Is it really time to float on the Rappahannock River?
That is the question people living in Fauquier County are asking themselves as the news of two potential boat ramps along the river is in talks.
It took a while for Chris Butler, a county supervisor, and the people to get this moving. Growing up north of Remington, Butler had always wanted to do more than just fish in his usual hangouts.
"You’ve got all these miles of riverbank that run through Fauquier, and we had hardly any public access,” he said.
Butler refers to the fact there are no areas to swim or canoe in the Rappahannock due to its banks being mostly private property. Along with him, many other citizens have felt restless about the Rappahannock boundaries.
Fortunately, changes are on the way. The Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan has been approved by Charlottesville's Land Planning and Design Associates, which sends surveys and other information to the parks and recreation board for future funding factors.
The Master Plan's draft states, "River access is the greatest unmet need in the country. There should be at least two canoe/kayak launches constructed along the Rappahannock River. Ideally, these sites would be located to provide a put-in and take-out for a Rappahannock Blueway [waterway] Trail."
Numerous obstacles have been overcome making these boat ramps happen. A local landowner donated 200 acres near Waterloo for a park, and an archeological survey by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has approved plans for potential boat ramps in spite of the pandemic causing funding issues. PEC conservation initiative coordinator Maggi Blomstrom has also just secured a $20,000 grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment for this project.
Butler added, "It was very hard to chip through the layers of government."
So far, one of the kayak and canoe ramps may be near Rector Tract, which is near the Remington Station Battlefield. The other may be near the Fauquier Springs Country Club, which is the home to a golf course.
Resources and donations are already coming in to prepare the boat ramps for summer. They may end up being ready by April! So far, $6,000 has been given towards the ramp's design, with an additional $2,000 donation going towards trees on the sites. People everywhere are donating even more for signs, water trail maps, and other materials.
Come May or June, the Rappahannock may be boasting two new ramps for people to swim or kayak from.
Are you excited about this news? Let us know in the comments.