Home Shenandoah National Park to rehabilitate Hawksbill Mountain Observation Point

Shenandoah National Park to rehabilitate Hawksbill Mountain Observation Point


shenandoah national parkThe National Park Service announced $15 million in support of 69 projects in 63 parks, including $58,112 at Shenandoah National Park to rehabilitate the historic stone observation platform at the top of Hawksbill Mountain. The funding for Shenandoah National Park will be matched with $62,000 from the Shenandoah National Park Trust, the park’s official philanthropic partner.

Funding for the project is provided through the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge Program to leverage partnerships to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities. Congress provided $15 million for the Centennial Challenge projects, which will be matched by almost $33 million from more than 90 park partners. The 69 projects total almost $48 million and are located at 63 parks in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“As the National Park Service enters its centennial year in 2016, Congress and generous partners across the country are making exceptional investments to improve park facilities, enhance their accessibility, and help more visitors – especially young people – discover our nation’s inspiring places and stories,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“We are delighted to have an opportunity to partner with the Shenandoah National Park Trust in rehabilitating the historic and significant stone observation platform on the summit of the park’s tallest peak as one of our signature projects associated with the National Park Service Centennial” said park superintendent Jim Northup.  “The other, very exciting aspect of this project is that our park stone masons will be working with a Hands-on-Preservation (HOPE) Crew, a special youth crew program sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to teach the next generation of historic preservationists”  Northup added.

“It’s an iconic feature of the park,” said Susan Sherman, President of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, “For the people who hike specifically to the peak each year, it’s got sentimental value.”

The stone observation platform on the summit of Hawksbill Mountain was donated to the park by former Senator Harry F. Byrd (along with the funding for the nearby Byrd’s Nest Hiking Shelter) in 1962. Since then, the platform has been vandalized and has fallen into disrepair. In rehabilitating the platform, the park hopes to return it to its former glory, and use its symbolic significance to raise public awareness about what will be needed to continue to protect and enhance Shenandoah National Park for the next century and beyond.

The rehabilitation work is planned for April and May of 2016. All trails to the summit of Hawksbill Mountain will be temporarily closed for short periods of time while the work is being conducted.



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