Developing a regional common agenda around creating and protecting the Appomattox River and Trail to positively impact public health, safety, and community prosperity.


FOLAR convened the 2ND Annual State of the Trail Meeting on February 26, 2020 at the John Randolph Foundation in Hopewell, VA. More than 50 participants from all six localities that border the lower Appomattox River as well as from The Cameron Foundation, Crater Health District, Crater Planning District Commission (Crater PDC), Fort Lee, James River Soil & Water Conservation District, the John Randolph Foundation, Plan RVA, PHOPS/Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Virginia’s Gateway Region, met together with the Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) for the second time since the release of the Appomattox River Trail Master Plan in February 2017. The group represented staff from diverse departments including Community Policing, Conservation, Economic Development, Public Health, Parks and Recreation, Planning, and Transportation for an update of trail projects and progress on building the 20+-mile long Appomattox River Trail system.

The meeting also served as an introduction to COLLECTIVE IMPACT ON THE APPOMATTOX RIVER forums, that will be convened by FOLAR and the Crater PDC with the help of a team of facilitators led by Dr. Frank Dukes from the University of Virginia Institute for Engagement & Negotiation and with funding from the Virginia Department of Forestry Urban & Community Grant Program. The forums will apply the elements of equitable collaboration and use the core characteristics of Collective Impact: 1) Common Agenda, 2) Mutually Reinforcing Activities, 3) Shared Measurement, and 3) Continuous Communication.  The proposed common agenda focus is ensuring the river/trail is protecting and enhancing the environment to positively impact public safety, health outcomes, and community prosperity.

Participants worked together in small group to make the connection to community wellness and prosperity of the Appomattox River Trail project. The groups rotated through focus areas of 1) Public Safety, 2) Health and Recreation, 3) Land Conservation and Environment, and 4) Sustainability and Educational Programming.  The discussions identified strengths; problems and causes; goals and strategies; and resources within each focus area.

At meetings end, most participant comments were in praise of the community, “The greatest asset of this trail system are the stakeholders – enthused and willing to support the work of FOLAR,” wrote one.  Another simply stated, “Loved my group!” This bodes well for the collaboration necessary to achieve the vision of a pristine river and world-class trail for the benefit of all in our region


Meeting Participant List

Pre-meeting Survey Summary

State of the Trail Update Sumary

State of the Trail Progress Map

Collective Impact and Equitable Collaboration

Collective Impact Summary – Workgroup Flip Chart Notes