Shenandoah National Park

Creating a Digital Record – The Formation of Shenandoah National Park

Creating a Digital Record – The Formation of Shenandoah National Park

Read about an effort to digitize the thousands of legal documents related to the condemnation of private land within eight counties for the creation of the Shenandoah National Park. The goal is to make all of the deed book records, court proceedings and individual condemnation case files publicly accessible and searchable via an online database. The effort will forever memorialize the sacrifice made by so many, for the creation of a national resource we all enjoy today.

New bridge improves access to one of Shenandoah Park’s most unique trails

A new 35-foot span bridge across Cedar Run opened this week, offering hikers and nature-loving community members improved access to the popular Whiteoak Canyon trailhead and opening up three miles of stream habitat to native fish for the first time in decades. The effort is a public-private partnership between Shenandoah National Park, The Piedmont Environmental Council, Trout Unlimited, and the local landowners, the Graves family.

These Hills Were Home

These Hills Were Home

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A walking history guide to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Greene and Western Madison County, Virginia. This new book, written by PEC’s Kristie Kendall, provides a historic context and trail guide for life in the mountains, from the first white settlers through the 1930s, when land was obtained for the creation of Shenandoah National Park.

Greene’s Mountain Heritage: An Open House at Cecil Mission

On April 22, 2017, the Piedmont Environmental Council hosted our sixth annual mountain heritage celebration at the Cecil Mission Chapel near Stanardsville. At least 100 people attended throughout the day – visitors learned about the rich culture and traditions of the families that once called these mountains home and some even walked the trails through Shenandoah National Park to see some of these former home sites in person.

Event brochure >>

Reverend David Wayland shared his reminiscences of ministering at Mission Home in Blackwell’s Hollow during the latter day’s of the mountain missions, as well as shared his impressions of the mountain people and their communities. Pickin’ Daisies and Judy Pagter shared some beautiful music with us and 10 families brought displays, photo albums and memorabilia to share. It was a wonderful day, filled with music, memories, and a renewed appreciation for the Blue Ridge Mountain heritage. Thank you to all who took part! With special thanks to Alan Yost of Greene County Economic Development and Tourism for sponsoring the event.

Please consider becoming a PEC member or renewing your membership to help make events like this one possible!

PEC Donates Land to National Park Service

Shenandoah National Park just grew a little bigger and a little more beautiful. This past May, The Piedmont Environmental Council donated a 17.2-acre property it owned in Rappahannock County to the National Park Service. A forested and vacant parcel on a mountain slope south of Sperryville, Virginia, the land is within the legislative boundary of Shenandoah National Park. 

PEC Donates Land to National Park

PEC Donates Land to National Park

Shenandoah National Park just grew a little bigger and a little more beautiful. This past May, We donated a 17.2-acre property of ours in Rappahannock County to the National Park Service. A forested and vacant parcel on a mountain slope south of Sperryville, Virginia, the land is within the legislative boundary of Shenandoah National Park.

“The property is surrounded by the park on three of its four sides, so it’s a key puzzle piece,” says Carolyn Sedgwick, PEC’s Rappahannock County land conservation officer, who oversaw the donation from PEC to the National Park Service. “This great public-private partnership with the National Park Service has resulted in the expansion of one of the most important wildlife corridors on the east coast.”

The donated acreage is by an area in the national park designated as federal wilderness — the highest conservation designation for federal land — making it an important and strategic area to conserve.

Annual Mountain Heritage Events

Annual Mountain Heritage Events

Attendees check out a schedule of events during the 2015 event at the Thornton Gap Primitive Baptist Church in Rappahannock. Photo by Paula Combs

 

Each spring since 2012, PEC hosts a mountain heritage day in a different location and different county surrounding Shenandoah National Park to recognize the history and heritage of the families that once lived in and around the mountains.

In the past, there has been misrepresentation and a lot of inaccurate information about Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains culture; these events have tried to focus on providing an accurate interpretation of these family histories and honor them in a way that hasn’t been done before.

Each event is held in a historic building that has direct ties to the mountain community of that particular area. We invite local families to come out to share their histories, photographs, and other memorabilia and display it inside the historic building, giving them an opportunity to share their heritage with 250-300 or more visitors from around the state and beyond.

Madison’s Mountain Heritage: An Open House at Graves Chapel

On April 16, 2016, Piedmont Environmental Council hosted our fifth annual mountain heritage celebration at Graves Chapel in Graves Mill, Virginia. Nearly 300 attended over the course of the day – visitors learned about the rich culture and traditions of the families that once called these mountains home. Many even walked the trails through Shenandoah National Park to see some of these former home sites in person. It was a wonderful day, filled with music, memories, and a renewed appreciation for the Blue Ridge Mountain heritage. Thank you to all who took part!

Event brochure >>

Graves Mill historic sites map >>

Please consider becoming a PEC member or renewing your membership to help make events like this one possible!

Rappahannock’s Mountain Heritage: An Open House at the Thornton Gap Primitive Baptist Church

On April 11, 2015, PEC hosted our fourth annual mountain heritage celebration in partnership with Rappahannock Historical Society at Sperryville’s Thornton Gap Primitive Baptist Church. More than 250 people attended throughout the day – visitors learned about the rich culture and traditions of the families that once called these mountains home and many even walked the trails through Shenandoah National Park to see some of these former home sites in person. It was a wonderful day, filled with music, memories, and a renewed appreciation for the Blue Ridge Mountain heritage. Thank you to all who took part!

Event brochure >>

Please consider becoming a PEC member or renewing your membership to help make events like this one possible!

Hike Revisits Life in the Mountains

Hike Revisits Life in the Mountains

In the foothills of Greene County, on May 5, the woods were brilliant with lush spring growth. A gravel road led up and up into the hills; eventually it would end at the border of Shenandoah National Park. Down a long drive, set deep in the forest was an old house—a sturdy two-story frame cabin with a welcoming front porch, at the edge of a clear, rushing stream.