Blue Ridge Parkway 2021 Volunteer of the Year

On December 17th, The National Park Service announced the 2021 Volunteer of the Year awards, honoring those who have made exemplary contributions to the preservation, protection, and enjoyment of the Blue Ridge Parkway during its first ever Virtual Volunteer Celebration Event.  

During the past year, over 1,200 volunteers collectively contributed more than 40,000 hours in service to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Assisting in numerous ways to support operations, preserve and protect park resources and make a positive impact on visitor experience, volunteers are an important part of the parkway team. The achievements celebrated during the virtual event recognize the time, talent, and dedication to the Blue Ridge Parkway through the park’s volunteer program and highlight the work of this year’s award winners. The virtual volunteer event is available on the park’s website: 

“We are so grateful for the many, dedicated volunteers who give their time volunteering with the National Park Service,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Those who choose to share their time and talents alongside us have a lasting impact on the park and its visitors.” 

Deerfield is proud to announce that resident, Mel Skiles, has received the 2021 Blue Ridge Parkway Individual Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Blue Ridge Parkway Individual Volunteer Award 
Mel Skiles – Asheville Area Trail Maintenance Volunteer  

Mel Skiles has served the Blue Ridge Parkway as a volunteer through the Carolina Mountain Club since 2012. Mel serves weekly as part of the “Thursday Crew” where he maintains the popular Mountain- to-Sea Trail through the Asheville area, contributing to the experiences of thousands of hikers annually. Beyond his work on the trail, Mel is an ambassador for stewardship and has recruited numerous others to take up the mantle of volunteering on the parkway. 

To learn more about volunteer opportunities on the Blue Ridge Parkway and to watch the 2021 Virtual Volunteer event visit the park website: