Today I went for a ride through a small stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that is near my home. As I drove up the winding road I had quotes running through my head. Kristen and I started our research this week and as we looked through secondary sources covering the Parkway we were met with incredible quotes from Senators and conservationists in the 1930s about the value of the proposed road. The Blue Ridge Parkway brings millions of people every year to this corner of the state, people come from all over the world to see the breathtaking sights and beautiful colors. These people are what we are interested in.
Not only do we want to examine the people that came to construct this engineering marvel, we want to look at the types of visitors it has attracted since then. This movement of people, in our eyes, constitutes a migration. Given the time of year it is, we could even go out in a couple of weeks (with the permission of the Parks Service of course) and talk to those coming out to see the leaves change. My mother has been a leaf-looker since we moved to North Carolina in 2000, and if others are as serious as she is about, they come back at the same time every year. There are also cyclists who train on the Parkway, and bikers who ride it up and down. The conservationists who come and hike the trails that jut off of the Parkway are also plentiful. These folks may only come here temporarily, but they come from far and wide. Towns along the Parkway have geared themselves to be attractions for people to exit the road and come in to visit them. Tourists have shaped our area, and the Blue Ridge Parkway has shaped the type and quantity of tourists.
We have a long road ahead of us if we hope to embark on studying this 469 mile path. Kristen and I are both enthusiastic and ready to do the work required! We have created a Google Doc with our annotated secondary source bibliography that will be updated as we go along.