Heritage Outdoors

Digital Heritage Moment: Viewsheds

Digital Heritage Moment: Viewsheds

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Joye Ardyn Durham

Appalachia’s spectacular views are a major tourist attraction. Visitors flock to view these unspoiled mountain vistas, or viewsheds, especially during the fall color season. But the region’s viewsheds are increasingly being threatened by the expansion of cellphone towers, power lines and housing developments sprawling along the ridges and upper shoulders of the mountains.

This visual encroachment is a serious matter in a region so dependent on tourism. Surveys consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Appalachia’s tourists rank scenic views as a major reason for their visit, and that they would come to Appalachia far less often if the views are diminished. Efforts are being made to control this visual clutter, including land use ordinances and the purchase or donation of viewshed lands.

Digital Heritage Moments are produced at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. To learn more, visit digitalheritage.org. You may also hear Digital Heritage Moments each weekday on radio stations WKSF-FM, WWCUFM, WMXF-AM, WPEK-AM and WWNC-AM.

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