Peak season hike? SNP one of 17 parks that could see drastic entrance fee increases

LURAY — A proposed hike in entrance fees could more than double costs to visit Shenandoah National Park during peak season. The proposed increase at 17 national parks would affect each park's busiest contiguous five-month period. The National Park Service, which is within the Department of the Interior, announced the proposal last Tuesday as a $70 million revenue generator to offset an $11 billion maintenance backlog. Increases are proposed at parks such as the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Yosemite and Shenandoah National Park. Beginning June 1, vehicle entrance fees would climb from $25 to $70 at SNP. The cost of riding a motorcycle into the park would rise from $20 to $50, while individual passes would increase from $10 to $30. Annual park passes would jump from $50 to $75, rivaling gate costs of popular amusement parks (Kings Dominion, for example, is selling 2018 season passes on its website for $99; Busch Gardens is currently advertising annual passes for $144).

Supervisors ask staff to create noise ordinance

HARRISONBURG — It may be difficult, but Rockingham County officials will take a swing at noise regulations. The Board of Supervisors directed staff to craft a noise ordinance at its meeting last Wednesday. The county has no ordinance regulating noise, leaving deputies with no choice but to try to mediate disputes when complaints are made. Janet Brady, who requested the ordinance, told the board about issues she’s faced at her McGaheysville property. Brady said one neighbor played music and karaoke on “stadium speakers” and another is target shooting on weekends.
The Valley Banner / 11-03-2017

Neon lights and frights: DarkWood debuts 3D mind maze in 17th season

LURAY — The subjects are menacing, but before it goes dark, under bright house lights, it's almost cheerful ― bursts of colors and florescent swirls. It all changes when the lights go out just before 7 p.m. and the monsters depicted on the walls and the actors who portray them come alive behind a pair of 3D glasses. DarkWood Manor's latest attraction invites viewer's to enter the mind of a mad scientist. A few hours before showtime, a group of actors meanders outside Luray's Halloween attraction, sitting on hay bales and awaiting a Domino's delivery driver. For the actors who will soon take to the makeup chair to become unrecognizable, it's the fun of fear that lures them here but the camaraderie that keeps them coming back.

SVBF aims to protect local battlefields

HARRISONBURG — The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is working to protect nearly 1,600 acres on land bordering the Cross Keys and Port Republic battlefields in Rockingham County. Last week, the foundation applied for about $12 million in funding through the Du-Pont-Waynesboro Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement. The money would pay landowners for conservation easements to protect the historic land. DuPont, a company that once operated a textile manufacturing plant in Waynesboro, is required to pay about $42 million for restoration projects after the facility poured mercury into the South River. Conservation easements restrict what can be done on properties, said John Hutchinson, director of conservation for the battlefields foundation.
The Valley Banner / 10-26-2017

Ex-Christiansburg employee tapped for New Market job

NEW MARKET — A longtime employee of the town of Christiansburg has been tapped to be New Market’s town manager. Town Council unanimously named Todd Walters, 52, to the position, effective Nov. 6, during its Monday meeting. He has worked for the Town of Christiansburg for almost 30 years, and has been its assistant director of engineering since 2010. Walters’ salary will be $75,000 per year, Councilwoman Peggy Harkness said. Former Town Manager Mike Ritchie retired on Sept. 15 after 28 years of employment with New Market and four years in the town’s highest staff position.

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