For over a year visitors and residents have seen work in progress at the Whitt-Riverbend Park in Ripplemead. The park, owned by the Town of Pearisburg was a partner with Giles County to secure development funds from a grant through the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to develop an official and permanent boat landing in that area. Now visitors will find bathroom facilities, easy through traffic pattern for access to the boat launch, and well establish parking areas.
On Monday, June 13th at the Ripplemead Boat Landing at Whitt-Riverbend Park Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward was on hand to acknowledge the partnerships and hard work with this water access project. The Giles County Chamber of Commerce also hosted a ribbon cutting for the New River Water Trail™. The New River Water Trail™ is a cooperative effort between Giles County Administration, Giles County Tourism, New River’s Edge, New River Outdoor Company, Tangent Outfitters, local passionate citizens, small business owners, and lodging businesses in the county. The trail itself is already in place- it is the river. The designation of the New River Water Trail™ will help visitors and resident navigate the river and explore the various sections that are ready to be discovered!
In addition to the dedication of the boat landing, Secretary Ward also made the presentation to the Giles County Board of Supervisors, Giles Industrial Development Authority, Town of Pearisburg, and New River Water Trail for
the designation as a Virginia Treasure. The Treasure program, run through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, aims to recognize recreational areas that provides “new public access to a natural, cultural, or scenic outdoor recreation resource. These are projects that help the public by enhancing outdoor recreation.” This announcement came as a surprise to those in attendance and Giles is excited to be a part of this list of Virginia Treasures.
On the weekend of June 3rd-5th Natalie Warren, of Wild River Academy and Canoe & Kayak Magazine came and stayed with Paul and Alisa Moody at New River’s Edge. Friday evening she was welcomed by the Town of Pembroke, Giles County Administration, stakeholders, outfitters and others during her presentation on “Your Community from the Paddler’s Perspective“. Afterwards, she and Giles Chamber Members enjoyed a cookout at New River’s Edge where they all got to know each other better and discuss the New River’s significance to Giles County businesses and tourism.
On Saturday, Natalie paddled with a small group that included Cora Gnegy, Giles County Tourism Marketing Director, Paul and Alisa Moody, Ralph Robertson, and others from Eggleston to Pembroke to experience the New River herself. Other than a quick, heavy rain shower the kayak trip was fun, relaxing and showed off the natural beauty of the New River.
Sunday, Natalie explored the areas favorite tourist spots; Cascade Falls, Mountain Lake Hotel and Conservancy, and War Spur Trail, talking to visitors, hikers, staff and business owners along the way. She landed in the Town of Narrows where she wrapped up her visit with a paddler’s point of view on Giles County’s trail towns and how to reach out to paddler’s to bring them off the river and into town to spend money. Natalie also offered her professional observations about how Giles County can not only improve, but also better promote the New River Water Trail.
We look forward to reading about her experience with the Town of Pembroke and the New River Water Trail in her blog “The Next Best Paddling Town” on Canoe & Kayak Magazine’s website in the coming weeks.
You can read more about Natalie’s life as a professional speaker and canoeist here: How to Make a River Town: An expedition paddler’s perspective on community development