Rally Southwest Virginia Arrives in Narrows

Rally Southwest Virginia Arrives in Narrows


Giles County, VA- Rally Southwest Virginia is building community leadership capacity and reinforcing collaborative communities across the region of Southwest Virginia. The region consisting of 19 counties from Giles to the far southwest counties in Virginia, has embraced this program and others to find creative outlets for suppressed economies and the revitalization for downtown areas.


The Town of Narrows is the first community in the New River Valley to participate in this new min-grant program, facilitated by Opportunity SWVA. The mini-grant program provides a $3,000 award to communities to implement a community development project through a team structure. The team in Narrows is comprised of citizens, small business owners, town staff, and county representatives. The group gathered for the initial meeting to discuss the potential of the Rally program and begin brainstorming how this mini-grant could be utilized to support ongoing development efforts in Narrows.


At the initial meeting, participants heard from Robyn Lee, Entrepreneurship Coordinator for Opportunity SWVA. Through partnerships with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) this program has already seen success in other communities in the region. Chilhowie, Cleveland, Coeburn, Damascus, Dungannon, Haysi, Pocahontas, and Tazewell have utilized the award monies to build and install kiosks, develop wayfinding signage for their downtown, create art in public places, and more.


A goal of the project, aside from a short-term completed project, is to build a cohesive and engaged group at the local level to help facilitate future development in the community. This small group locally, will then serve as energetic leaders to support other community and small business efforts. The goal of attracting and supporting entrepreneurs and their ventures to Narrows  has been the topic of conversation as the community has participated in master planning sessions for over a year.


All five towns in Giles County, Pembroke, Pearisburg, Narrows, Rich Creek, and Glen Lyn are all actively engaged in revitalization planning under the guidance of the New River Valley Regional Commission with funds from DHCD in the form of their Community Development Block Grants. Pembroke and Narrows are nearing the time to submit for implementation funds from their master planning process, while the other communities are beginning their visioning and coordination phase of the process.


For the next six months Narrows will be considering, designing, and implementing a project to support the town as a place for business as it relates to the master plan that focuses on outdoor recreation as a driver for economic development. The group that recently met, while no final decisions were made, enjoyed the ideas revolving around signage, façade improvements, or a beatification project to welcome residents and visitors to this wonderfully natural, mountain town in Southwest Virginia.


For additional information on RALLY Southwest Virginia please feel free to contact Robyn Lee at 276-376-3453 or rlee@uvawise.edu.


For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.

Volunteers & Fun Competition for Giles ACCE along NRWT

ACCE January Column

Volunteers & Fun Competition for Giles ACCE


Giles County, VA- With the New Year, many students are considering their options after high school and those already in college or the ACCE program are preparing for the second semester at New River Community College. Students that are already utilizing the Access to Community College program in Giles County know that the program is helping both students and families along the way. Every month we bring you a story of someone involved in the ACCE Program or the very popular Muddy ACCE Race event. The 2017 MAR is slated for September 16, 2017 along the banks of the New River Water Trail in Giles County. This month we talk with a volunteer of the event, Ed Bradley.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A: My name is Ed Bradley and I am a Sr. Operations Specialist at Celanese. My wife, Susan and I, have three young girls. We both have been very active with volunteering; it is a culture that our company is encouraging. Over the past five years, we have been able to help over 50 volunteer projects in our local community. I feel very blessed in this life and love it when an opportunity comes my way that allows me to use my skills or influence to help improve someone else’s way of life. I believe you can never give more than you receive. Every project I get involved in gives me so much satisfaction, from seeing smiling faces, sometimes tears of happiness and just a general appreciation from the ones we get to help.

Q: How did you participate in the ACCE Program? A: The first thing I did was nominate the Muddy ACCE Race as a

Volunteers as part of the Global Impact Month with Celanese, helped to build most of the obstacles along the Muddy ACCE Race course. The warp wall seen above was one of the first that participants had to conquer. Ed Bradley & others formed teams to spur competition & enjoy the event in 2016.

project for our company sponsored Global Impact Month and I volunteered to lead the project. It was easy to convince others to want to help construct the Mud Course after I explained that all the proceeds of the event would go to support a free college education for Giles County students. We had anywhere from ten to fifteen volunteers show up each day (for a week) at the park to help the county crew build some of the obstacles for the race.

After seeing how fun it looked after construction, of course I had to run it. By no means am I a runner, but I was up for the challenge. My wife runs a good bit and loved the idea of it too. So, we each decided to form a team and have a little family competition. Then I started challenging people I worked with to get teams signed up. Meanwhile, our kids got interested and started asking their friends. So, I just started signing up everyone that I could find, by the time of the race we had signed up over 30 people.

Q: Why did you get involved with the Muddy ACCE Race? A: Celanese sponsors what we call Global Impact Month each year in September. We started talking to local officials and schools around July to try and determine the projects we want to help with. I learned about the ACCE program and the mud run this year while speaking with Chris McKlarney and Jon Mills, I was immediately sold on the idea and wanted to help in every way I could. I can’t think of a better thing to get involved in. Giving a college education to our kids changes their life forever. The student’s life, their family’s life and the essence of the program is for the students to give back too. This forever molds their minds and opens their hearts to giving and not just taking from this world. It gives families that can’t afford the opportunity to send their children to college a new outlook on life too. I can only think of positive things that this program creates and I feel very fortunate to get to be a part of it. I’m very proud of Giles County for stepping up to the plate to financially get this program started and will do all I can to get the support of local businesses and corporations to do their part as well. It will only make our community better, smarter, and stronger and help to create a giving spirit.

Q: What is the one thing you’ll take away from the ACCE program or MAR event? A: This program is all about changing lives for the better. It will improve the quality of life of the students that take advantage of it by removing student debt, letting them focus on their studies and not their finances, opening their eyes to giving back themselves by helping others in the community. It gives hope, encourages and inspires people to want to do good for others.

Sign up today for the September 16, 2017 Muddy ACCE Race at muddyaccerace.com


If you are interested in learning more about the NRCC ACCE program in Giles, please visit www.gilescounty.org. For more information on the 2017 Muddy ACCE Race, www.muddyaccerace.com.

ReNew The New Local Committee Receives State Recognition

ReNew The New Local Committee Receives State Recognition

Giles County, VA- Earlier in November members of the local ReNew The New Committee from Giles County traveled to York County, Virginia for the annual Soil and Water Conservation Society awards ceremony. Nominated by the New River Valley Regional Commission the local committee was awarded the 2016 Merit Award “for their successful partnership to improve the health of the New River through organized cleanup activities” at the gathering.

The ReNew the New committee develops multiple events a year to clean sections of the New River. Photo by Alisa Moody.

The nomination letter included compliments to the local committee and Giles County for the regional success of the river cleanup held on August 27, 2016. The nominating application shared that “it successfully brought together groups representing industry, advocacy, government, students, youth, and the public” allowing for a positive impact on towards a “common cause,” the continued cleanup and awareness efforts of the New River.

For the past ten years ReNew The New has hosted two annual clean ups. A spring event focuses on roadways or river access points and is referred to as Ramps-N-Roads. The 2016 event held in Giles again brought record crowds and continues to be a popular community event along the New River Water Trail. In the early fall the popular Fall into the New event gets volunteers onto the water to clean up various sections of waterway. This year the entire New River Valley region was involved and for that effort, received this award.

On August 27 volunteers from Floyd, Pulaski, Montgomery, and Giles County, as well as the City of Radford joined together at Bisset Park to clean up a 10-mile section up and down river of Dudley’s Landing. The event brought together the communities and over 450 volunteers and successfully removed over two tons of debris from the river. This effort has “improved the environment through the clean-up of the region’s main water source; it united a group of volunteers representing a variety of backgrounds and interests and it educated the public about the importance of the New River to the region” as stated in the nomination application.

The award was presented to committee member Paul Moody at the recent event and has been presented to the local ReNew the New Committee with much appreciation. The 2017 event details are still being developed, but the Merit Award and regional attention have garnered more awareness for the New River and the efforts to maintain and improve the important waterway. For more information on the ReNew the New activities please visit their website at http://renewthenew.org/ or http://virginiasmtnplayground.com/.


For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.

Program Leaders Boast about ACCE

ACCE December Column

Program Leaders Boast about ACCE




Dr. Lewis Webb who serves on the NRCC Educational Foundation, the local Giles ACCE Development Committee, and supported the Muddy ACCE Race event speaks at the Appreciation Dinner where students and guests shared success stories of the program.

Giles County- The holiday season is here and many students, out of high school, are enjoying their semester breaks. Whether students complete their journey in higher education at New River Community College or use their experience there as a step in their educational adventure, the Access to Community College program in Giles County is helping students and families along the way. Every month we bring you a story of someone involved in the ACCE program or the very popular Muddy ACCE Race event. The 2017 MAR is slated for September 16, 2017 along the banks of the New River Water Trail in the western part of Giles County. This month we chat with one of the people pivotal to the committee and program, Dr. Lewis Webb. Read on for his story.


Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A: “Practiced Dentistry in Narrows (35 yrs), Served on Giles County School Board (27 yrs), former member of NRCC College Board (8 yrs), presently serving on the New River Community College Educational Foundation Board.”

Q: How did you participate in the ACCE Program? Where you a runner, sponsor, student, parent, spectator? A: I “served on the ACCE Development Committee [and also] sponsored my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in the Muddy ACCE Race 2016.” Dr. Webb was also on-hand the day of the event as a spectator and cheerleader for the participants at the first annual event.

Q: Why did you get involved with the Muddy ACCE Race? A: “Have been involved with the Access to Community College Education Program at NRCC since its inception and worked with Giles County planning the Muddy ACCE Race.”

Q: What is the one thing you’ll take away from the Muddy ACCE Race event? A: “2 THINGS! How well organized the race was and the course was spectacular!”

Q: If you could share a sentiment to those considering the program- what would you tell them? A: “The ACCE Program opens doors to many students who otherwise may not be able to attend college. For some it is a life changing event. As I always say, this program is a triple win; certainly a win for the students, a win for NRCC, and a big win for Giles County!”

If you are interested in learning more about the NRCC ACCE program in Giles, please visit www.gilescounty.org. For more information on the 2017 Muddy ACCE Race, www.muddyaccerace.com.

Sep 17- New River Water Trail Poker Float

September 17- New River Water Trail Poker Float

Giles County is hosting the first New River Water Trail Poker Float! Ever heard of a Poker Run? Well, this event is the same amount of fun with just a bit more water. Whether you are a pro in the water or are just starting to get your feet wet, our Poker Float is the perfect place to get outside in the sun, explore the New River Water Trail, and have an great time!

The day starts off at the Eggleston Fire Department where you can leave your car and register. The fee to preregister is $25 and a Free T-shirt is included! To register the day of is $3o. All proceeds go to the Pembroke, Eggleston, and Newport Volunteer Firefighter Stations.

The float: Your exciting trip down the beautiful New River begins at the Eggleston Boat landing (Wide Spot), and you can float and relax while letting the river work for you while you take in the New River’s unforgettable scenery or paddle yourself into an adventure to the three stops planned and grab your cards! As the New River Water Trail sweeps you to the new Ripplemead Boat Landing its time to get out, dry off, and see who has the best hand!

There will be lots of opportunities to win something! The grand prize for the best hand will be a new kayak! 2nd place prize is $250. 3rd place prize is $150. 4th and 5th place prizes will be sponsored prizes. Didn’t have anything good? That’s okay, lowest hand gets there money back! If you didn’t do good enough for a prize or bad enough for your money back there will be T-shirts for sale so everyone can take something home!

Don’t have a way to float? Don’t worry! Our partner, Tangent Outfitters, will be there with options to rent for the fun day ahead of you! Tangent will also be providing a shuttle to the loading site and take out site back your cars.

Ready to try your luck on the New River Water Trail?  Register Today! This event is hopefully the start of a date you’ll schedule on your calendars for years to come, so get outside and try your hand on the New River Water Trail with us!

Newest River Water Trail Poker Float

Find more on their Facebook Event Page

Or Virginia.org at New River Water Trail Poker Float


2016 Pembroke, Eggleston, Newport Volunteer Fire Departments Canoe & Kayak Poker Float Rules and Regulations

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 10:00 a.m. launch time will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2016, and – Cost is $25 pre-register (includes t-shirt and ticket pack ); $30 register day of (includes ticket pack); $15 for extra hand; $10 extra card (Mulligan Card)

Pre-registration ends Monday September 5, 2016. All entries postmarked by September 5, 2016 are considered pre-registered and the participant may pick up their preregistration packet at the registration tent at The Eggleston Vol. Fire Department between 08:00 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. on September 5, 2016.

All entries must abide by Virginia Boating Laws. Safety comes first!

More than 1 entry per CRAFT will be permitted.  More than one entry per person will be permitted.

The “owner” of an entry shall be the individual who signs the waiver on the entry form.  The owner will be required to provide a state issued photo ID when they pick up their original packet.  The owner may then designate another individual to draw their cards at the designated points along the river.  All prize money will be made payable.  There will be no exceptions to this rule.

There will be no limit on the number of entries accepted.

Any evidence of tampering with scorecards will result in disqualification and forfeiture of fees.

An owner of a hand (entry) must be 18 years of age.

The run will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will end at 4:00 p.m.  You may complete the run at your leisure as long as you have drawn all 5 cards by 4:00 p.m. (6 cards if Mulligan card is purchased).

The 5th and final card will be drawn at the boat ramp at the Whitt Riverbend Park.  Any participant who is not in line for check-in at the Park by 4:00 p.m. will forfeit their entry fee and cannot continue to the check-in table. NO EXCEPTIONS!

After receiving your final card at the Whitt Riverbend Park, you will inform the judges of what type of hand you are turning in to compete for the prizes. (Example: If you have A,2,3,4,5 you may inform the judges that you are playing a straight. Another Example may be that you have drawn a 3,5,7,9,J so you may want to play your hand as the lowest hand to compete for the $100 prize).

All entrants will draw their Mulligan (6th) Card if they purchased it, at registration.  The 1st and 6th cards will be drawn at the same time on Saturday at the registration tent on September 17,2016. Cards from all pick-up locations must be picked up by 4:00 p.m.—NO EXCEPTIONS!

All entrants must check-in at Eggleston Volunteer Fire Department between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.  Any participants not checked in by 10:00 a.m. will forfeit their entry fee—NO EXCEPTIONS!

You will draw your 1st and 6th (Mulligan) cards when you receive your registration packet at Eggleston Volunteer Fire Department and may draw your second card at the first pickup spot along the river between Eggleston River Road to Whitt Riverbend Public Boat landing You will draw your cards from the Water Teams that are stationed along the river throughout your float. They will be easily identifiable.

Hands will be scored upon completion beginning at 4:00 p.m. At Whitt Riverbend Park Boat ramp.

Prizes will be awarded according to the rules of 5 Card Stud. If at any time you draw a duplicate card of the same suit, you must give that card back to the dealer and draw another card. You will need to draw from that deck of cards until you draw a card that you do not already have stamped on your punch card.

The total number of entries will determine the prizes given away.


A grand prize will be awarded to the highest five card stud hand entered.

Second through fifth prizes will be awarded to the next highest five card stud hands (ex. Straight Flush, 4 of a Kind, Full House, etc.)

The lowest hand of the contest will receive entry fee pay back ($30)

Mulligan Cards:

A Mulligan Card works much like a Mulligan in golf.  Upon check-in at the Eggleston Volunteer Fire Department you will draw your Mulligan Card if you purchased one. Each participant will use ONLY 5 of the 6 cards to make the best possible hand.  Each entry will be allowed to purchase only one Mulligan Card.

Mulligan cards will be sold for $10.00 and must be purchased before the run begins.

50/50 Tickets:

You may purchase 50/50 tickets at the registration table at the Eggleston Volunteer Fire Department, or check in stops or the judges’ check-in table (Whitt Riverbend) at the end of the float.  Ticket sales will be complete by 4:00 p.m.  The Winning ticket will be drawn during the awards presentation.

50/50 tickets are sold in $10.00 lots.  You may purchase as many lots as you desire.

All tickets sold will be combined into one hopper.

One ticket will be drawn and the winner will receive half of the money collected.  You must be present to win.

In case of a tie for the Grand Prize, the judges will determine the winning hand by using the high card.  The winner as determined by the judges will be the Grand Prize winner, the other player will be awarded 2nd place.

In the case of a tie for 2nd or 3rd place, a high card will be drawn by each participant.

A tie for 4th place will be decided by the judges based on the high card.  The loser of the tie will move into 5th place.

A tie for 5th place will be decided by the judges based on the high card.  The winner of the tie will retain the 5th place position.

All prizes will be awarded immediately after the completion of the 4:00 p.m. Closing Deadline

Ripplemead Boat Landing Dedication & NRWT Ribbon Cutting

Ripplemead Boat Landing Dedication & NRWT Ribbon Cutting

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.

The new Ripplemead Boat Landing was recently dedicated in Giles County.
The new Ripplemead Boat Landing was recently dedicated in Giles County.

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!

Guides, Outfitters, VDGIF, Elected Officials, & partners were on hand for the NRWT ribbon cutting.
Guides, Outfitters, VDGIF, Elected Officials, & partners were on hand for the NRWT ribbon cutting.

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 new boat landing is now a Virginia Treasure, the first in Giles County.
The new boat landing is now a Virginia Treasure, the first in Giles County.

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.

To follow along with the New River Water Trail, find us on Instagram and Facebook.


For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.

Natalie Warren Visits Giles County, Va.

Presentation2On 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.

IMG_5940On 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