheets, for a patch you need to complete at least four of the sheets and a special award is available if all ten sheets are completed. I was able to complete five of the sheets, so I did receive the badge and patch.
The ten sheets have a variety of activities, too many to list here. There are questions to answer, observations to write, pictures to draw, word searches, mazes, hidden items, and a Keeping Track section on each sheet. Keeping Track includes; date visited, what you explored, enjoyed and discovered at each area. Not many people are able to travel the entire Parkway at one visit, so this is a program that can completed over multiple visits to earn the badge, patch and special award.
I was fortunate to be able to travel the entire length of the Parkway and received eight of the sheets, however I was only able to complete five of them. I received the certificate, enhanced badge and patch. Maybe some day I’ll be able complete all ten sheets, a goal to look forward to completing.