Home Shenandoah National Park updating electrical; work to impact visitors, campgrounds

Shenandoah National Park updating electrical; work to impact visitors, campgrounds

Crystal Graham
Shenandoah National Park
Pass Run in Shenandoah National Park. Courtesy of Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park is working with utility partners to make repairs and upgrade infrastructure in an effort to mitigate damage from future weather events.

Work has begun to replace utility poles and repair power lines along two utility corridors in the park.

The work will impact visitor services at Elkwallow, Mathews Arm campground and the Big Meadows area.

Work will begin in the northern part of the park once repairs in the Big Meadows area are complete.

At this time, there is not a date for completion.

Big Meadows

At Big Meadows, there will be intermittent power outages throughout the month of April, Mondays through Thursdays.

During outages, Big Meadows Wayside and the Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51) will utilize generators.

However, bathrooms and showers at the campground will be closed Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ice and wood sales will be moved to the Wayside.

Elkwallow Wayside and Mathews Arm Campground

Elkwallow Wayside (mile 24) and Mathews Arm Campground (mile 22) will delay opening for the season.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Shenandoah National Park were previously working on a project to upgrade electric equipment including poles.

High fire danger coupled with a forecasted wind event prompted the park to contact REC as well as Dominion Energy and Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative to request that five lines in heavily wooded areas be de-energized to reduce the risk of fire.

Despite this precautionary measure, the event produced widespread damage causing outages and additional work.

The Matthews Arm circuit experienced an exceptional degree of damage which required the removal of more than 250 dead or downed trees on the powerline easement. More than a dozen poles were broken or damaged.

REC has also identified 33 poles on the Big Meadows line that need to be replaced. Fixing the poles takes specialized equipment, and there is a permitting process for work in the NPS easement, all of which impacts the timeline.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.