The Board of Directors and staff of the FOLAR announces it has successfully acquired nearly 8 riverfront acres along the state designated scenic Appomattox River in Petersburg. This acquisition secures a critical gap in the developing 25-mile Appomattox River greenway-blueway trail & park system that spans six jurisdictions, connecting a rich diversity of neighborhoods, areas of commerce, and scenic wooded greenspace. The completed Appomattox River Trail will intersect with the 43-mile Fall Line Trail from Petersburg to Ashland.
The land will be protected under a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and then ultimately transferred to the City of Petersburg once improvements are achieved.
Sam Parham, Petersburg Mayor, said, “this property purchased by FOLAR from CSX, will provide vital access and stewardship for recreation and wellness for our residents and visitors. FOLAR continues to successfully collaborate with the City of Petersburg to benefit our community through its work to advance the development of the river trail.”
“The protection and improved access for viewing the scenic Appomattox River coupled with recreational access to adjoining easement property is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts of all interests, abilities, and ages,” said Sam Hayes, “As FOLAR chairman and a bicyclist, I’m excited to join Mayor Parham in this announcement of additional publicly accessible land in Petersburg that so many people will benefit from for years to come.”
Protection of this property will also help protect the Appomattox River’s water quality and natural habitats by maintaining the natural buffers along the shoreline and planned improvements to the
site will also help filter runoff to the river. Land protection here and all along the Appomattox River is vitally important since the river is a source of drinking water for the surrounding communities and the river corridor falls within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The property is also within the priority area of the Governor of Virginia’s Conserve Virginia strategy which identifies land having the highest conservation value for the state.
“This acquisition is a wonderful example of what we can achieve through public-private partnerships,” said FOLAR Regional Trails Program Director Heather Barrar. “We could not have accomplished this without the assistance of numerous partners who were integral to the successful transfer of this land for the greater good.”
In addition to the City of Petersburg, FOLAR collaborated with state agencies VDOT and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Virginia Land Conservation Fund
(VLCF), as well as the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), and community benefit organizations including The Cameron Foundation, and the Capital Region Land Conservancy. Expert and invaluable legal services were provided pro-bono to FOLAR by Troutman Pepper attorney Kyle Kohler. FOLAR is very appreciative to landowner CSX for their cooperation.