ASHEVILLE — The National Park Service is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service on a project that includes a proposal for additional access to the Graveyard Fields trail system from John Rock Overlook at milepost 419.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Access to the trails now is by a single parking area on the parkway, which often sees overflow parking stretching along the road. This Forest Service project would use the nearby John Rock Overlook as an additional access point, with a pedestrian crossing of the parkway. The proposed crossing would be planned with safety as a priority, ultimately connecting the overlook to a short, new trail constructed on Park Service land that leads to Forest Service lands. By creating an additional safe access at the overlook, use of the area can be better distributed and visitor safety can be improved.
The Pisgah Ranger District of the Pisgah National Forest is seeking public input on the project, which also seeks to restore, protect and improve one of the more highly visited destinations in the district, known for its distinctive geography, natural communities and waterfalls.
The Graveyard Fields area is 25 miles southwest of Asheville and ranges in elevation from about 5,000 to 6,200-plus feet. The larger Graveyard Fields project, of which the proposed trail connection is one piece, is divided into four primary categories of work: heavy trail maintenance, trail relocation and construction, stream restoration and red spruce restoration.
For information and to comments about the project, visit https://bit.ly/3q005Vy. On the right side of the project webpage, click “Comment/Object” on project and submit your comments.
Comments also can be mailed to: Pisgah Ranger District, National Forest Service, Attn: Jeff Owenby, 1600 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768.
Comments will become part of the project record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
To learn more about the project's connection with Blue Ridge Parkway Lands, visit parkplanning.nps.gov/graveyardfields.