-- Ben Franklin
"The region has long relied on the Blue Ridge Parkway to be a golden goose. The most recent figures point to a goose egg, just not a golden one. The National Park Service, which manages the parkway, announced this week that 2005 was the third consecutive year of declining visitors, down nearly 5 million since 2002.
Rampant development, high gas prices, rude motorists and tourists looking for more than a view are all to blame. If the trend continues, hoping to draw people off the parkway becomes an even less sound basis for tourism marketing and development.
With a little work, the region's forested mountains could offer camping, hiking and mountain biking on par with anywhere east of the Mississippi River, but only if communities resist the temptation to throw houses and mega stores on them."
-- "A New Vision Of Roanoke Tourism," Roanoke Times editorial, January 11, 2006 (link)
" After Jackson had repulsed Franklin's attack on the Confederate right, Burnside ordered Sumner to storm Longstreet's impregnable position on Marye's Heights. Successive charges brought death to droves of courageous Union troops. Burnside's subordinates protested against renewing the foolhardy assaults, and on Dec. 15 the Federals made an undisturbed withdrawal to the north bank. Union losses, more than twice the Confederate, were over 12,000. The defeat caused profound depression throughout the North."
-- "Battle of Fredericksburg," Answers.com, Columbia University Press (link)
"There comes a time when we must regroup and reevaluate. Our thoughtful plans and best intentions have failed to improve the lot of the citizens of Roanoke in particular and have exacerbated the plight of Southwest Virginians in general. Transforming the area's traditional reliance on manufacturing into a tourist economy, though well-considered and enthusiastically pursued, has resulted in a calamitous loss of economic vitality in the region (see here the Milken Institute's study of the top 200 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas' performance; it ranks Roanoke 181st in job growth and potential for economic opportunity, just ahead of Detroit and Cleveland).
If there is a key indicator in the current plan, it has to be the development of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most promising of all the trails, tracks, traverses and tourist termini that have been touted - and well-funded - in recent years. And it is down five million visitors since 2002.
Doing more of the same will result in more of the same."
-- Jerry Fuhrman, "From On High, January 11, 2006