Park sets spring openings

Shenandoah National Park has announced the opening dates for its visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas for the 2015 spring season.

Although the dates are, for the most part, identical to previous spring schedules, the park made a few adjustments for 2015.

The most notable change is that the opening of the Big Meadows campsite will take place March 27.

Park public affairs officer Karen Beck-Herzog noted that this is a return to when Big Meadows would traditionally open up.

For the past two seasons, Big Meadows opened in late-April due to repairs to the park’s water treatment facility and a 2013 sequestration in the park last year.

“We know lots of folks who really look forward to Big Meadows for camping around Easter,” Beck-Herzog said, noting that the park “heard that loud and clear” when it delayed the opening in 2013.

Beck-Herzog added, “There will be people in the campgrounds, coming in to [the park] as it starts to get warm and we’re going to be here to welcome them.”

The park will also be opening the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center full time on April 4, while dropping the transitional Thursday-Monday schedule of previous springs.

“Obviously, we prefer to provide seven-day services to our visitors and our interpretive staff is able to do that within their budget,” Beck-Herzog said.

As with years past, picnic the grounds of Elkwallow, Pinnacles, South River and Dundo are already open.

After a weekend-only winter schedule, the Harry F. Byrd, Sr. Visitor Center will return to a seven-day per week schedule March 29.

The winter schedule, Beck-Herzog said, was in its second season at the Byrd center and “was very well received, there were over 100 visitors each day on average.”

Additional campground openings include: Lewis Mountain on April 3 and Matthews Arm, Loft Mountain and group camping at Dundo all open on May 6.

More information on spring dates and facility schedules can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/7ouhzxq.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com