|Friends of the Rappahannock Receives Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grant|
Fredericksburg, VA (07/30/05) - The National Park Service has awarded the Friends of the Rappahannock a $130,825 Chesapeake Bay Gateways matching grant to help the organization continue its development of the Rappahannock River Water Trail. This is the organization’s second Chesapeake Bay Gateways grant. The water trail is one of over 140 trails, parks, maritime museums, refuges and historic sites in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Through this grant, Friends of the Rappahannock will boost safe public access to the Rappahannock River Water Trail and enrich the interpretive experience it offers visitors. The project includes the development of new printed maps and new on-site orientation signage, extension of the paddling trail all way to the river’s mouth at the Chesapeake Bay, and the development of new guided tours of the trail that will introduce paddlers to the stories of the region steeped in Chesapeake history. The grant also supports stewardship programs designed to conduct restoration work and the development of low-impact campsites for overnight paddlers. Fully completed, the Rappahannock River Water Trail will feature an orientation center, an interactive tour, and an interpretive Gateways as Classrooms educational program.
The grant award was announced publicly today at the Rappahannock River Running Free Celebration, held at the former Embrey Dam site in Fredericksburg. The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Sen. John Warner (R-VA), officially opening the Rappahannock River to unobstructed recreational activities from its source to the Chesapeake Bay.
“These grants help Chesapeake Bay Gateways enhance the public’s ability to learn and enjoy the Chesapeake’s stories and significance, explore its natural and cultural resources, and become involved in helping conserve and restore the Bay and its rivers,” said Senator Warner. “The Rappahannock River Water Trail is a tremendous asset of this region, and its extension through this new grant will continue to help visitors explore and experience the beauty of the Chesapeake.”
The Rappahannock River, the longest free flowing river in the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed, extends from its origin at Chester Gap in the Shenandoah National Park of western Virginia to Stingray Point in the Chesapeake Bay, a total of 184 miles. The water trail, currently under development from Kelly’s Ford to the Fredericksburg City Docks, will be extended downstream to the Chesapeake Bay.
“The Rappahannock River Water Trail is such a wonderful way for people to reconnect with this great, newly free-flowing river”, said Friends of the Rappahannock Chairman Tom Van Arsdall. “We are very pleased to be part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and to receive this grant.”
This year, the National Park Service anticipates awarding $1.6 million in Chesapeake Bay Gateways grant funding, matched by an equal amount in partner contributions. Twenty-seven additional grants will be announced later this summer. The Network currently features more than 1,300 miles of water trails across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, among its 147 designated Network sites.