For Immediate Release
Maggi Blomstrom, Rappahannock-Rapidan Conservation Initiative Coordinator
The Piedmont Environmental Council
firstname.lastname@example.org; 540-347-2334, x7067
REMINGTON, VA. (August 5, 2021) – Fauquier County’s second Rappahannock River kayak/canoe launch is now open at the Rector Tract, located at the end of River Road in Remington, giving county residents a new public access point to the state-designated scenic river. The timber-framed, concrete staircase, with a wooden slide for hand-launch of non-motorized vessels, was built over five days last week by Brad Mawyer of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Wes Hale and a crew of staff from Fauquier County Parks and Recreation, Maggi Blomstrom of The Piedmont Environmental Council, and three Fauquier County resident volunteers. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, Aug. 14 at 12 p.m.
“One of the identified priorities for addressing the need to connect more communities to nature and open space is creating public access to clean rivers and streams. The Piedmont region is blessed with numerous rivers and tributary streams, but there are few places where it is easy to get on the water. Creating public access on the Rappahannock, especially in Remington, is an opportunity that we have been steadily working on for years with partners in Remington, Fauquier County, Friends of the Rappahannock, the American Battlefield Trust and state agencies and funders. We are especially grateful for the generous contributions of the Virginia Environmental Endowment and The PATH Foundation for helping make this launch possible,” said PEC President Chris Miller.
The Rappahannock River runs for approximately 55 miles, serving as a boundary between Fauquier County and Rappahannock and Culpeper counties. Until last month, the only water access point with a boat launch along that entire distance was at Kelly’s Ford in Culpeper County; the nearest take-out location was 32 miles downstream in Spotsylvania County. Fauquier’s first boat launch opened last month at Riverside Preserve near Waterloo Bridge, seven miles west of Warrenton, but still some 25 miles upstream of Kelly’s Ford. Now, with the opening of the Remington boat launch adjacent to the future Rappahannock Station Park, paddlers can put in at Remington and take out at Kelly’s Ford for a five-mile float.
The new boat launch is part of a broader goal to create an upper Rappahannock River water trail system, opening up public access to the Rappahannock River in Fauquier, Culpeper, and Rappahannock counties, Blomstrom said. Local studies have shown that river access is important for improving one’s quality of life, and in a 2017 Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey, river access for boating, kayaking, and swimming was identified as the second highest priority for facility improvements, falling just behind greenway trails for walking, biking and hiking.
“Creating public access to the Rappahannock River has been in the works for well over a decade, with the initial purchase of Rappahannock Station Battlefield Park in Remington, and subsequent championing by Fauquier Supervisor Chris Butler,” said Blomstrom. “While there were many iterations of the project throughout the years, I am so proud to work with residents, local government officials, and conservation partners and funders who have believed in the value this river access project brings to the residents and visitors of the Town of Remington and Fauquier and Culpeper counties.”
Mitchell Morton of Warrenton was one of three residents who volunteered his time and talents building the new launch. “I was made aware of the volunteer opportunity to install a public river access through a Facebook post by Fauquier County Parks and Recreation. I signed up because I believed in the project and I wanted to show appreciation to the FCPR team who, through their efforts, keep our community beautiful and accessible to so many,” he said.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources will maintain the launch with assistance from Fauquier County Parks & Recreation staff, who served as project lead, provided technical assistance, labor, and volunteer coordination. With funds from the Virginia Environmental Endowment, an independent nonprofit grant-making foundation, PEC contributed $20,000 for materials associated with the boat launch construction. Vulcan Materials Company donated all the gravel needed for the launch. With funds from The PATH Foundation, Friends of the Rappahannock donated $6,000 for the archaeological study and structures for signs, and, with volunteers from Fauquier County Parks & Recreation, The Piedmont Environmental Council, Virginia Department of Forestry, and John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District, planted native trees and shrubs to help with erosion control and to add beauty to the park.
Since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. PEC empowers residents to protect what makes the Piedmont a wonderful place, and works with citizens to conserve land, improve air and water quality and build thriving communities. PEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust. Learn more at www.pecva.org.