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Shenandoah National Park seeks public input concerning proposed removal

The National Park Service is seeking public input on the draft Memorandum of Agreement concerning the proposed removal of five buildings in the Big Meadows Area known as the Big Meadows Cottages or Maids Cabins. These cottages are contributing structures in the Skyland Drive National Historic Landmark District (NHL) (entered in the National Register of Historic Places on September 19, 1997, amended October 6, 2008).

shenandoah national parkIn consultation with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the park and the SHPO have jointly determined that the removal of the cottages will have an adverse effect on the Skyline Drive NHL. As required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) the park and the SHPO have developed a draft MOA to mitigate the adverse effect to the NHL.  The draft MOA describes measures to be taken by the park to document the cottages prior to removal and protect any unknown archaeological resources during the removal process.

Last summer, the park solicited public input on the proposed removal. The park received 29 comments to consider. Many suggested that the cabins be moved to a new location and repurposed into “tiny houses” for people in need. The park will determine if the cabins are fit for habitation as is required by Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (PL100-77).

The cabins sit behind the Crescent Rock Cottage. The Virginia Sky-Line Company built Cottage A and B around 1933 and Cottage C, D, and E around 1939; all were constructed and located at Swift Run Gap, approximately 14 miles south of Big Meadows. In 1955, the Virginia Sky-Line Company moved the cottages to their present location, removed the original porches, and added a bathroom extension to the rear of each building. The park’s business partners at Big Meadows used these buildings as employee housing and, for the last 10 years, as storage. In 2013, the park reacquired control of the buildings.

The public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed action for a 30-day period ending on July 5, 2017. Maps and photographs of the cottages may be found online at

Comments should be posted online at or sent to: Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, Attn: Big Meadows Cottages, 3655 U.S. Highway, 211 East, Luray, VA 22835.

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