Parkway-Sign-4-150x125ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Travel is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway following the restoration of some funding that was cut in 2013. The Roanoke Times ( says National Park Service data show that around 8.5 million visitors traveled the parkway through August. That’s an increase of about 800,000 from the same period in 2013. But this year’s numbers lag behind 2012, when the parkway drew about 9.9 million visitors through August. Several parkway sites closed in 2013 because of federal budget cuts. Parkway spokeswoman Leesa Brandon says services have been restored in many areas. She says parkway staff are looking forward to a continued increase in visitors through the remainder of the year. The 469-mile scenic byway connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.