The Piedmont View

Summer 2014 Piedmont View

This year's spring edition of the Piedmont View includes a in-depth look at the Western Bypass victory, the fight to save Waterloo Bridge, information on the great homecoming at McAllister Cabin and much more. You can read the individual articles online or view a PDF of the whole issue if you prefer.

For those of you who have met me, you know I want to share everything I can about what PEC has beenup to... and that can make it difficult to write a letter like this one because I have a limited word count! However, as I think about some of our recent successes and upcoming challenges, one consistent theme keeps coming to mind—resilience.

Read "On the Ground" updates for Albemarle, Clarke, Rappahannock, Fauquier, Madison, Greene, Orange and Loudoun Counties.

At PEC, we have the privilege of working with countless individuals who are dedicated to protectingthis wonder­ful region. Carl Zitzmann is one such person. Some of you might not immediately recognize his name, but there’s a good chance that you’ve seen his photographs in one of our publications,weekly news emails, or on our website.

Gem Bingol, PEC’s Clarke and Loud­oun County Land Use Field Officer, is seeing success with her sustainable landscaping workshops. The meet­ings have included experts from Loudoun Master Gardeners, Magee Design, Lush Life Landscapes, Loudoun County and Clean Water Action who share information about sustain­able landscaping and yard care practices, garden ecology and backyard habitat creation with residents.

It’s been busy at the Overlook these past few months! PEC is in the final year of a cost-share agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve the property’s habitat and increase its biodiversity. The mar­quee part of this grant is the creation of a 17-acre native grass and wildflower meadow on land that was formerly a pasture dominated by tall fescue.

This May we received word that landowners had begun receiving notices from Spectra Energy, referencing a proposal for a new natural gas pipeline through Virginia.

Give Local Piedmont was a community-wide online giving challenge that sought to inspire folks to make donations of $10 or more to local nonprofits for 24 hours on May 6. Part of a national campaign, Give Local Piedmont supported the effort for Cul­peper, Fauquier, Madison and Rappahannock Counties. And the good news is—it worked!

Despite some rainy weather, nearly 250 people visited the McAllister Home as part of an event that celebrated Albemarle’s Mountain Heritage. Bob and Carroll Gilges, who own the building and surrounding land, graciously opened their property to the commu­nity for the event. PEC sponsored and organized the celebration with help from Doug Decker, Phil James, and Larry and Debbie Lamb, who had family connections to Sugar Hollow and throughout Albemarle County.

Last fall, VDOT announced plans to possibly close the Waterloo Bridge to vehicular traffic due to safety concerns. PEC shared the news with local community groups and historic preservation advocates, which sparked overwhelming sup­port for the bridge’s rehabilitation—support that transcended the usual demographics and organization affiliations.

Big things are happening, or rather not happening, with the costly Western Bypass of U.S. Route 29 just north of Charlottesville. We’re enthusi­astic to report that the ineffective project has come to a halt, and we’re hoping this time it will be a permanent road block. With the Bypass off the table, we can finally get to work on fixing Route 29 for the majority of its travelers.

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