May mudslides could impact autumn tourism for Roanoke County, Blue Ridge Parkway

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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism is seeing an increase in outdoor activities traffic, but road maintenance may cause a decrease in Blue Ridge Parkway tourists because of May mudslides.

“Our camping operation has been doing well, our vendors have seen increased traffic there, but what we’re seeing a decrease in is folks stopping into the Visitor’s Center and general out of area traffic,” explained Scott Ramsburg, head of marketing for Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Roanoke County officials say that locals have been frequenting camping sites and yurts, while less people have traveled down Route 220 to the Explore Park visitor’s center because of road maintenance. However, that maintenance was necessary because of May mudslides that damaged the Blue Ridge Parkway.

National Parks officials expect that construction on a portion of the parkway could open up the area from Route 220 to Route 24 by Christmas. The rest may not open up until autumn of 2021.

Last year, the Explore Park saw about 45,000 people during the Illuminights Festival. Park officials fear that if more of the parkway does not open, they may see a decrease in traffic heading into the fall and winter months.

To learn more about the events and activities available in Roanoke County, check out the Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism website or Facebook page.

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