New Virginia license plate to benefit Blue Ridge Parkway

A sample image of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's new specialty plate. 450 preorders must be received in order for it to become an official DMV offering.(Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia drivers may have a new specialty license plate option coming soon - one that will benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The new plate comes from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and features a winding road in a nature setting with the sun and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. The plate is currently available for pre-order, but the foundation must receive 450 applications for the plate to become an official DMV offering.

Fees for the plate would be $25 annually for a standard plate and $35 a year for a personalized plate. A portion of the sales proceeds would support the nonprofit organization’s mission to protect and preserve the country’s most visited national park unit; the money would go toward enhancement projects, outreach and educational programs.

The Blue Ridge Parkway receives more visitors each year than the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks combined, according to the foundation. More than 14 million people explored it in 2020 alone. But without entrance fees, the Parkway receives only a fraction of the funding of other parks. Contributions to the foundation provide necessary financial support for natural resource protection, enhanced visitor amenities, historical and cultural preservation, and education and outreach programs, according to the foundation.

“I am thrilled that we can offer this new and easy way for Virginians to support and share their love for the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward, a native of Southwest Virginia.

The foundation also offers a North Carolina plate that benefits the Parkway.

“North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway plate provides more than half a million dollars each year for Parkway improvements, programs and renovations,” said Roanoke attorney Broaddus Fitzpatrick, a former chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “Virginia has a chance to catch up in funding with the proposed new plate.”

The Virginia DMV’s current blue and yellow Parkway plate benefits the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Inc., “a non-profit, volunteer and membership organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Blue Ridge region.”

Since its beginnings in 1997, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has contributed $18 million for projects and programs in the park. Past donor-funded projects in Virginia include the rehabilitation of historical Mabry Mill and Humpback Rocks Farm, creation of the Parkway’s first ADA-compliant trail at the Peaks of Otter, a survey of biological diversity at Rock Castle Gorge, and ongoing programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center.

To pre-order the new specialty plate, click here.

Copyright 2021 WDBJ. All rights reserved.