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This profile was last updated on 2/11/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Chief of Planning and Professiona...

Phone: (828) ***-****  HQ Phone
Local Address:  Asheville , North Carolina , United States
Virtual Blue Ridge
1064 Meadowview Dr #6 P.O. Box 1157
Boone , North Carolina 28607
United States

Company Description: Virtual Blue Ridge is the premiere online resource for information about the Blue Ridge Parkway with an extensive travel planner aimed at taking the effort out of...   more

Employment History


  • BLA , Landscape Architecture
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • BS , Sociology
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
109 Total References
Web References
Reconstruction of Goshen Creek Bridge - Parkway Milepost 286.3, 11 Feb 2015 [cached]
"There is no other bridge like it on the Blue Ridge Parkway," lamented Gary Johnson, Chief of Planning and Professional Services for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Gary ..., 5 April 2012 [cached]
Gary Johnson Blue Ridge Parkway 75
Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary - 1935-2010
Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson Chief of Resource Planning Blue Ridge Parkway
For the past 16 years, Gary Johnson has been Chief of the Resource Planning and Professional Services Division, Blue Ridge Parkway. Gary, a landscape architect and planner, heads a division staff of 13, including branch chief, land resources specialist, cultural and natural resource management specialists, park curator, resident landscape architect, community planner, and a computer aided draftsman. This group of professionals is responsible for all of the pre-implementation planning and compliance and resource management activities on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Prior to his current position, Gary served for 18 years in field assignments in the southeastern United States and in the Denver Service Center as a project manager/landscape architect and section chief on major planning, design, and construction projects in some 50 National Park Service units. From 1988 to 1994 he supervised a group of Denver Service Center planners responsible for planning NPS areas in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the western United States. Project clients have included numerous NPS managers and non-profit organizations with an interest in resource protection and visitor use management. In addition to directing projects, Gary has published and lectured on the subjects of visual quality, corridor resource assessments, cultural landscapes, historic landscape integrity, interpretation planning, goal-driven and strategic planning, and tourism planning.
Gary is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he received a BS in Sociology in 1969 and a BLA in Landscape Architecture in 1976.
Blue Ridge Parkway | Explore Asheville, NC's Official Tourism Site, 5 Aug 2014 [cached]
Gary Johnson
There were no trees anywhere," says Gary Johnson, the former chief landscape architect for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Gary Johnson first began working on the Parkway in the 1970s while it was still being constructed. In those years, he spent all week driving the length of the Parkway, inspecting various sites, returning home on the weekends only to recreate the weeklong drive the following Monday.
After a stint out west, Johnson returned to the Parkway in 1994 as the chief landscape architect, where his job entailed restoring the landscape to better represent that "museum-like" notion. After decades of rehabilitation, the Parkway is now experiencing "peak beauty," offering a cinematic experience of scenic valleys and crescendos for visitors driving the road.
"I feel like the more people understand about the effort that went into the Parkway's design, they'll have a better understanding about why it needs to be protected," Johnson says.
Press 'play' below to hear landscape architect Gary Johnson's commentary.
Gary Johnson
Designing America's Favorite Drive 10 Stunning Scenic Drives Views: Why You See What You See
viewsheds1, 4 Feb 2004 [cached]
"We've asked ourselves that question," said Gary Johnson, Chief of Resource Planning for the Parkway.Johnson explains that every national park has been created with a Congressional Act, which states the purpose for that park.
"The Parkway legislation talks about scenery and our responsibility to manage that scenery," Johnson said."We've been trying to define broadly what that means."
According to surveys Parkway staff have made of their visitors, 90% responded that they come for the views."The views they're talking about are not Parkway property," Johnson said.
80% of the property adjacent to the Parkway is privately owned, Johnson said.Where there is no zoning, there is no official means for the federal agency to respond to what a private property owner may do.They have therefore tried, through viewshed mapping and input of local citizens, to identify the most important views.
"Viewshed" is the term the Parkway uses to refer to all of the scenery visible from the Parkway and within one mile of the Parkway.The Parkway commissioned a map of the viewshed seven years ago, and the map has been completed for a year.The purpose, said Johnson, is to give the Parkway a way to better comment and respond to viewshed issues.
When an "important" view is identified, the Parkway addresses the landowners through conservation land trusts.These groups approach landowners about adopting voluntary easements on their property.Conservation easements mean that the land trusts purchase development rights to the property but not the property itself."It's a way to restrict what a landowner can do with the property, but there's just compensation," Johnson said.
The Parkway's Strategic Plan states that "It is neither practical nor possible for the National Park Service to control all lands visible from the Parkway.Responsibility for protection of cultural landscapes and scenic resources beyond federal ownership must rest with neighboring communities and counties."The Parkway does not have a "legislated" boundary, according to Johnson.
Typically, said Johnson, it is cities and counties which bring the Parkway into discussion on zoning and rezoning specific properties."We're a neighbor that responds with comments" to these situations, said Johnson.
Johnson, "Property owners usually find out about viewshed issues when the Parkway approaches them or if they find themselves in a county with rezoning issues.
The Parkway is currently working on a General Management Plan, Johnson said, and hopes to present it to the public early next calendar year.
Kelley School - FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, 12 Mar 2012 [cached]
Gary Johnson, Chief of Resources Planning for the Blue Ridge Parkway, said of the donation, "This is an amazing response from Friends.
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