MILLERSBURG, OH — The National Scenic Byway Foundation congratulates the Blue Ridge Parkway, represented by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, as the winner of our 2023 Byway Organization Award for Viewshed Improvement. This is one of the Foundation’s eight national awards presented annually.

This award celebrates a large and successful partnership to conserve over 5,200 acres in the Waterrock Knob area (Milepost 451) on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesville, Sylva, and Cherokee, North Carolina. In September 2022, the project partners celebrated the conservation of these lands and their completed or pending transfers to the Blue Ridge Parkway. These lands conserve rare, high-elevation species and natural communities and miles of creeks. They also protect numerous scenic views along more than eight miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and they will provide additional recreation opportunities for both nearby residents and Parkway visitors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation supports numerous efforts to protect Parkway resources and improve visitor experiences, but in this case, the organization submitted its award application to help recognize and thank other partners who did the lion’s share of the work at Waterrock Knob – the landowners, land trusts, and donors. Their vision, diligence, and generosity have protected thousands of acres to be enjoyed by millions of annual visitors for hundreds of years to come.

The Conservation Fund, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy secured millions of dollars of cash and in-kind donations over more than 30 years to make the Waterrock Knob project the success that it is today. Even more impressive, these groups have protected the Waterrock Knob area while simultaneously protecting tens of thousands more acres at many additional locations along the Parkway. Their collaborative efforts, together with the National Park Service, maintain dozens of scenic views and enhance the visitor experience for thousands of people every day.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles across North Carolina and Virginia. It was designated an All-American Road in 1996, part of the America’s Byway collection. Visit the park’s website at or