Many of the people who have lived in Asheville for most of their lives have tried to protect our National Forest, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway scenic overlooks. About 200,000 tourists explore Asheville’s mountains every year, and if you ask one of them what is one of the coolest mountain scenes in the area they will probably say that any of the overlooks on the parkway are great places to go. These mountain overlooks are beautiful during every season. A drive up these mountains is perfect for any occasion-dates, picnics, photoshoots, etc.
Although tourists come to our mountain town and bring money to spend, there are downsides to their overflowing vacationing. People that do cherish our mountains more than most are usually people that have lived here their whole lives, including myself. These locals are very protective over our Blue Ridge Mountains. One of the reasons for this is because some tourists do not appreciate the beauty that is supposed to last a lifetime. More than 50 species of mammals are known to be inhabitants of the Blue Ridge Mountains (especially bears), and 40 species each of amphibians and reptiles with 150 types of birds. Each animal has their own habitat in the mountains. Each year sees roughly 14 million visitors to the parkway’s overlooks, an amount that is going to grow for many years to come
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) focuses their conservation efforts saving the Blue Ridge Mountain’s clear mountain streams, scenic views, forest life and cultural heritage. Every tree, valley and animal has its own place in these mountains. They tell stories about our state’s culture as well. Reaching across Virginia to North Carolina, the parkway encompasses some of the oldest settlements of both pre-historic and even European settlements.
The Cherokee Indians, who were some of the first inhabitants, have left cultural artifacts and changes in landscapes. There are many discoveries of European settlements, including farms, old cabins, and communities that have left their traces for us to find. There is even an old railroad track, “Irish Creek Railway” that was part of the pioneer community. All of these findings are just another reason for us, and tourists, to keep our mountains safe and the same they have always been.
The Parkway is the 2nd-most popular attraction of the National Park Service which isn’t surprising at all. But if people want to keep it that way, we all have to pitch in. Tourists should try to care as much as locals do. Since the Parkway brings in millions of tourists, it also brings in millions to the economy. Unfortunately, to some people, the money matters more than the conservation.