The Blue Ridge Parkway: Built by the CCC and Now Protected By the Land & Water Conservation Fund

Blue Ridge Parkway vista    Photo: National Park Service

The Blue Ridge Parkwayfirst conceived in 1933 to connect Skyline Drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — is a feast for the eyes, designed by landscape architects specifically to showcase a variety of vistas and views.  But preserving them requires conserving parcels along the boundaries of the Park, which, as This American Land explains, the government’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) makes possible.  The Park is 469 miles long and took decades to complete — its construction involved several New Deal jobs programs including the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Why This Matters:  Built as a result of some of the most important job-creating programs of the New Deal, the Blue Ridge Parkway boosts local economies all along its path.  The Parkway’s economic benefits are as important today as when it was built.  If Congress takes up a fourth stimulus bill aimed at economic recovery and putting people back to work, then programs like the ones that created this national treasure and boosted parks across the nation ought to be part of the package.  And they should provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a bill pending in Congress now — right away.

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