Natural Bridge to reopen for first season under new ownership

Natural Bridge will reopen to visitors Saturday for the first time since a conservation group took over the historic attraction earlier this year.

The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund purchased the 500-million-year-old rock formation and surrounding 1,500 acres from Washington real estate investor Angelo Puglisi and eventually plans to turn the property into a state park. Until the sale, Natural Bridge had been in the hands of private individuals for more than 200 years, starting with Thomas Jefferson.

The group, whose mission is to promote conservation, preservation and outdoor recreation, said Thursday that it has begun renovating the hotel next to the path that leads to the 250-foot-high arch, which is located about 40 miles northwest of Lynchburg. The hotel will remain open during construction. The group has also planned millions of dollars in improvements for visitors, such as new hiking trails and expanded Monacan Indian history programs.

On Saturday, the bridge and hotel are scheduled to host St. Patrick’s Day events, including craft beer tasting and bluegrass music. Admission is $5 for anyone wearing green.

Annys Shin has been a staff writer at the Washington Post since 2004.
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