New WRAL Documentary Explores the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Focal Point: “America’s Favorite Journey”
New WRAL Documentary Explores the Blue Ridge Parkway

Airs Tuesday June 29, 2010, 7pm

Focal Point The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most popular destination in our national park system, hosting about 17 million visitors a year. As the Parkway celebrates its 75th birthday, a new WRAL documentary examines the Parkway’s importance to our state and some of the serious challenges it is facing.  The documentary called “America’s Favorite Journey,” airs Tuesday, June 29 at 7pm and is hosted by WRAL News anchor Bill Leslie.

Nearly half of the Parkway’s 469-mile route runs through North Carolina, including its highest elevations.  Some of the Parkway’s most iconic features are in our state, including its highest peak and the Linn Cove Viaduct at Grandfather Mountain. Visitors to the Parkway generate more than two billion dollars a year for mountain communities.

Its biological diversity, rich history and its parks and trails make the Parkway a valuable educational and recreational resource. But the Parkway faces many challenges.  Limited federal funding has led to a staff shortage and a maintenance backlog.  Repairs and routine maintenance have been delayed, limiting access to certain sections of the Parkway and diminishing the Parkway experience.  Some say there are not enough rangers to ensure public safety and prevent vandalism.  Along some sections of the Parkway, encroaching development threatens scenic views.

“America’s Favorite Journey” is a half-hour documentary that explores the Parkway’s past and the challenges it faces in the future.  The program also looks at the many different ways people experience and enjoy the Parkway.

Focal Point
“America’s Favorite Journey” is the latest episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Debbie Tullos for this capcom story.

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