A new park entrance?

Representatives from Madison County gave a report and petitioned the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors at the board’s last meeting (March 4) for its support in establishing an entrance to Shenandoah National Park in Madison County – as the Madison officials say was promised the county by Herbert Hoover in 1929 when he first built his presidential retreat in the park. Madison is the only county covered by the park that doesn’t have an entrance to it.

Madison is seeking to reopen part of a road that was gated years earlier by President Franklin Roosevelt upon his first visit to the park. Off Quaker Run Road, the area is now reached via an unpaved and winding lane used primarily as a fire road and for emergency access. It would, according to the presentation, require “minimal improvements” to the road. The proposed entrance would be accessed via Route 231, and would intersect with Skyline Drive near Big Meadows Lodge.

Madison official Brian Daniel told the supervisors the county intended to keep the road unpaved and had no intention of turning it into “another U.S. 211.” He said the seclusion offered in that area of the park was something worth preserving and the county would likely make it either a seasonal-access or limited-access road.

Any reopening of the road would require congressional approval. “We’re just looking to have a presidential promise honored,” said David Allen, chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors.

Rappahannock’s supervisors, though each indicated favoring the resolution in support of Madison’s plan, agreed to table the matter until a representative from the National Park Service can present the park’s position on the proposal, most likely in April or May.