Paddle for fun and you’ll be helping preserve the Appomattox River!

11TH Annual Paddle-or-Battle

Saturday, September 29TH

The Annual Paddle-or-Battle, is your opportunity for a fun paddle or a competitive race in your canoe, kayak, or SUP.  Choose the 10-Mile or new 2-Mile short course.




Your donation will help FOLAR improve river ecology, protect special places, and promote outdoor connections and education.   THANK YOU!

Registration Open – 11th Annual Paddle-or-Battle on the Appomattox!

11th Annual Paddle-or-Battle on the Appomattox!

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Come out and paddle to support preservation of the Appomattox River

Registration Open!

Check-in begins at 8AM
2-Mile Short Paddle or 10-Mile Leisure-Race Paddle Start – 9AM
Race Start – 10:00AM
Finish Line Celebration! – Lunch and Trophy Activities – 12:00 – 1:30PM


Event day kayak rentals available: Call Richard at 804-490-8143 to reserve


Eventbrite - 11th Annual Paddle-or-Battle on the Appomattox River!


Our thanks to title sponsor Virginia American Water!


Sponsors are an integral part of Paddle-or-Battle enabling FOLAR to host this event for the benefit of our river and community!

Additional Paddle-or-Battle sponsor opportunities available. Contact Wendy Austin at


FOLAR receives $100,000 challenge grant

The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation supports Appomattox River Trail by encouraging others to donate – will match donations and gift increases




Photo at left shows existing gravel Appomattox River Trail (ART) through Petersburg Patton Park. Plans are to improved the trail to allow pedestrian and bicycle use similar to the section in Colonial Heights pictured at right. 


Ken Newman, Chair of the Board of Directors and Wendy Austin, Executive Director, announced today that the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) received a one-year $100,000 challenge grant from The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation. The grant will match dollar-for-dollar all new private donations and grants from supporters who contribute to FOLAR toward building the Appomattox River Trail (A.R.T.) section through Patton Park and Historic Petersburg, doubling the impact of their contributions.

“Whether it’s restoring the river shoreline, providing high quality environmental educational opportunities to thousands of young people, or bringing a world-class riverside trail to our region,” said Newman, “everything that FOLAR does is made possible by our supporters. Their generosity of support in time and treasure makes possible access to a remarkable river for enjoyment by all, right in our back yard here in the Tri-cities. We are honored by The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation’s confidence in FOLAR, belief in our work and commitment to our communities in a way that encourages others to deepen their support.”

The grant from the Foundation will only be awarded if FOLAR can raise the matching amount within one year from the announcement this week. “Once the challenge is met, funds will be invested in the construction of a central section of the trail that will improve the quality of life in the City of Petersburg and surrounding communities as well as serve as sustainable model for developing sensitive riverfront areas,” said Austin.

When completed, the 20+ mile long A.R.T. system will connect communities across six riverside municipalities and Virginia State University through a cohesive trail system and corresponding signage that will improve river access, provide an environment that will serve to increase a culture of health and active lifestyle for individuals and families, improve the economic vitality of the region, and conserve and protect the natural river environment.

Individuals and businesses can now donate to the ART challenge fund through FOLAR.

Fun and Learning at the 2018 RiverFest

A brisk morning turned into a warm spring day on Saturday April 28th for Friends of the Lower Appomattox River siignature spring event RiverFest. Thanks to a large group of Fort Lee volunteers, the set up was a breeze and vendors arrived to a perfectly mapped out park. Ferndale Appomattox Riverside Park served as the beautiful backdrop for a day full of river recreation, celebration, and education (and even one sneaky stowaway chicken!).

Nearly 1,000 event-goers could try paddling around in kayaks, viewing indigenous snakes up close, try their hand at fishing, and even meet an owl and opossum! For lunch, Bishop’s BBQ and Southern Exposure food trucks were on site serving up delicious southern staples. Offering a refreshingly cool treat, Hau Lani Hawaiian Shave Ice was serving a multitude of flavors, yum!

Thanks to Trapezium Brewing Company, all event attendees with an ID wristband were able to enjoy after-party specials at their Old Town Petersburg location the night of RiverFest. Special thanks to our title sponsor Anthem Healthcare, Caremore, Benefinder and our legacy sponsor Virginia American Water! Both sponsors also provided informative exhibits at the event. As the Activities Co-sponsor, Fort Lee hosted the kayaking, obstacle course, and archeology demonstrations exhibit. There were many other outstanding exhibitors to enjoy including: AWARE wildlife, VA DGIF, Petersburg Area Regional Tourism, RVA Goats and Honey (and the chicken), and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

From kids enjoying the playground to kids-at-heart practicing their paddling skills, RiverFest 2018 was a big hit! Mark your calendars for the next exciting FOLAR event, the 11TH Annual Paddle-or-Battle the Appomattox River, to be held Saturday September 29th 2018.

See more photos at our FOLAR Facebook page.

USGS Water Data

Pulling the canoe or kayak out this weekend? Get Real Time Water Data for the Appomattox River and other local bodies of water with USGS Water Data for the Nation.


Sponsor FOLAR

We’ve accomplished many of our goals over the last few years but could not have done it without the help from our sponsors.  FOLAR is a non-profit organization founded on support and contributions from local and national businesses.

Become a sponsor and help support the Appomattox River.