The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) has completed its first conservation project in Colonial Heights, thanks to a conservation easement granted by the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC).
The 0.934-acre property is adjacent to the Appomattox River at the site of the former Harvell Dam and is mostly surrounded by land owned by Virginia State University (VSU) and its main academic campus.
The conservation easement protects approximately 200 feet along the Appomattox River, a designated state scenic river. The land was mapped in ConserveVirginia as Virginia’s highest conservation value lands that are unprotected, based on 24 mapped data inputs. ConserveVirginia is also a key tool in guiding state investments for land conservation to ensure the highest conservation outcomes. Such consideration was important to the Board of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in awarding a grant from its Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund to assist CRLC with its acquisition of the property.
“We are thrilled to add this parcel to our portfolio of conserved land,” said VOF Executive Director Brett Glymph. “We look forward to continued partnership with CRLC, the city, and river enthusiasts to make the river and adjacent trails more accessible to the community.”
VOF now protects open space in 113 of Virginia’s 133 counties and independent cities.
In addition to the scenic qualities of the property, the Colonial Heights parcel is also essential for connecting the planned 25-mile Appomattox River Trail at its proposed intersection with the Fall Line Trail. The conservation easement ensures that the property will be available for public access in perpetuity. This is important for an area where the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Nature-based Recreation Access Model ranks the area as “high” for land-based and water-based recreation needs.
Capital Region Land Conservancy’s acquisition of the Colonial Heights land was part of a larger transaction with Josh and Ingrid Greenwood that included more than 40 acres of upland and islands located in the Ettrick portion of Chesterfield County at Campbell’s Bridge as well as in the City of Petersburg. All the land was essential for the development of the Appomattox River Trail. CRLC will celebrate this historic acquisition and the work of VOF, Friends of the Lower Appomattox River, and other conservation partners on October 16 with tours of some of the properties during the Closing Ceremony of the 2022 Conservation Games at VSU’s Appomattox River Overlook. The Games run between September 30 and October 16. For more information about the Games, visit www.capitalregionland.org/conservation-games.