Descendants of Jackson Hollow Return with the Trout

Descendants of Jackson Hollow Return with the Trout

Earlier this spring, the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve had two guests whose last visit was almost 50 years ago. Doug Boger (son) and Sandy Harrington (granddaughter) are descendants of David S Boger, the former owner and creator of the campground that used to be at Jackson Hollow before Hurricane Agnus destroyed the dam above the campground in 1972.

Jackson Hollow’s Trout Sign

In the 1950’s and 60’s, the area that is now a part of VOF’s preserve was turned into a fishing and recreation club. An earthen dam was constructed to create the lake. David S Boger, a mason by trade, also added a huge pool made of flagstone (which he built by hand,) a two-story lodge, bathrooms, a snack bar with roof top balcony overlooking the pool, and a picnic area. If you were to look at the area now, you would never know.

Doug Boger standing with Niece Sandy Harrington in front of the home he grew up in at Jackson Hollow

Doug remembers growing up at the campground and being a lifeguard at the pool. He recalls his schooling under his aunt, the swim instructor. As a part of his training, his aunt swam out into the middle of the pool and pretended she was drowning. Doug swam out to her but right before he reached her, she went underwater. He stopped, looked around, and before he knew it, she came up from behind him and wrapped him up with her arms and legs. He couldn’t free himself and they started to sink. Stuck and not knowing what to do he grabbed her big toe, the only thing he could reach and twisted until she let go. Doug was thankful to be free of his aunt, but not surprised as his family is full of pranksters.

Once the dam was constructed, the Bogers wanted to attract fishermen to the recreational club, so they bought and released 5000 trout into the lake. Unfortunately, they soon learned the water temperature was not suitable for trout when the fish quickly perished. The Bogers recall pulling dead fish out of the lake for days. Afterwards, they went to the nearby farms and collected bluegill, bass, crappy, and other native species they could find living in those ponds and used those to stock the lake instead.

The drainage structure of the former dam now towers over the lakebed wetlands

Today, Jackson Hollow is still a release site for one special species of fish: Brook Trout. This is done through Trout in the Classroom, a program created by Trout Unlimited, where students connect with nature and reintroduce native brook trout into suitable streams. Catharpin Creek, the same waterway that once fed the lake 50 years ago, is now a suitable habitat for these trout as the headwaters are protected from development by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

Doug Boger watches Brook Trout being released into Catharpin Creek by local high school students.

Today, Sandy is on the school board for Orange County, which has several schools participating in the Trout in the Classroom program. She and Doug were able to witness trout once again being released into Catharpin Creek this April.


You can learn more about Jackson Hollow’s past by reading the The Haymarket Lifestyle article from January, 2013 

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