Jan 04 2024

Parking Lot Improvements Completed at Pearis Cemetery along AT in Giles

Parking Lot Improvements Completed at Pearis Cemetery

Hikers and history buffs alike have something new to celebrate in Giles County! The parking area on Route 100 for the Appalachian Trail and the historic Pearis Cemetery recently got a makeover. Deep potholes and muddy areas have been filled in with rock and topped with gravel, restoring this parking lot to its former glory.

 

“I used to hold my breath a little, just pulling off the paved road in my little hatchback,” says Kathryn Herndon-Powell from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “Especially in wet conditions, folks were parking in the grass pretty far from the kiosk for fear they’d get stuck in the mud. Now the parking lot is nice and solid, and those of us in little cars can confidently drive right up to claim the best parking spots.”

 

The lot is located right off Highway 460 in Pearisburg, just across the New River from the Celanese plant in Pearisburg. Hikers looking for a great view and a vigorous climb can head south on the famous trail, ascending almost 2,000 feet to the Angels Rest rock outcrop atop Pearis Mountain. Or, head north for an easy quarter-mile hike to visit the historic Pearis Cemetery on a short spur trail off the A.T. Maintained by the local George Pearis Chapter of the NSDAR, the cemetery is the final resting place of the town’s founder and namesake, who fought in the Revolutionary War, along with others. It’s also home to one of the largest cucumber magnolia trees in Virginia.

 

The parking lot and trails are on National Forest land, acquired for the protection of the Appalachian Trail in 1981. USFS personnel in the Eastern Divide Ranger District reviewed and approved the planned repairs to the parking lot. Appalachian Trail Conservancy staff worked with NPS partners in the Appalachian National Scenic Trail Park Office to secure federal funding, and hired a local contractor, Brandon Cumbee, with help from Giles County partners. Local volunteer trail maintainers from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) met with Brandon in advance to share background on the history and issues of the parking lot.

 

RATC volunteer John Hvozdovic of Blacksburg has been mowing the parking area for about a decade. “The Pearis Cemetery lot is a convenient place to access a great section of the A.T., and I’ve never seen it look better. I hope lots of folks will come out and enjoy exploring the area!”

 

 

Work was completed in October 2023 by Brandon Cumbee

The parking lot before saw a lot of use, but needed some attention. Now it’s better than ever!

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