Byrd Will Seek Ickes Parley On Skyline Drive

Robertson Will Join Senator in Seeking Opening of Road in Short Time

(Special to The Times-Dispatch)

HARRISONBURG, Aug.5--A conference of representative Virginia citizens with Secretary Ickes to discuss the early opening of the skyline drive in the Shenandoah National Park area will be requested of the head of the Interior Department upon his return to Washington by Senator Harry F. Byrd and Representative A. Willis Robertson, it became known today.

The conference is sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley, Inc., which organization launched the movement to establish a national park in the Blue Ridge Mountains ten years ago. Roanoke, Charlottesville, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Winchester, Luray, Front Royal, Elkton, Waynesboro, Woodstock.

Invited to Conference

Warrenton and other Virginia cities will be asked to send representatives to the conference. Senator Byrd and Representative Robertson have consented to ask Secretary Ickes to receive and head the delegation.

Chairman William E. Carson of the Virginia Conservation Commission, and members of that body will be asked to join in the conference and request the opening of the skyline drive as soon as it is made safe for travel.

It is proposed to request the opening of the skyline drive independent of the negotiations now being conducted between the conservation commission and Federal lawyers over the form of the deed for conveyance of the Blue Ridge Mountain land for a national park site. Agreement between the Virginia State attorneys and the Federal attorneys as to the final form of this deed, it is declared, may take months, and if the Federal government holds up the opening of the skyline drive until this is done it is felt it may be six or eight months before the public is allowed to use the scenic mountain road in the Blue Ridge.

In Shape Next Month

It is learned that the hard-surfaced roadbed of the skyline drive will be in shape for motor traffic with the exception of the oil top dressing by the latter part of September. The road is now being treated to a coat of Limestone dust, and the contractors feel that the roadbed itself will be benefited by motor traffic, after the dust treatment is finished, before the top surface is coated with oil.

President Roosevelt and Secretary Ickes, after a motor trip over the skyline drive a year ago before the hard-surface contract was let, told Senator Byrd and Representative Robertson they would give their consent for the opening of the skyline drive for a short period last fall if the State of Virginia also would approve. No agreement could later be reached because the National Park Service wished to let the contract for hard-surfacing the road and said traffic over it would interfere with construction.