FOLAR Invites Participation in Blueway Survey

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @DinwiddieMonitr
Posted: June 5, 2020 | 5:30 p.m.

Community survey will gauge use along the lower Appomattox River as well as identify need for future amenities to enhance the paddling experience.

REGION – The Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) announces the release of a new community survey. People who like to kayak, canoe or use other paddlecraft like standup paddle boards will be asked to describe their current experience paddling the lower Appomattox River and have an opportunity to offer suggestions for amenities that would improve their experience. The results from this survey will be used by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)graduate student, Mark Glass, to create a lower Appomattox River Water Trail Master Plan (or blueway master plan) as a capstone project for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program. This project will complement the Appomattox River Trail Master Plan, completed by FOLAR in 2017 through funding from The Cameron Foundation in partnership with the community, and will address amenities and signage needed to improve paddler experiences on the river.

Glass, a Petersburg resident, was excited to find a capstone project in his hometown that combined his passion for the outdoors and planning while assisting a regional nonprofit.  “At FOLAR, developing a blueway master plan has been on our list of objectives for the region, so we are very pleased to partner on this project. As a VCU alumna, I am happy to work with students to gain real world planning experience,” said Heather Barrar, FOLAR Regional Trails Program Director.

A water trail (or blueway) is a designated route along a waterway for paddlecraft like canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards (SUP). Water trails have well-developed signage and access sites for putting in/taking out paddlecraft and can help connect paddlers to significant historical, environmental and cultural points of interest, and often include nearby amenities like restrooms and picnic shelters. With this definition in mind, the water trail master plan will explore existing locations for water access and recommend new access points and signage, as well as amenities like picnic shelters and restrooms. The lower Appomattox River is a state designated scenic river and offers both whitewater and flatwater experiences for paddlers. It flows over 20 miles through a rich diversity of historical, cultural and physiographic areas from Lake Chesdin in the Piedmont Region to the confluence with the James River in the Coastal Plain region at historic City Point National Park, in the City of Hopewell.  The river also offers the feeling of being surrounded by nature, but at the same time is very close and convenient to restaurants and services in the Tri-Cities Region.

“The Appomattox River blueway trail plan, like the greenway trail plan, will help guide the sustainable use of the river, a vital natural resource, for tourism and recreation purposes which will strengthen the economy of the region and overall quality of life for residents,” said Mike Golden, FOLAR Chairman.

Completing this survey is a way to provide your thoughts on paddling the lower Appomattox River and will help determine how the Appomattox River water trail should look and feel.  Dr. Damian Pitt, an Associate Professor at VCU said “I am glad to know that Mark is working with FOLAR to enhance recreational opportunities on the Appomattox River.  The Appomattox is a great resource for the Tri-Cities Region as well as the Greater Metro Richmond area.  During this time of COVID-19, initiatives that increase access to Virginia’s outdoors, like an Appomattox River water trail plan, are beneficial to our communities’ health and well-being”.

The survey will be open online at  https://forms.gle/uwiEmd9CVbXNeDLe9  until July 4, 2020.

Copyright 2020 Womack Publishing 

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