By Jesse Wood
Nov. 17, 2014. On a morning that featured temperatures in the low teens, 85 people participated in the planting of 1,200 tree seedlings at Bamboo Gap along the Blue Ridge Parkway this past Saturday.
The event at Milepost 285 was held in conjunction with the National Park Service – Blue Ridge Parkway and Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sponsors of the viewshed planting included BRPWeather.com, RaysWeather.com, Mountain Alliance, Harris Teeter, Lowes Food and Ground Effect Landscape and Maintenance.
“We had a killer turnout despite the cold, cold weather,” said David Still, a meteorologist with RaysWeather.com and co-chair – along with Ray Russell – of High Country Chapter of Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway. “This wouldn’t have been possible without everyone turning out and working hard. Everyone worked their tail off while there to get it done … It’s just really remarkable and testament to the community and love of the Blue Ridge Parkway.”
Mountain Alliance provided transportation to the site from Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, and Still said that a Girl Scout Troop from Sparta and ASU students were among those that participated.
Still said that most of the “heavy lifting,” such as the digging of holes, was accomplished before the Saturday outing and the work consisted on setting the trees – mostly white pine and a hardwoods mixture – in the ground and topping them off with fresh dirt. The first sapling was in the ground at 10 a.m. and the group finished with cleanup about 2 p.m.
The planting was done to protect the viewshed along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the Turtle Creek development near Deerfield Road can be seen. The hardwoods will provide fall color while the white pine, which is resilient in these parts, will provide a year-round canopy for generations to come.
While Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway have done a couple of these type plantings along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, Still said this was the first event of its kind along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. While nothing is planned for the immediate future, Still said that future outings would be in the works.
For more photos by Todd Bush of the planting, click to http://toddbushphotography.com/tbp/rw/FriendsOfBlueRidge111514Web/
For more information about Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a volunteer-service group committed to protecting and cleaning the parkway, click here: http://www.friendsbrp.org/index.cfm.
If anyone wants to join the High Country Chapter of the Blue Ridge Parkway, click to the above website or contact RaysWeather.com at 828-264-2030.