Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 26
Sets Record; BRP and
Shenandoah up Too
Train Time Headed
Diving into Virginian Michael Abraham's come-alongwith-me book, "Chasing the Powhatan Arrow" is like
traveling through history, with Charles Kuralt piloting a time machine in the guise of a legendary train.
Each of the Powhatan Arrow's 17 stops from Norfolk,
Virginia (Mile 0), to Cincinnati, Ohio (Mile 676.6),
is a chapter commencing with traditional railroadwatch precision: 12:15 p.m., Roanoke, Mile 252.3, for
example; and its head-office introductory paragraph
about the locale.
Then the journey with Abraham begins. This 480page book is stuffed full of American history and politics, railroad lore, geography, philosophy, plus heaping
helpings of the anecdotal information and synchronicities that define each unique stop along the line.
Why Norfolk at Mile 0? Its identity as the world's
largest coal port is the oversimplified answer. The reader's journey, as well as the Powhatan Arrow's just begins
The book is available from Abraham at bikemike.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park set an all-time
record for visitation in calendar-year 2016, drawing 11.3
million people, according to National Park Service stats.
The park reached the 11 million threshold for the first
time since figures began in 1931, when 154,000 people
Shenandoah National Park saw 1.4 million visitors in '16, its highest total since 2001, and up more
than 200,000 over its 2015 total. The initial-year figure-1936-was 694,000.
The Blue Ridge Parkway figure for 2016 was 15.2
million, the highest figure since 2012. The split was
roughly 10 million on the North Carolina section and 5
million on the Virginia section. Parkway visitation has
grown each year since 2013, when a government shutdown dropped visitation by about 2.5 million under the
The parkway reached its high point of 21.5 million
visitors in 2002, according to NPS figures. The first year
of NPS data is 1941, when 896,000 visited.
The Great Smokies
remain a huge blue
draw for millions of
visitors each year to