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Economy slows traffic on Blue Ridge Parkway

January 23, 2009 by  

As the economy decelerated and gas prices soared, annual visitation to the Blue Ridge Parkway dropped by more than a million motorists in 2008.

The 469-mile scenic highway drew 18.25 million visitors last year, down from 19.29 million in 2007, according to statistics from the National Park Service.

The 2008 visitation was the lowest in the past eight years and the first time below 19 million during that span.

Parkway officials have not traced a cause for the decrease in visitors, and Scott Bell, the Park Service official who tallies visits, declined to speculate.

Campgrounds along the parkway’s first 106 miles — which includes Bedford, Amherst and Nelson counties — saw fewer out-of-state visitors last year than normal, said Randy Sutton, an interpretive ranger for the parkway’s Ridge District.

Bikers along the East Coast usually flock to the ridge-top road, he said, but 2008 saw less motorcycle traffic, leading to a reduction in accidents.

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One Response to “Economy slows traffic on Blue Ridge Parkway”

  1. THE DREAM WITH SPEED on January 24th, 2009 12:37 pm

    […] Economy slows traffic on Blue Ridge Parkway : The Virginia Biker … […]